Monday, September 29, 2008

Terence Conrad Bibendum and More

While a great deal has changed since 1987, much too has remained the same. The restaurant’s original ethos of producing classic French food with a strong British influence, using the best quality seasonal ingredients continues today.- Bibendum website

Sir Terence Conrad has his own Empire in London and elsewhere around the world. Like Frank Lloyd Wright and all other successful modern moguls, Terence Conrad is not just a name, he is a Brand. The Conrad Shop has all those wonderful things that no home should be without-Conrad Furniture, Conrad Lighting, Conrad Entertaining. All designed with that wonderful Terence Conrad mix of Old and New.

Among the architecture of note is the recent
Roppongi Hills, a new 11-hectare urban quarter in the heart of Tokyo. There is also the first museum in the world devoted exclusively to 20th and 21st century design, the Design Museum which opened in 1989. There also many hotels, homes, and other projects under the Terence Conrad banner.

Terence Conrad has also written a book about London. Terence Conran on London is a visual guide to the excitement and diversity of London life, seen through the eyes of one of the world's foremost designers, retailers and restaurateurs. He paints a fascinating portrait of London, its architecture and interiors, as well as the worlds of transport, work, shopping, eating, street life and culture.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spielberg to Make Chocky Movie

Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks has acquired the rights to the science fiction novel Chocky by John Wyndham, according to reports.

Trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter said Pollinger, the UK agency which handles the literary estate of the late author John Wyndham, agreed the deal.

"Chocky" tells the story of a boy who has a mysterious imaginary friend with whom he frequently argues. As the boy's father gets increasingly suspicious, it becomes clear that an alien entity has taken up residence in the boy's consciousness. Spielberg likes stories with spooky sci fi kids, A.I. was a sci fi movie about a strange child who was a robot.

Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg's credits include such sci fi greats as ET and Jurassic Park.

Chocky is a 1968 novel written by John Wyndham, the British science fiction writer best known for writing The Day of the Triffids.

Of course, just because Steven Spielberg had optioned the rights does not mean there will actually be a Chocky movie made. But we can keep our fingers crossed and hope that it will happen. While a lot of the story in Chocky takes place out in the country, I would expect there to be a scene or two in London, as just about every movie set in England has to have a least a few shots of the River Thames and London Eye.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Subliminal Self Improvement

Researchers have found the first physiological evidence that invisible subliminal images do attract the brain’s attention on a subconscious level. The wider implication for the study, published in Current Biology, is that techniques such as subliminal advertising, now banned in the UK but still legal in the USA, certainly do leave their mark on the brain.-Cognitive Neuroscience University College London

I've always been a fan of Subliminal Tapes and their modern day cousins subliminal mp3s and Subliminal CDs. And while I have not learned French in my sleep or improved my vocabulary without really trying, I have had a lot of fun over the years listening to subliminal tracks.

Subliminal Tapes and CD's Self Improvement is the most recent subliminal company that I have run across and I have been giving their track Sharpen Mind a listen. The basic ambient sound of Sharpened Mind is that of water running down a drain in an echoy fashion with a number of harmonic tones fading in and out. They have a couple of other ambient sounds if you don't like the sound of water. As with most subliminal CDs there is the soft whispering going on in the background of voices that can't quite be heard. The point of the ambient sound is to keep your mind off the voices, as subliminal tapes tend to work better if they are not actively listened to by the conscious mind.

The Sharpened Mind track sounds good and clear, it is not uncommon to find subliminal CDs that need to spend some quality time with a good sound engineer. Subliminal tapes and CD's Self Improvement must have a good engineer on staff as the sound is perfect.

Reviewing a subliminal track is a bit harder than reviewing, say, a binaural track-where the results of listening are more immediate. Subliminal CDs are meant, for the most part, to be cumulative in nature. Subliminal Tapes and CD's Self Improvement recommends that you listen twice a day for about two weeks before you should expect any marked results from your subliminal programming. I tend to listen once in the morning and once at night. I will see if any new habits pop up that I didn't have seen before. Subliminal tapes are often made fun of for Subliminal Weight Loss or Subliminal Vocabulary Building, and I have never tried Subliminal CDs for those kinds of results. I've always been a self help junkie and subliminal tapes have been one of my favorite tools. Subliminal success is possible.

Since I still a work in progress, I am always looking for that next subliminal message tape that may the be the one that puts me over the top. I have been beginning work on writing a new novel and plan to do the bulk of the work during NaNoWriMo-but I was inspired to get an early start and rough out a few ideas yesterday. Was this the result of listening to Subliminal Tapes and CDs Self Improvement's Sharpen Mind track? I don't know. Is Sharpen Mind the subliminal self help that will work for me? Only time will tell.

Subliminal Tapes and CD's Self Improvement has a wide array of track to choose from. They have topics such as Sex, Health, Achieve Goals, Stress, Brain Power and Bad Habits. They also have custom subliminal tapes or cds. You can get subliminal cds to help with your studies or whatever else you might need to remember.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

London and The High Seas

There is a lot of naval history and world history in London. The River Thames makes London a natural place for watery adventures. Spend a day following the Maritime attractions of London.

Take the 45 minute boat ride from Westminster Pier to Greenwich. No trip to London is complete without at least a short ride on the River Thames. The sights of the city line the shoreline and have a different character when seen from the deck of a boat. You'll past the H.M.S. Belfast, well worth a visit, and see the Tower of London. There is a chance that you'll have a chatty boat Captain who will point out the many odd and interesting things along the way-they like you to tip for this service. The River Thames is a busy place and the day we rode the river there was a boat moured next to the H.M.S. Belfast-our chatty Captain told that he knew nothing about this ship as it had just come in that morning, but he could tell us a bit about H.M.S. Belfast.

Greenwich is the home of Flamsteed House, the former home of the Royal Observatory. The Queens House is here, which was the model for the White House in Washington, D.C. The Cutty Sark is here as well.

Cutty Sark- Cutty Sark has travelled across the world, sailing under both the Red Ensign and the Portuguese flag, visiting every major port in the world through the course of her working life. Seems the Cutty Sark is closed at the moment for renovation and will be reopening in 2010.

Queen's House-The 17th-century Queen's House represents a turning point in English architecture. It now showcases the National Maritime Museum's fine-art collection and provides a unique venue for weddings, corporate and private events.

Trafalgar Tavern-In Victorian London there was one pub that represented the best of Britain’s naval might and cultural standing. A place where William Gladstone and Charles Dickens could be seen dining side-by-side. An oasis away from the industrial sprawl, but yet at the centre of an Empire. Exactly 170 years later the Trafalgar Tavern still stands in the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site, and it remains one of London’s most essential public houses.

Thames Flood Barrier- Together with the Barking Barrier and significant gates at the entrances to the old Royal Docks, the Thames Barrier is currently the responsibility of the Environment Agency's Thames Region. On the north bank of the Thames and with stunning views of the awesome flood Barrier lies a jewel in the crown of London's parks-Thames Barrier Park. Set within 22 acres of lawns, trees and uniquely contoured Yew and Maygreen hedges you can discover the delights of this urban oasis.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Loch Ness-A London Side Trip

If you find yourself in London for the second time in so many months, you may have seen all the big items on your London Must See list and want to try something a little farther a field. The Wife and I won trips to London from British Airways-and did most of the London stuff we wanted to do at the first trip. Being your average American Tourists there are two side trips from London that we just had to take-one was Stonehenge and the other was Loch Ness.

So after riding on a very nice British Airways 777 for about nine hours, we stumbled through customs, onto the Gatwick Express and found our way from Victoria Station to a City Link bus for a leisurely eight hour ride to Edinburgh. It was not quite as much fun as it sounds, but neither was it the worst travel experience I have had. It was an interesting way to see a lot of UK countryside and a lot of bright yellow flowers blooming in countless fields. I believe someone told me this plant was rapeseed, though I can't really recall.

We stopped of in Edinburgh for a day or two, but he Goal of this little excursion was to get to Inverness and Loch Ness. We weren't looking for great shots of Urquhart Castle, though it was a really cool spot. And the lake itself was a dark and brooding body of water. Loch Ness looked as if it might well have a monster living in it, which why so many people trek to this empty bit of Scotland.

We were in Inverness during the slow season and I guess we were lucky that there were tours at all. It was cold and wet and our tour of The Battlefields of Culloden was spend shivering in the bus. I'm not as much of a history buff as I could be and had never heard of the Battle of Culloden-seems to have had something do with the Jacobites.

Loch Ness-that's what we wanted see. There were three of us in the small office with the Tour Guide, the Wife and I and a Frenchman. There were three tour options. One was a combo of a Motor Tour and a Boat Tour. One was just the Boat Tour and one just Motor Tour. The Guide told us that the combo tour was the best value, though it did cost a bit more. We said sure. The Frenchman said he just wanted to Boat Tour. The Guide tried to talk him out of it, telling him that he wouldn't really like the Boat Tour. But the Frenchman was adamant that he wanted the Boat Tour and Only The Boat Tour. Our Guide shrugged and sold him a Boat Tour.

We rode around the Scottish Countryside in a van with a few other tourists and saw all kinds of hills and valleys. There were some brown dots in the distance we were told were Highland Cows, though it was impossible to tell for sure. It was a rainy and cold day, but it was a lot of fun. It took about an hour and half to get to the Castle Urquhart and we had a bit of time to wander around and take photos and see all that we wanted to see. Then we heard the boat horn and had to go and board the boat for the ride back to where we started.

On the deck of the boat, which was a pretty large vessel as I recall, was a very unhappy Frenchman with his arms crossed and his jaw locked. As soon as we boarded the boat it turned around and set back off again. The Frenchman didn't even get a chance to get off the boat and take photos of Castle Urquhart. For the hour and a half that we had been site seeing, he had been seeing the dark mossy waters of Loch Ness.

The hour and half return trip on the boat was slow and easy. This is some really beautiful country, but there is a big difference seeing Scotland from a boat and seeing it from a Motor Van. When they ask if you want to do the Combo, say yes.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Talk Like A Pirate Day, Is It?

It be a great Tradition on this here date to Talk Like a Pirate. Talk like a pirate day has been around for lo these many years-as far back as 1995 by some accounts of the Old Timers. It be that greatest of great events in the otherwise hum drum life of land lubbers the whole world over to talk like a pirate.

A Pirate walks into a bar. He has a ship's wheel where his belt buckle should be. The Bartender looks at him and asks-"What's with the wheel?"

"Arrgh," The Pirate says, "That drives me nuts."

Ye mad lot what dwells in the Great Dark City of London had best be wary when you talk like a pirate. Until 1700 all cases of piracy by British subjects or in British colonies be under the jurisdiction of the High Court of Admiralty in London. What this highfalutin talk means is that Pirates who be captured be sent back to London and locked up in the fine prisons of Newgate or the Marshalsea before being sent for trial at the Old Bailey. Talk like a pirate, go to prison. Arr, me hearty they be dangerous fellows who surely talked like a pirate.

There be a great number of Pirates tried and executed in London. So be watching who you go about talkin like a Pirate to. It could be swinging from the gallows of the Execution Dock on the north bank of the Thames you'll be findin your fine self one birght and shinnin mornin.

Arrgh, I hates being awake that early.

There be a couple of fine Pirates from that great city of London-Captain Edward Low was born in Westminster, to be sure. And that fine female pirate Mary Read was born in London. They surely talk like a pirate, at least while they could still be talkin.

Arr, me hearty, there be a great granddaddy of all Pirate Books-A General History of the Most Notorious Pyrates and it became a best-seller. New editions came out each year after 1724. Written in London by the mysterious Captain Charles Johnson, it be based evidence of pirate trials, on newspaper reports and on interviews with sailors lucky enough to have met(been captured by) pirates. It be a grand and glorious book, so I be told. Don't know if they be talkin like a pirate, but they sure be spelling like a pirate.

Be gettin a Pirate Name all your own at The Pirate Name Generator.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

London Fashion Week

This... 'stuff'? Oh... ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don't know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise, it's not lapis, it's actually cerulean. You're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn't it, who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.-The Devil Wears Prada

Fashion has always been a spectator's sport. From the outside it all seems silly and over the top and no one would ever really do that would they? And then in no time at all everyone is doing it. Well, everyone that care anyway. My own fashion sense leans more toward Hawaiian Shirts and khaki pants with a lot of pockets. But that doesn't mean I don't like looking are people dressed in really interesting clothes.

London Fashion Week
was in the news because they were thinking of banning size zero models. They did ban models under sixteen years of age. But those were just the usual side issues, the brave new world of fashion, as always, was center stage.

My favorite bit is Fashion Forward, that spot where clothing meets science fiction and the future is on view for all to see. Christopher Kane, Erdem and Marios Schwab are all being awarded Fashion Forward sponsorship for the first-time. Roksanda Ilincic is a recipient for the second time.

In 2006, Christopher Kane launched his own label with his sister Tammy (collaborator and
business partner) and has gone on to build his label into a major player in the high-fashion
world. The label is a key contributor to trends, demonstrating a contemporary and progressive

On receiving the sponsorship, Christopher said "I am thrilled to have been awarded Fashion
Forward sponsorship by the British Fashion Council, this is my fifth catwalk show at London
Fashion Week and I am grateful to have their continued support."

The London Fashion Week website has all kinds of interesting info and lots of great images.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Creme de Menthe Altoids

The history of Altoids dates back to the reign of King George III. The brand was created by London-based Smith & Company in the 1780s but eventually became part of the Callard & Bowser company in the 1800s.

I've been a fan of Altoids for a long time. My favorite flavor is the Liquorice, but I like to try new flavors as I find them. The Altoids Creme de Menthe is as potent as any other Altoids and the flavor is good and refreshing. It has a bit of a bite, and that's what you want from an Altoids.

I like the box design for the Altoids Creme de Menthe mints with it's sort of Victorian flares at the corners and the bright lime green background. As with all Altoids I like these are best when fresh and crushed between the molars. A friend of mine will eat the contents of an entire Altoids tin in a day. I like to take them a little bit slower than that.

I'm also fond of the Altoids website, though to be honest there is only so much silliness I can take at one time. I like the collection of ads featuring all kinds of odd things such as the robot from Lost in Space. The Altoids website is fun for a short visit, but I think they are really trying too hard.

The Altoids Creme de Menthe is good, but it won't be replacing Liquorice as my favorite.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rainbow Innuendo

Bungle: " Geoffrey, I can't get it in"
Geoffrey: "You managed it last night"
Bungle: "I know, let's try it round the other way. Ooooooh, I've got it

Rainbow was a British children's television series, created by Pamela Lonsdale, which ran twice weekly at 12:10 on Tuesdays and Fridays on the ITV network, from 1972 to 1992.

I saw this clip on Plurk earlier and thought that it was just dead brilliant. The Wife wonders how they managed to keep straight faces throughout the sketch. Having missed growing up in London from 1972 to 1992 I am not really familiar with Rainbow, but it does look much like all such Puppet Children shows look. I wonder if there is an adult version of Sesame Street somewhere? I laughed out loud several times while watching this.

"Although often introduced as the unaired pilot, this episode was actually specially made by the team at Thames Television. Geoffrey Hayes told us, "The VT department of each ITV company, every Christmas had a competition to enter all the outtakes from their particular companies programme output, and see which ones were the funniest. But ours wasn't an outtake, we specially did it. It was specially scripted and we did it and I never saw it! We did it and Thames won it, but what they actually won, I don't know. But I never saw the video. I can't remember much about it except for Zippy with a banana." The script was written by the voice of Zippy and George; Roy Skelton."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

London Thoughts Redesign

For the loyal readers that might have noticed, I have been doing a bit of housecleaning on London Thoughts and trying to make it run a tad smoother. This is hard for me as I love to add all kinds of odd widgets and doodads to a blog once I start it. The Digg Button is a cool little item, but it has given me trouble on London Thoughts and it has gone the way of all good things.

I also whipped up a Header for London Thoughts. I know the double decker bus and the Union Jack are pretty generic, but I think overall it have a nice look to it. The transition from the Old World London Map to the Tube Map seems to work and think the bright colors give it a nice pop. Of course, I could be a bit blind in my old age and it is so bright on your computer that you have to sheild your eyes. Any comments on the new layout and header are welcome.

London Thoughts new layout is more of a magazine style blog and I like the tabs and what nots. Found this free template at BTemplates and they have several other good looking layouts. I am still tweaking here and there-as always. A few of the old add-ons didn't have a spot on the new layout and a few others need to be re-sized. I am not totally sure about that long list of keywords, but maybe it will help get the occasional reader to look at another post while they are here.

I am toying with the idea of selling 125x125 ads, but I'm not really sure how much to ask for them. Likewise I am wondering if I could sell custom Blog Header designs, but also need to do a bit more research on the going rate for Blog Headers. So it is all still a work in flux and hopefully getting better and better all the time.

London's Labour and Wait

Labour and Wait is a London Shop for those of you who would have really loved to live in the Victorian Age but just missed it. Labour and Wait is an Old World kind of shop, with brooms and brushes and candles and buckets and all kinds of stuff made the old fashioned way.

White enamel pots and pans, hand knitted dishcloths, apple peelers and a glass butter holder are a few of the items in the Labour and Wait Kitchen area. Visiting Labour and Wait is like taking a trip back into time, or stopping off in an antiques store where all the stuff is new instead of old.

I wonder about some of the items, feather dusters and rug beaters haven't really changed all that much have they? Of course, I haven't actively looked one lately either, so maybe they have. There is something charming about the whole idea of Labour and Wait, living a simpler life and using something is made to last.

All of the items at Labour and Wait make you want to pick them up and take them home. They make you feel like you can boil water or get juice out of a lemon. These are items without computer chips and complex instructions on their operations. My dear Sainted Mother would have liked Labour and Wait and recognized all of the items that they sell.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

London River Cruises

The best thing about London is that its on the way to Amsterdam.-My Brother Don

I write about a few travel related topics, and I have these plans of seeing more of the world one of these days. More of London in particular. So I get the occasional travel catalog. Oddly these travel brochures are seldom just tours of Britain or London-they are more often Grand Tours that trek the whole of Europe. With just the occasional stop over in London before you head off to Budapest or Cairo.

I don't know why I get most of the travel catalogs that I get. I am not like Hyacinth Bucket-pronounced Bouquet-and request every catalog on record for the QEII or African Safaris. Though if I win the lotto it would be fun to request a few. As it is I have signed up for a couple of contests here and there, and I think that is how my name has found its way onto these mailing lists.

My most recent catalog is for Viking River Cruises in Europe, Russia, and China. A fairly broad area to be taking river cruises to my way of thinking. Most of these river cruises are in the four to six thousand dollar range and seem to last about 10 to 16 days. If Viking River Cruises wants to give me and the wife a nice Cruise somewhere I'd be happy to write a few blog posts about it. Otherwise it will just be fun to look at the pictures.

Of course, my London thoughts tend to wander to Cruises on the Thames in London. My own London Cruising experience was a three and half hour ride down to Hampton Court, which was about three hours longer than we expected it to be. That was one way. It was an interesting experience though. We also took a short trip from one side of the Thames to the other at one point and got a bit of commentary on the London buildings lining the river.

The more serious London River Cruises offer diners and bars and lots of windows for seeing all of the wonders of London floating by. Below are some of the London River Cruise Companies that Google and Rough Guide like. Though to be honest, Google just likes the names.

Canal and River Cruises-London canal and river boat trip cruise, Private narrow boat charter for your exclusive use. The views provide a whole new perspective on the magnificient City of London

Crown River Cruises-Crown River Cruises offers luxurious cruises supplying meals and entertainment and also provides circular cruises for sightseeing.

City Cruises-City Cruises operates sightseeing cruises and evening dinner & dance cruises on London's River Thames all year round.

Viking River Cruises-Just hang out in London until the Grand Adventure of a long river cruise begins. The kind of stuff that dreams are made of.

Bateaux London-Offering fine food, breathtaking river views, live entertainment and professional service, a Thames lunch or dinner cruise provides the perfect indulgence.

Thames River Services-A visit to London is incomplete without a cruise along the Thames, either as an introduction to the many sights and scenes to be enjoyed during your stay or as a treasured memory of your visit. All year round, our boat service leaves regularly from Westminster Pier.

London River Cruises-London River Cruises can pick your guests up from any of the piers in or around the London area and take you to your destination while enjoying a drink crusing along the River Thames

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cookery Mastermind Competition- £100 Prize

It's always fun to enter contests and think about what you'll do with the £100 prize. The Cookery Mastermind Competition is a bit of fun and doesn't really take much of a mastermind.

I like the layout and general feel of the Allrecipes site, and a quick search found me a nice recipe for a Great British Fry Up-so who could ask for more than that? It's one of those spots I can wander around and look at stuff and say, yeah, I might want to cook up one of those.

To celebrate the launch of Allrecipes in the UK, we and our friends at Waitrose are offering one lucky reader the chance to win £100 worth of grocery vouchers – giving you the chance to spend your money on what you really want this month. There seems to be about 300 Waitroses in London-just thought I'd mention it as it is a blog about London. is the UK’s 1st online cooking community to provide a forum for UK food enthusiasts to inform, connect and inspire each another. UK foods have often been under appreciated and here is a showcase for all those foods we love.

All Recipes UK|Ireland provides access to thousands of real food ideas created by real people. Not only can you save money by not eating out you can know that what you’re cooking is top nosh with personal reviews from fellow foodies.

To prove yourself as the UK’s Cookery Mastermind you will need to do the following:

1. Find the answers to the 5 questions listed below

2. Take the first letter of each answer to make a secret code word-that's is Cookery Mastermind bit

3. If your answer is correct you could stand a chance of winning a bumper weeks grocery shopping-that's the £100 worth of grocery voucher

1. What type of cheese is needed to make Nanmurat's legendary salad? Hint Here

2. Rarebit is commonly associated with which country? Hint Here

3. Polly Welby's heavenly chocolate mousse does not include which poultry product? Hint Here

4. The traditional dish Eton Mess originate from which country? Hint Here

5. Edie Moon's strawberry salad is both sweet and ? Hint Here

Right, have the answer? Enter it at Cookery Mastermind Competition. Good luck

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The London Silly Nannies

Now that American Football is back in full swing I thought I should take a moment to reflect of that Great London Football Team-The Silly Nannies. This less than manly team showed up in Season 4 of Family Guy-a show will little love for anything British. Family Guy has been aired on BBC 3 and I wonder how the London audience feels about it. It's a silly show with a lot of American Baby Boomer references-do they have a British version of Family Guy? The guy who played Onslow on Keeping Up Appearances would be a good fit for the part.

A few of my friends are absolutely crazy about Family Guy and can quote entire episodes. It's the kind of love that should only be reserved for shows like Star Trek or Monty Python. Well, it's not that great, but then, it's not all that bad either. Except for the London Silly Nannies.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Beatles Best Band Ever-According to Oasis Guitarist

The Beatles getting the nod as the best band of all time if kind of fun. That it comes from Oasis songwriter/guitarist Noel Gallagher is great-seeing as Oasis is the best band of all time according NME. These are more people that think Radiohead is among the top ten bands of all time, which pretty much baffles me. But I will cast my vote for The Beatles being the Best Band of All Time.

The rest of the lists are kind of up for grabs as far as I'm concerned. And it should be noted that The Beatles are on the move up and might overtake Oasis one of these days.

For example I had never heard the name of The LA's-of There She Goes Again fame-a song I liked much better when preformed by Sixpence None The Richer. And The Specials? Well, I never heard of them at all. But then ska was never really my thing.

The Rolling Stones still have some London clout as well, since London's Victoria and Albert Museum announced Tuesday that it bought the original artwork for The Rolling Stones' famous "lips" logo for £51,375. The Brits are all great, but I might have been tempted to put The Ramones in there instead of The Specials.

Noel Gallagher’s Top 10 Bands of All Time

1. The Beatles
2. The Rolling Stones
3. The Who
4. Sex Pistols
5. The Kinks
6. The La's
7. Pink Floyd
8. The Bee Gees
9. The Specials
10. (Peter Green's) Fleetwood Mac

NME Readers' Top Ten Best Bands of All Time

1. Oasis
2. The Beatles
3. Nirvana
4. Led Zeppelin
5. The Jimi Hendrix Experience
6. The Rolling Stones
7. The Who
8. The Clash
9. Radiohead
10. Pink Floyd

Friday, September 5, 2008

London Best UK City-Well, Duh

"Tourism is key to the capital's economy and it's vital that we remain ahead of the competition attracting visitors from around the world all year round."-London Mayor Boris Johnson

London has been named as the UK's best city to visit by the readers of Conde Nast Traveller magazine.

Beating off competition for destinations such as Edinburgh and Bath, London reached the top spot due to the standard of its cultural attractions, nightlife and restaurants. Though it is not the cleanest-Durham-not the friendliest-Glasgow, people still preferred London this year.

London does get a bit more US press than any of the other UK cities on the list. The Fox show Bones had it's season opener set in London and they talked about how it was good luck to see the bridge open on the Tower Bridge. Which I had not heard before-but it was a cute bit for the story as the bridge opened behind them when they weren't looking.

London is often the back drop of great movies and TV Shows. What kid didn't grow with Mary Poppins floating over the rooftops of London or take a flight with Peter Pan flying by Big Ben on his way to Never Never Land? From Sherlock Holmes to Dr Who, London always seems to be where the action is.

Of course, the real world London and all the countless London Attractions make for a great trip. Not that I wouldn't take a side trip to any or all of the other Top Ten UK Cities, one of my regrets from our last trip was that we didn't made a trip to Liverpool and visit all those Beatles sites. Of course, London has it's own share of things to do with the Beatles. Just one more reason London is best.

1. London
2. Edinburgh
3. Liverpool
4. Durham
5. Glasgow
6. Oxford
7. Bath
8. Manchester
9. Leeds
10. Cambridge

Monday, September 1, 2008

Books for Cooks London

Books for Cooks was founded in 1983 by Heidi Lascelles. At that time, the whole venture must have seemed highly improbable. British cooking was a standing joke the world over, with London a highly unlikely location for a cook book store. Heidi was neither a trained cook nor professional bookseller.-Books for Cooks website.

One of my favorite films is Notting Hill, in which Hugh Grant owns a bookstore which sells nothing but Travel Books. It's the kind of Long Tail choice that seems unlikely to succeed in the Brick and Morton world, and Hugh's character was not rich or famous. Still, it did introduce lots of people outside of London to Knotting Hill's famous bookshops.

Across the road from The Travel Bookshop is Books for Cooks, another one note shop that seems to be doing very well with it's all cookbooks all the time programing.

I'm a sucker for books and I have to admit that I have soft spot for cookbooks. Most of the ones I buy are large and glossy and filled with beautiful photos. The handful of real cookbooks I own have battle won stains from time sitting on a kitchen counter while its owner zipped back and forth from cook pot to cookbook in mild to extreme confusion.

Which is where a stop at a Books for Cooks workshop would have come in handy. This bookstore teaches you how to cook, as well as selling you books on cooking. The list of workshops is pretty impressive. Everything from how to Taste Wine to how to Cook with Recipes. Truffle and Chocolate Making, that would be the one for me. I do love to make Truffles and I am always on the lookout for one more recipe to try.

The other bit that sets Books for Cooks apart from other bookstores is it's Test Kitchen, where great smells waft out to fill the shop and inspire the would be foodie to greatness. Of course, I would be more likely just to eat the samples and not really try to make them myself. I do love a good bookshop, and the hunt for just the right book is a great way to spend a couple of hours.

Books for Cooks 4 Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, London, W11 1NN