29 September 2011

Slim silk knitted ties from T.M. Lewin

Slim silk knitted ties from T.M. LewinI popped into T.M. Lewin today and to my great delight found they are currently stocking the holy grail of men's neckwear: slim knitted ties made of 100% pure silk. And what's more, they are currently part of one of Lewin's famous half-price sales. Known colloquially as Slim Jims, these are quite simply the ultimate, classic, 1960s mod style ties. They should be a staple in any well-dressed man's wardrobe, but are sadly as rare as hen's teeth these days. To be perfectly honest, I haven't seen such nice ties in London since Soho tailor John Pearce made up a batch a few years ago.

The ties are 5cm (approximately 2 inches) at their widest point and have a length of 150cm (approximately 59 inches). They also have a reinforced neck band. Being silk, they knot and drape beautifully and hold a dimple particularly well.

The ties have been slashed in price from £79 to £39.50 and are also part of a 3 for £99 deal. They are available from T.M. Lewin branches, subject to availability (the branch I was in had only one colour in stock) but are also available to buy online. Standard UK shipping is just £3.95 and they even ship internationally.

So take my advice and snap these up before it's too late! If you don't, I guarantee you will regret it when they are discontinued.

For more information, or to buy online, visit the T.M. Lewin website

26 September 2011

The Three Degrees live in Islington - 10th October

AGMP presents Philly Soul vocal group, The Three Degrees, live at The Union Chapel in Islington on Monday 10th October.

Photo of The Three DegreesAlthough their line-up has changed over the years, The Three Degrees have existed continuously for almost four decades, and now lay claim to being the longest running female vocal group in history. Today, the trio consists of Valerie Holiday (who first joined in 1967), Helen Scott (who first joined in 1963) and Freddie Pool, who replaced Cynthia Garrison at the end of 2010.

Initially formed in 1963 by manager Richard Barrett, it is arguably their three year stint with Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International label in the 1970s for which The Three Degrees are best remembered. It was during this era that the threesome had some of their biggest hits, such as "Dirty Ol' Man", "TSOP" and "When Will I See You Again". They also gained a great deal of attention from the fact that Prince Charles publicly acclaimed them as his favourite group (they performed live at Buckingham Palace for Prince Charles's 30th birthday party in 1978).

To read more about the group visit: www.thethreedegrees.com

To find out more about The Union Chapel visit: www.unionchapel.org.uk

The Three Degrees live at The Union Chapel
Date: Monday 10th October, 2011
Doors: 7pm
Address: Compton Avenue, Islington, N1 2XD
Tickets: £28.50 in advance from https://agmp.ticketabc.com/events/three-degrees/

25 September 2011

Owen Gray live in concert - 19th October

Legendary Jamaican singer Owen Gray performs live on Wednesday 19th October at The Phoenix City Social Club, backed by The Sidewalk Doctors.

Owen Gray is a true veteran of the Jamaican music scene, being one of the country's first home-grown stars. He began his singing career as a teenager in the mid-1950s after attending the Alpha Boys School, which is well known for training many of Jamaica's finest musicians. With his soulful voice, he effortlessly recorded in a variety of styles over the years, from rhythm & blues and soul through to ska, rocksteady and roots reggae. Many of his tracks also became popular in the UK, released on labels such as Starlite, Island, Blue Beat, Dice and Pama. He moved to England in the 1960s, where he still lives to this day.

The Phoenix City Social Club is a new midweek session in a great, 200 capacity, basement venue, promoted by the man behind the London International Ska Festival. Musically, the night promises "ska, rocksteady, soul and 2 Tone" from well-known DJs and live bands. Guest DJ on the 19th October is Cello from the Coast To Coast club.

Advance tickets are available from londoninternationalskafestival.co.uk/tickets

Venue: The Queen of Hoxton (basement)
Address: 1-5 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3JX
Times: 7pm - midnight
Admission: £10
Website: www.facebook.com/PhoenixCityRecCo
Venue website: www.thequeenofhoxton.co.uk

22 September 2011

Michael Kiwanuka gig and EP launch

Fabulous young singer/songwriter, Michael Kiwanuka, is to perform live in West London on Sunday 2nd October before jetting off to support Adele on her US tour.

Kiwanuka emerged from North London in 2010 with a rootsy, acoustic sound and a voice straight out of the classic soul tradition. His excellent debut release, the three track "Tell Me A Tale" EP, came out earlier this year and has received many repeat spins on my hi-fi ever since. To me, it is very reminiscent of that folky, black soul sound of the early 1970s and stands out as much for its beautiful musical accompaniment and production as it does for its moving vocals and lyrics.

His new EP, "I'm Getting Ready" has just been released on vinyl this week and is available to buy from Amazon here

You can listen to the lovely title track on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Wgj6vJDfjY

Michael Kiwanuka live @ The George IV
Date: Sunday 2nd October
Address: 185 Chiswick High Road, W4 2DR
Doors: 7.30pm – 11pm
Tickets: £7 from www.musicglue.net/blueflowers/

For more information about the gig, visit: www.blueflowersmusic.co.uk

To find out more about Michael Kiwanuka, visit his website: michaelkiwanuka.tumblr.com

16 September 2011

Tea time with Lil' Koko - 25 September

Time For TeaIt's tea time! Nestled in the heart of Shoreditch, the Time For Tea vintage tearoom is the setting for a one-off afternoon tea with a difference. Your host for the day is the effervescent Kate Pieroudis (aka Lil' Koko) who promises a fine selection of cakes (including Lavender Cake, Oh-My Chocolate Cake, and scones) while her Italian friend Chiara serves up Crostata and Tiramisù (my favourite Italian dessert).

In between preparing the tea, DJ Lil' Koko (Ronnie Scott's, Nightjar) will also be spinning vinyl to get you dancing. And pianist Dom Pipkin will be stopping by from 6pm to tinkle the ivories too. Open from 2pm - 8pm. Free admission.

Time For Tea,
110 Shoreditch High Street,
E1 6JN

13 September 2011

The S&M Cafe in Essex Road has closed down

The S&M Cafe, IslingtonI've just discovered that the S&M (Sausage & Mash) Cafe on Essex Road in Islington has closed down. Despite its inconsistent service and menu over the years, I rather liked the place as it kept the English Heritage listed cafe (originally Alfredo's, opened in the 1920s) in use as an old-fashioned style eatery (albeit a rather expensive one).

I've no idea yet what will become of the premises with its beautiful, original decor, but will update you as I find out more.

It seems that the S&M chain has now shrunk down to just one remaining location (in Spitalfields) as the Portobello Road branch also closed down some time ago. The food there is good, though I've unfortunately found the service quite slow and unfriendly at times.

Official announcement here: www.sandmcafe.co.uk/islington.php

12 September 2011

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

Directed by Göran Hugo Olsson, The Black Power Mixtape is a fascinating documentary about the Black Power movement in America between 1967 and 1975. It is due for general release in UK cinemas on 21st October, but I was lucky enough to see a preview screening of the film last month.

The Black Panther Party in Black Power MixtapeRunning at just over an hour and a half, the film is primarily a compilation of long-lost footage which was found buried in a Swedish Television archive - unseen by the public for 30 years. On top of this are added contemporary audio interviews from leading African-American artists, activists, musicians and scholars.

So far, release dates include:

Curzon Soho / 21st - 27th October
The Ritzy, Brixton / 21st - 27th October
The Lexi Cinema, Kilburn / 28th October - 3rd November

This list of screenings is expected to grow however, so keep your eyes open for other cinemas across London.

Angela Davis in Black Power Mixtape

06 September 2011

The E17 Art Trail - September 2011

E17 Art Trail 2011The E17 Art Trail is currently taking place in Walthamstow in North East London. It runs until 11th September. The E17 Art Trail is a free annual festival showcasing artists from Waltham Forest. This year there are more than 1000 contributors exhibiting in over 100 venues around the borough. The Trail also includes film, poetry and music events.

For more information and full listings, visit www.e17arttrail.co.uk