28 August 2010

Notting Hill Carnival 2010

Well Carnival is almost upon us once again and it looks like we may even have some sunshine (fingers crossed!)

As they do every year, Time Out London magazine have produced a map of the area showing all the sound systems.

You can view this printable map (without key) online here:


They have also produced an online Google Map (with key), which may or may not be more useful. Check it out here:


The three must-visit sound systems are:

9 - Gaz's Rockin' Blues
Gaz Mayall has the most colourful sound in town. This year's theme is the Roaring Twenties, featuring a guest set from legendary sound man Duke Vin.

11 - The Gladdy Wax Roadshow
Veteran soundsystem operator Gladdy Wax and guests play old reggae, ska and rocksteady.

20 - The Latin Rave Street Jam
Carnival's only all-Latin soundsystem mixes the new sounds with some fantastic vintage salsa, Latin jazz and mambo.

23 August 2010

Soho News

Here's an update on a couple of Soho stories I discussed here a while back.

First of all, it seems news of star barista Avni's departure from Bar Italia was greatly exaggerated. Having left for only a few weeks, Avni returned to take up the evening reins on the famous Gaggia machine once more. Suffice to say, late-night cappuccino lovers are in safe hands.

Bar Italia, 22 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4RP. (020) 7437 4520

The second story relates to the premises of Amato. As I reported some time ago, this once great patisserie sadly closed down. It reopened as a branch of Richoux, with a restaurant, rather than patisserie, focus. However, that venture did not last long and closed down again shortly after opening. The same premises was then set to become a branch of pizzeria chain Made In Italy. Despite the number of other pizza restaurants in Soho, the wonderful Made In Italy restaurants on The King's Road and Islington's Upper Street made this welcome news. The restaurant is now open and having eaten there the other night, I am happy to report that I was most impressed. Although rather cramped for space (due to the large number of tables squeezed in), the food is divine. Possibly the most authentic Italian pizza in London. Wood-fired ovens, fresh ingredients and home-made mozzarella ensure these pizzas served "a metro" are a cut above the rest. Although I dislike service charges being added to the bill (I strongly believe these should depend on a customer's own discretion), the edge was taken off this annoyance by the limoncello I was served "on the house".

Made In Italy, 14 Old Compton Street, Soho, London, W1D 4TH

Free James Hunter concert - Sun 12 Sept

Great news for fans of James Hunter. He is to play a free outdoor gig on Sunday 12th September as part of this year's Thames Festival. Appearing on the Lady Luck Jive Stage (apparently being set up this year on the forecourt of the Tate Modern) from 8pm - 9pm, this is chance to catch London's most soulful singer for free on his home turf.

It's only now James is so (deservedly) famous that one really appreciates how special it was to hear him busking on the streets of Soho a few years back. These days he plays all over the US and UK in some of the countries' most prestigious venues.

Although the festival looks like a great fun weekend, this has to be the highlight. Take a tip from me and don't miss this no matter what the weather!

Find out more from the Thames Festival website: www.thamesfestival.org

Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band - Fri 10 Sept

Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band will be performing live on Friday 10th September at popular Hackney warehouse venue Passing Clouds. DJ support comes from Koichi Sakai (Afrobeat Vibration, Jazz On The Road).

Anthony Joseph is "a talented writer with a powerful imagination" [Linton Kwesi Johnson]. Not just a jazz poet, Joseph is also a novelist, academic and musician. He was born in Trinidad, moving to the UK in 1989. His publications include 'Desafinado' (1994), 'Teragaton' (1997) and 'The African Origins of UFOs' (Salt, 2006). In 2004 he was chosen by the Arts Council as one of 50 Black and Asian writers who have made major contributions to contemporary British literature. In 2005, Joseph served as the British Council's first Poet in Residence at California State University, Los Angeles.

Anthony Joseph performs internationally with his band The Spasm Band. Their second album 'Bird Head Son' is currently out on Heavenly Sweetness records. Hear some of their music and find out more from Joseph's website:


Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band live
Friday 10th September
@ Passing Clouds, 1 Richmond Road, London, E8 4AA
8pm - 3am
£6 before 10pm, £8 after