Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hats Off! The Royal Wedding Headgear Breakdown.

Let's talk, shall we, about the glorious English tradition of millinery -- or, more commonly referred to as: crazy-ass hat making. The Royal Wedding brought out some of the best-of-the-best (and the worst-of-the-worst) in "fashionable" fascinators.

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Where to begin? Oh, yes -- with Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice (aka the ugly stepsisters -- yeah, i said it). Holy effing crap: is Philip Treacy on crack? That thing on Beatrice's head looks like something from the set of Aliens about to attack every royal in the abbey. OK, I get it, you want to make a statement. Fine. But, statement aside, when you have to crouch over in the car the entire way to your destination, something's gone seriously wrong with your fashion sense. (Listen up Lady GaGa.) I think I said it best when I said (and I did, me, I said it): "She is so desperate to get married but she is wearing an I.U.D. on her head. The hat is like she's trying to make funnel cakes." --Joan Rivers

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Who's next? Oh, yes. Posh. Ms. Victoria Beckham: wearing a self-designed schmatta to cover her baby bump, yet still sporting 9-inch heels ('cause that's safe). Posh sported a frontal headpiece with two long shards of stiffened reeds threatening to poke out any onlookers' eyes. Overall, the outfit should have been condemned for reasons of public safety.

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Oh, you have to love a socialite with an alleged drug problem. The rumor here being that Tara Parker Tomlinson needs a nose job because of her coke problem, hence the attempt to draw attention STRAIGHT TO HER NOSE with a truly and utterly ridiculous hat. Or, maybe she did a line or two the morning of and forgot that hats are supposed to rest on the scalp and not the forehead. Who knows?

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This brings us to the rat's nest of a situation that is Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry's gal. First, she looks like she's doing the walk of shame. I'm sorry, does she not own a comb? And considering all the magnificent fascinators she could have chosen, there is NOTHING fascinating about this choice. Ooof, and they call her a socialite? Damn, I look better on the first day of my period than she did attending the royal wedding -- and believe me, that's saying something.

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But, aside from all the hats that bordered on fashion injustice -- the greatest injustice of all was NOT wearing a hat at all. GASP! Yes, the Prime Minister's wife showed up sans hat. Now, I mean this with all due respect, but -- when the invite expressly says that "ladies are to wear hats," bitch, you best be showing up in an effing hat. That is all.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cheers to the Royal Couple

From beginning to end, yesterday's Royal Wedding was pure and utter perfection. It was equal parts pomp and circumstance and demure understated elegance (well, as understated as royal weddings can be, that is).

Kate (now officially the Duchess of Cambridge) arrived at Westminster Abbey by car, as a commoner, and left by carriage with her prince, a royal. Every possible detail of yesterday's nuptials was a delight to take in -- from the tree-lined majestic aisle of the historical Abbey to the timeless elegance of the Alexander McQueen gown.

So many moments to touch on. The dress. Sigh -- what a masterpiece. What a smart choice -- because this gown will hold up over time. In 50 years, this gown will still be relevant (unlike Lady Diana's, for instance, which very much typifies 80s style). And, it's also a nice nod of respect to one of England's best designers, whom we lost so tragically.

That procession to Buckingham Palace -- a true fairytale moment. Followed by not one, but two kisses on the palace balcony. But what had to be my favorite moment of the entire day, when Wills and Kate left Buckingham Palace in his Astin Martin (all decked out thanks to brother Harry) and made their way to Clarence House for a bit of rest and a costume change before the evening's reception. Delightful.

Cheers to the happy couple! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Diana Inquest: It's gettin' ugly

The inquest into the deaths of Princess Diana, Dodi Al Fayed and Henri Paul has been getting hot and heavy over the last several weeks. Yet, it doesn't seem to be reaching any real conclusions. Here are some of the more surprising things that have come to light:

  • Trevor Rees has said he felt under pressure from Mohamed Al Fayed to recall a flash of light moments before the crash which killed Princess Diana. [bbc news]
  • The Queen's rooms were regularly checked for bugging devices, the inquest into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed has heard. [bbc news]
  • A former MI6 agent who told Mohamed Al Fayed of plans to kill Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in a car crash admits he may have got his facts wrong. He claimed the scenario bore an "eerie similarity" to the crash that killed Mr Al Fayed's son Dodi and Princess Diana. [bbc news]
  • PRINCESS Diana’s brother-in-law said yesterday that he could not have been in Paris directing a plot to murder her on the night she died as he was at a church hall in Norfolk. [daily express]
  • Britain's former ambassador in Paris denies he ordered the body of the Princess of Wales to be embalmed, allegedly to cover up a pregnancy. [cnn int'l]

Wishing the best for Camden Town

It's been a while since I've blogged on Hobnobs and Flake. It's a shame it took such sad news to bring me back...such crushing news. When I got Gary's text, I couldn't believe my eyes.

This past Saturday night, Camden Market suffered a horrible fate. The popular marketplace and haven for indy rockers and celebs burnt near to the ground, putting hundreds of small tradesmen and women out of business...some of whom may never be able to recover the loss or bank on recouping their businesses. Camden Market has been in existence since 1791, which gives you an awesome sense of the loss of history London has suffered from this single fire.

In addition to the marketplace, famed local pub The Hawley Arms suffered tremendous damage as well. (When Amy Winehouse won her Grammys this past Sunday, she paid her respects to the pub she frequented and the town she loves.)

I feel very lucky to have visited Camden Market and a little of Camden Town just this past August. Gary, Andrew and I took a canal tour from Little Venice to Camden Lock, landing in the heart of the Market Place. We marveled at the menagerie of filled-to-the-brim shops, stalls, and various food vendors. We really stood there for a moment after disembarking and didn't know what to head to first. We stopped at a used bookseller... (I tried to find a copy of Emma, to no avail, unfortunately.) Then off to a tiny nook of a game shop -- where I purchased a card game and a travel Scrabble, which I now cherish. We headed inside the maze of indoor vendors...stopping at t-shirt and bag booths, letting the flow of the crowd take us where it might. The array of merchandise was simply dizzying. The swaths of fabric and dimly lit chandeliers on the ceiling, mesmerizing. I'll never forget it. (I've included a few photos from our trip...)

I do hope Camden Town and the Marketplace will recover. Things will never be the same of course... How could they? But, it's a tough town and they're not keen on giving in. I think they'll come back stronger than ever. Cheer, Camden. Good on ya.

Up to 100 firefighters have been tackling a major blaze that ravaged the famous markets area in Camden Town, north London.

The fire was reportedly centred on Camden Canal Market, to the east of Chalk Farm Road.

Police closed off several roads and the Hawley Arms pub, near the source of the fire, suffered severe damage.

London Fire Brigade has said the blaze is being brought under control and there are no reports of casualties.

LFB station manager Guy Foster said the fire was centred around Camden Canal Market, where a number of market stalls had caught fire. ...

Firefighters were alerted at about 7.20pm on Saturday to the blaze which has reportedly consumed part of the Hawley Arms, a popular Camden pub which is frequented by celebrities including singer Amy Winehouse....

Conservative mayoral candidate Boris Johnson said: "This will come as a terrible blow to their livelihoods and the area generally. My thoughts are with the traders, local residents and the emergency services who are, as usual, performing brilliantly under pressure."...

The markets area is a major tourist attraction attracting up to 300,000 visitors each weekend to its six open-air and indoor markets and vibrant mix of bars, clubs, shops and restaurants. [bbc]

Camden Market: Happier Times...
August 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Celebration Day

A friend of mine, Suzanne (above), was lucky enough to score a first row seat to the Led Zeppelin "reunion" (Jason Bonham stood in for his late father, John) at London's newest concert hall, O2. Here, she shares her musings and reviews the concert and chance of a lifetime. Enjoy...

As soon as I got to London Saturday morning, I met some Led Zep forum friends and we scoped out the 02; security said no one was lining up. I went back to my hotel and crashed Saturday night for 5 hours. Met the guy who sold me his guest ticket, went to the 02, and got my wrist band. Meanwhile my friends already started the queue, so I was number 4 on line. Slept there Sunday night, we all took turns not to lose our spots. I brought a blanket from my hotel and the security guys gave us broken down cardboard boxes to sleep on; and we had bathroom facilities over the very long night. Early evening on Sunday was the sound check, which was a charity event; people were strolling in looking very smug indeed. At about the third song into the rehearsal, security got a little lax, and 5 people from other beginning of the line were able to sneak and scam their way in. I did not make that split-second decision. I did not want to lose my spot on line. Me and a Canadian dude (he also is in the pic on Newsday) stayed behind to hold down the fort. Funny thing, last time I was in the front row was for Bad Company back in the late 70s, which was another great show, and I know one can lose their spot very easily. I was not taking any chances. Oh, Paul Rodgers did 2 songs before Led Zep came on and he blew me a kiss.... LOL! So, my new friends got in and one of them got to shake Jimmy Page’s hand....I was the first person to touch his hand after Jimmy Page!

Just a little background of the 02...imagine a mall inside a dome made out of heavy cloth....there were two Starbucks (yeh!!), restaurants, a huge movie theatre, an ice skating rink, and lots of shops—then the arena within the dome. There was no heat, but at least we were away from the wind and rain. The 02 security guys were so nice and we really made a nice connection with them. When we finally were officially lining up to get in they took the first 25 people and personally escorted us to the front row so we had no chance of losing our spots....

I feel we were all meant to be there, it was all very serendipitous...and magical.

We all stopped fluids around 3pm that afternoon, so we wouldn't have to pee...LOL!
We were all very parched, but around 10:30 one of the photographers gave me a bottle of water, which we all took small sips way we were missing out on the show.

OK, by now you must have heard the set list: “Good times, Bad Times” started a bit off, as well as “Ramble On”. They clicked on the third song, “Black Dog”, and from that point on they totally rocked. “In My Time of Dying” was next...then for the first time ever live they played “For Your LIFE”!!! Awesome indeed...the whole show. During “Dazed and Confused” they had this green sphere of light radiating over Jimmy. Plant came in a little early in the song and Page gave him a bit of a surprised look. Jason Bonham was awesome (I really never use that word but that’s what it was). The camaraderie between them all was present.

“Stairway to Heaven” (over-played on the radio, so I usually turn it off) was brilliant and much more like the studio version...during “Does anybody remember laughter?") Plant gave a big cheeky grin. Plant and Page were smiling at each cool.... (I got in late last night and i am still flying over this). Like I said, by the third song their confidence was there...and they totally clicked. “Kashmir” was mesmerizing, once again Jason was like he was possessed. “No Quarter” had a nice touch with dry ice smoke. “The Song Remains the Same” was another great performance...the crowd was freaking out. It was exceptional....the production was on, and not cheesy. Total class, without the pyro of a lot of shows these days.

They had a huge screen behind the stage of what was going on stage from different angles.

Plant had a real good sense of humor. I felt he didn't drop it down a key, which I have seen Plant do on his solo tours, but talking with other fanatics, they heard maybe a half a key. I think he could of pulled it off...he sipped tea between songs. Plant seemed a bit stiff during the first two songs, but then he turned into his rock god antics. Hey, the dude is 62 and he can still pull it off.

All in all, it was a surreal weekend, meeting people from all over the world and finally meeting the people I chat with online at the forums. I met so many others who were obsessed prior to the show, and it made me feel validated with everything I’ve been feeling about the show. Many people I know just did not get it...why I would fly over solo and make it to the front row....

Stunning performance and I feel truly honored and privileged I was there.... Oh, Paul McCartney was there with his family in tow. Dave Grohl, David Gilmore, Juliette Lewis...

I hope you got a feeling from this review how magical the night was, because it was simply splendid indeed...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

London Sweets

I may be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure that Britain may have the most candy bars and cookies of any country on this spinning globe. And talk about variety and creativity! Here's a sampling of some sweets you will definitely want to try when you're Londonside. (And if you can't wait, order them direct here.)

Guess the marketing peeps at this manufacturer were looking to corner that male chocolate-eating population. I ate it -- and I'm a woman. So there. It's actually just a nice milky solid chocolate. Nothing special.

I'm a big fan of Mint Aero. I was sceptical at first, but was on-board after my first try. It has a lite mint airy center. The color is so fake, but the taste is delish.
If you like dark chocolate and coconut -- you're golden. It's a lot like Mounds and used to be available in the US.

Like a bar version of the Cadbury Creme Egg. What's not to love?

This is a popular treat. A flaky stick of chocolate often used to dress up a dish or cone of ice cream.

Now for some to make ya giggle:

Russian Roulette

Now, on to the biscuits (cookies) and puddings (steamed cake):

My personal favorite cookie in the entire world. You have not lived till you tasted a Hob Nob. You can lucky sometimes in the international foods section of your supermarket -- you might snag a package of this delightful oaty, whole grain cookie.

Not as awful as it sounds... it's a spongy raisin filled angel-food cake. Best if served warm.

London Eats! Part Deux

I don't know how I could have forgotten this bit, but...

There was a shortlived craze in America for smothered baked potatoes as a lunch/meal. It didn't last... Shame. But it's thriving still in England. While you can readily find jacket potatoes on any pub menu, the best place to get one -- by my account -- is at a little stand right alongside Covent Garden's Jubilee Market Hall. Talk about cheap -- depending on what you decide to top on your Jacket Potato, you can have a hearty and filling meal for 3 pounds. Not bad, especially with today's dollar being in the shitter. I always preferred the baked beans and a shredded white cheddar on mine. Take it to go, with a cover -- just in case you can't finish it -- now, about face and stroll into to the covered market hall interior and listen to the entertainers, who sing for their supper. Good food and entertainment: What else could you want?