This week involved pizza at The Camden Eye; yummy heart-shaped chocolates from Rococo Chocolates on King’s Road; eyebrow threading and a manicure at Blink Brow Bar inside The Shop at Bluebird on King’s Road; dinner upstairs at the recently refurbished The White Horse pub in Parsons Green; The British Museum – one of my favourite buildings in the world; Silver Linings Playbook at Cineworld on Fulham Road (which I wholly recommend!); and trying out an iPad keyboard case from Yoshie & Nico.
One of my movie heroes made a special visit to Chelsea over the weekend. Pedro Almodóvar, the film director who introduced Penélope Cruz to the world in his movie Jamon Jamon, in which Cruz also starred in her first film with Javier Bardem.
Almodóvar’s latest film, The Skin I Live In, starred Antonio Banderas whilst his next movie will star both Cruz and Banderas. In other words, Almodóvar dominates Spanish cinema. In fact, he has been the embodiment of Spanish cinema for decades.
Live Flesh was the first Almodóvar film I watched and it blew my mind. It stars Javier Bardem and is an adaptation of a Ruth Rendell novel: beautifully shot, great performances and really gripping.
Almodóvar is also an auteur, which are a rare breed nowadays. His films are visually stunning; his female characters have admirable strength and a fantastic sense of humour; and his stories tend to push the boundaries of our imagination.
So needless to say when I heard that he was doing a book signing at Taschen on Duke of York Square, there was no way I was going to miss it!
In fact, I arrived a bit early. Two hours early, to be precise.
There was no else waiting, so the bf and I sat across the way at Manicomio to keep an eye on the impending queue. It was hardly a chore with the Christmas lights on the Square to gaze at as other people sat around us, outside.
When other Almodóvar fans started to arrive at Taschen, we joined the line – and waited. And some time later, he finally arrived!
Me in my rain mac and scraped back hair – hardly glamorous – as he signed my limited edition copy of The Pedro Almodóvar Archives.
When he saw my name on the post-it: Mina, Almodóvar chuckled to himself and repeated “Mina”. For a split second I thought it was because of Dracula or one of the actresses he works with regularly. It wasn’t until I left the shop that I remembered Almodóvar is currently working on a biopic about the Italian singer, Mina. 😀
After Almodóvar signed my book, he turned round to shake my hand and wish me the best with my writing. He had a warmth that felt refreshing and comforting. No wonder the same actors want to work with him time and time again. It’s clearly not just about his talent.
I found the whole experience inspiring and I will always cherish the words written in my book:
And I’m sure it doesn’t have to be said that this book has now taken prime position on my coffee table.
Do you have someone you would love to meet? What would you ask them to write in a book for you? x
Last week was the launch party of the Bob Willoughby: The Silver Age of Hollywood photography exhibition at Proud Chelsea on King’s Road.
Bob Willoughby, who once worked for Harper’s Bazaar and who achieved his big break with his behind the scenes photos of Judy Garland’s A Star Is Born movie, has a catalogue of work that also involves films such as The Graduate, Rebel Without A Cause, My Fair Lady, Ocean’s Eleven and Rosemary’s Baby.
Willoughby’s Silver Age of Hollywood exhibition includes photos of rock stars like my favourite one of Elvis Presley and Sofia Loren.
But what is so immersive about this exhibition is that the photographs reveal the actors’ private sides in the light of their craft. There is a photo of Marilyn Monroe who seems to be processing her method acting approach to her acting role, just as James Dean looks like he is doing above.
The photo below is of Frank Sinatra focusing on his script. Being so used to seeing footage of Frank Sinatra as the entertainer, it is refreshing to see him on the job.
I also love the photo of Mia Farrow taking a nap on a sofa as Roman Polanski sifts through his notes. There is a bizarre sense of normality to this photo, given how dark Rosemary’s Baby is as a film.
The funny thing is that whilst Bob Willoughby exposes the artists by stripping them away from their characters, he places another layer of mystique upon them. He makes us want to delve deeper to understand further who these icons were.
Bob Willoughby:The Silver Age of Hollywood, Proud Chelsea, 8th November 2012 – 13th January 2013, www.proud.co.uk
On Wednesday, I listened to David Byrne of Talking Heads fame in conversation with Matthew Herbert aka Doctor Rockit/Radio Boy/Wishmountain amongst other muso identities. The first question put to this duo was ‘Do we have enough music?’ The evening was an opportunity to indulge in a discussion about the state of today’s music industry, which was fascinating.
I attended a cocktail-making masterclass at Mahiki. But beforehand I sipped a couple of cocktails from the bar, including this Wiki Tiki delight. Yummy!
I finally managed to enjoy Sophie’s free breakfast offer this weekend, which ends on 4th November 2012. A tip: get there early because not only does it get very busy but the steak and chips breakfast also goes very quickly.
Spotted at Burlington Arcade: Pudsey in Theo Fennell’s window. Have you seen their limited edition bracelets for BBC Children In Need?
One of my fave documentaries is Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop and I’m wondering if this is a piece of work by Space Invader in Soho. Anyone know?
Who, in Chelsea, hasn’t spotted the parrot man yet?
I love being a member of the V&A. Not only can you just walk into an exhibition by simply showing your membership card but you can also pop in over and over again, if you enjoyed the exhibition that much.
The Hollywood Costume exhibition was heaving on Saturday – and I’m keen to return. There’s plenty to take in and with the crowds, it wasn’t easy to read all the placards which contribute largely to the meaning of the costumes.
The Gourmet Burger Kitchen tomato sauce container always makes me smile. I love it. Yesterday, I grabbed a Classic Burger from the O2 branch whilst discovering that GBK are also still serving the Windsor Burger, which I wholly recommend.
Last night was Muse’s gig, which was amazing!! Laser lights, stunning visuals and rockstar performances – I wanted to see it all over again as it came to an end. Definitely going to see them again!
I took this photo whilst walking across Hungerford Bridge yesterday and as I watched a similar view whilst watching Skyfall earlier today, it made me feel lucky to be a Londoner. Urban paradise. 😉
I’ve just returned from watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower at Cineworld on Fulham Road and I feel quite compelled to write about it. Why? Because it is the most endearing story I have watched in the cinema in quite a while.
It is also the most truthful one in a long time too. Garden State truthful – in the way it’s full of nuggets of wisdom that make you think ‘oh yeah’ rather than wow, that’s trying to be deep.
It has an indie feel and the performances are brilliant – Emma Watson included. The main characters work great ensemble whilst they also each have their special moment.
But the thing with truth is that there is also the other side – the unspoken secrets that rise to the surface. So, this isn’t entirely all singing and dancing but there is still a life-affirming quality to it and cinematically it is full of wonder.