Thursday, 26 February 2009

Stapler's London #2


To continue where I left off (some weeks ago), another of my regular haunts in central London where's Charlotte Street Staple, Icco. Like Sam Smith's', I've been coming here since I was a student, and in the last 6 and a half years, the prices have gone up by 50p. Where else in London can you get an entire pizza for £3.50? I think the best thing about Icco (Charlotte Street, and also in Pimlico - though I only discovered this a month or so ago) is that it's no frills simplicity. There's no faffing about with rocket, snooty waiters or complicated menus. You go in, order what you want and pay, find a seat and wait for the nice lady to call your name. Recently, they've installed a speaker system which means you're more likely to hear. It's also one of the places in London with the most comprehensive range of Snapple flavours. Et voila, you're sat, with mates (probably a little drunk), a knife and fork and some delicious, simple, thin crust pizza. What more could you want? Icco (Italian Coffee COmpany) is one of those places that exemplify what's great about London; it can be simple, filling, inexpensive and genuinely full of pleasant people. A rarity, and even more so in its location, surrounded by the posh restaurant alley of Charlotte Street, and a stonesthrow from gourmet mecca Soho. Of all the eateries, this one is the most authentic, simple
y because it does a great thing well.

Monday, 23 February 2009

The Staple - Diary

Calendar Girls (and Boys)

I can't believe I've not blogged directly about this before, but there's one thing that I think everyone should carry with them everywhere, and that's a paper diary. I've carried one for years now, and this year is no exception. I bought this Korean-made diary as it looked smart, but still interesting and not too business-y (and as for the previous few years, they'd sold out of mini Tate Modern ones). Adding in birthdays, future gigs and festivals now means that I'm more likely to do something about them when the time comes. I'm actually unable to do anything, or remember events without writing them in here. Perhaps I've been with a basic phone and no internet for too long, but even ready access to Facebook is no substitute for a diary - Any organised person should have a place to organise themselves, which is accessible and easily updateable on the go. For me, the idea of keeping a diary also goes hand-in-hand with writing, and particularly handwriting. While a BlackBerry might combine everything digitally, I'd rather have an old-school notebook and black rollerball; it's just the way I'm wired. Anyway, if you've still ot got an '09 diary, it's not too late, most stationery shops will have a few left over; you'll be reaping the rewards in no time. On another note, I am aware it's London fashion week this week, and have been dressing up accordingly; I'm certainly feling in more of a baggy jeans mode than I was a year ago, but it seems to be all about the shoes for me; I've been rediscovering metallics; Gold Converse and Silver Bstore. But I think Fashion156, The Fashionisto and StyleSalvage are doing a rather fantastic job of coverage, and as I've got not tickets, I'll wait until the MAN show pictures appear. Other Staples for this week:
A hardback, paper diary
Whitest Boy Alive's new album, Rules
Expanding the ClubRees empire to Islington's Orwell Bar
Following the Fashion Week coverage
Dalston Jazz Bar's riotous retro soul night
Plotting a summer of festivals, hopefully with a holiday
Uploading more CDs to my iPod (this is taking much longer than expected)

Friday, 13 February 2009

Stapler's Choice #2

Second in an occasional series of choice links:

Orbicule looks incredibly useful.

One of my favourite DJs, Gui Boratto, is playing in London on Sunday.

I couldn't ignore my -more literal- namesake, The Stapler Blog. (>ACL)

Jeff Wayne's 1978 prog classic War of the Worlds is back - and I'm going!

Pushing the gender and fashion boundaries one Birkin at a time (NY Times>Peter)

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Stapler's Voyages - Berlin

This time last precisely a week ago, I was in Berlin, napping, preparing to go out for the third night in a row. There's something about that city, where nothing seems to close, every other person is an artist and there's always room to move that gives you a sense of possibility. The wide open boulevards, huge construction projects and pop-up shops and galleries are testament to this. Wandering around, the atmosphere is similar to my favourite city, Paris; relaxed, chilled and Just Right. Obviously a weekend of crazy clubbing in another city with a big group of brilliant mates is going to be pretty special, but splicing in drinks at the Fernsehturm, the amazing AquaDom, a bit of aimless wandering and a very quick trip to the shops (another Acne tshirt; I must seek help) really made it extra-good for me. On returning to London, the crowds of people crammed on the Tube had me down; Every time I come back from a European city, it always reminds me just how high the quality of life is in Continental Europe. Yes, this is through the rose-tinted haze of brilliant weekend, but simple things like having enough - and relatively inexpensive - taxis, really makes me think that it's time to move. I've been in London for 6 and a half years now, it's my city, but I think the dream of a Parisian balcony, a Berlin studio, or a Milanese apartment needs to be explored. If I don't do it soon, then am I going to do it at all? Anyway, enough whimsy; Berlin is amazing, go now while the flights are cheap, and the beer cheaper...

The Staple - WeSC Headphones

Where's Your Head At?

If you're a true music fan, you get proper equipment to listen with; decks, a good-quality pair of speakers and high-end cabling are Staples for getting an extra level from CDs and records, and this was the first thing I invested a significant amount of cash in; even before a suit. For my birthday (which now seems quite a while ago), my parents bought me these lovely, bright blue WeSC headphones from HMV. They are now my constant companion, offering much superior sound quality and generating previously unknown depths to my music. Coupled with my shiny Xmas iPod and newly-acquired home internet, this means I can finally start putting some of my (worryingly large) CD collection into mobile transit usage. Although I was initially unsure about the colour of the 'phones (my bro thought they looked a little "International Rescue"); it's definitely grown on me, and has been commented on by lots of music-y people (and Liberty shop assistants); nothing if not distinctive. Aside from better sound quality, they clamp securely & warmly over my ears, making them almost like musical earmuffs; pretty essential in this cold snap. they're neither too big nor too large, and feel like they will last much longer than most of my previous pairs (life of the last pair: 2and-a-half weeks). They work pretty well for DJing too. Finally, they stop sound leakage out to the rest of the tube carriage, and are less likely to damage your hearing as a result. Musical harmony fused with style and practicality - if only more of my purchases were this useful...
Anyway, on to this week's Staples:
Blue WeSC headphones
Waitrose Cheese & Poppy Seed Twists
Being able to use the internet at home AT LAST
Simian Mobile Disco at Koko; Fab new single Synthesise
Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds Musical (1978)
Slowly becoming addicted to Twitter (id: sebulous)
Soulwax Nite Versions still has the ability to make me smile whatever

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Blogged Down

I've been a bit blogged down of late; there's just so much good stuff going on across there (to the right ->) that I'm not getting time to write. Added to not having internet at home, and a rather hectic week last week, I've not posted any Staples yet. This week I've been chilling in preparation for a long weekend away to Berlin; full details on the return. God I need a holiday! I might even get a post or two in from there. In the meantime please enjoy this photo of me in my new All Saints clobber, from Saturday (brandishing my DJ book - a Touch of Frost branded notebook) and here are this week's Staples:
All Saints end-of-sale-sale (yes, I am still shopping!)
Finally being paid
Lena jazz bar on Great Eastern Street
Seeing Grace Jones (of course)
Looking forward to Berlin
Saturdays=Youth by M83
The new issue of 10+ Men