I’ll be there for you…Central Perk pops up in Soho

28 09 2009

Like most people, I had always assumed that the lyrics to the 10-year Friends series – I’ll be there for you… simply referred to the friendship shared by 6 of the funnest friends in Manhattan I’ve never actually had. After this past Saturday morning, however, I discovered that Friends is actually really there for me – right now, present tense, in the form of the Central Perk pop up cafe in Soho on Broadwick Street.

Central Perk pop up

Two weeks ago I’m kicking myself for not talking more about pop ups, planning a trip to the Icecreamists at Selfridges as my first pop-up experience. This Saturday MissDani has me up at the crack of dawn to truck it (okay, train and bus it) from Deptford to Soho to press our noses up against the glass of what quite frankly is a coulda-fooled-me pop up of the Central Perk cafe. At 9am on the dot, along with the 20 or so other Friends fanatics and pleasantly surprised passerby, we are let in two by two into the cafe, which is complete with the red couch, neon signs, and central perk signage.  It’s pretty realistic, especially looking out over the sofa, cafe tables and through the Central Perk window –  I even half expect to see Ross chasing Phoebe and Rachel outside proving his Unagio total awareness theory!

Very key and hilariously quotable scenes from the ten seasons play on flat screens, as this is, after all, a PR stunt to sell the latest 10-season comprehensive box set for the series’ 15th anniversary, complete with – of course – never before seen and extended footage. I could care less why it’s there. Point is – we hung out and had coffee at Central Perk, saw live and direct the Turkey that Monica wore on her head to cheer up Chandler on Thanksgiving, along with Phoebe’s Buffay the Vampire Layer porno and the front page of Ross’s Science Boy comic book.

Monica's Turkey Head

Phoebe Buffay the Vampire Layer


It’s only on until 7 October so if you do want to check it out, do it soon, before your shot at sitting in Central Perk is no longer there for you….Oh, and there’s free coffee, too!

Friends Pop up Soho

Missdani on the 'set' of Friends

Missdani on the 'set' of Friends


Flux – Deptford X Festival underway today

25 09 2009

An excuse to finally go to the Bunker Club and not be looked at like an old bag?
An excuse to finally check out many of the studios in Creekside without feeling like a wanna be?
An excuse to eat cake outside the post office at the Marbles?

Excuses? I don’t need no stinkin excuses.

It’s Deptford X Festival time, and from the Festival party at the Bunker next Friday to the exhibits in the Old Police Station, the Albany and those of the open-air variety, I am really going to soak up this Deptford-based festival!

Here’s my picks of the festival:

Cardiff-based Sam and Jason at the Old Police Station – Outsider / Informer

Jason and Sam

New X Atlantic – Artists from Goldsmiths and the Californian Arts College in the Interview Room at the Old Police Station.

Before and After – an exhibition by Fred Aylward at the Albany Cafe of old entertainment venues in the area, and a screening of Babylon, a film made in Deptford in 1980.

Towerblocks and Tunnels by German Joerg Obergfell at BEARSPACE

Knit or Die by Sally Spinks – Urban Graffiti (knitted graffiti art) at the Deptford Train Station, Johnny’s DIY and Birds Nest Club. Sally is nominated for the Deptford X Award.

Sally Spinks 2

Good Life, 2009 – billboard by Phil Ashcroft located at Goldsmiths College which relates to changing landscape of Deptford and New Cross.

Absolutely all the exhibits at the Deptford Project Space

The open studios at APT Gallery, the Lewisham Art House, the Old Police Station and 8th.

The Deptford marbles Tea and Dance Event on New Cross Square at the Marbles.

Of course the party at Bunker on 2 October – Friday night, and regarding the Old Bag comment above, I lifted this from The Deptford Dame‘s most recent post:

old bag

I’ll let you know how that all goes!

I Heart The Hoxton Pony

22 09 2009

hoxton pony logoDeep fried Bubble and Squeak balls, fresh and refreshing Tomato soup of the day, cocktails with so much in season fruit it counts as one of your five a day, eco-friendly urinals and locally sourced fruit and veg, patented infusion tea pots loaded with liquor for Tea Parties with a twist and a staff so passionate you’d think they each owned the place.

Add to it excellent mix of funk, rock, rap and old school music and a wicked dance floor downstairs, and you’ve got all the right ingredients for a legendary east London location in the making.

Are you still reading this? Oh, right – the location:

The Hoxton Pony is in Hoxton / Shoreditch area of East London on Curtain Road across from the Elbow Room.


In the words of the great Ferris Bueller: “You’re still here? It’s over! Go [to The Hoxton Pony]. Go!”

R.I.P. thelondonpaper

11 09 2009

thelondonpaper logo

Born: August 2006

Died: September 2009

Oh, thelondonpaper, victim of the free newspaper war, victim of a failing business model, victim of a 2.0 world, you will sorely be missed. The Earth will be a healthier greener place, indeed, as will London tube stations everywhere.

paper stack

But your columns will be sorely missed. City Boy, City GirlLuke and his celebrity gossip, your  travel section. How I will miss you, thelondonpaper.

God gave me two hands – and since I have lived in London, I was sure that one was for the London Lite, and one was for you, thelondonpaper.

R.I.P. thelondonpaper…you will be sorely missed.

Pop Ups: The revolution will not be permanent. Or, an Ode to Ice Cream.

10 09 2009

The Icreamists 2Permanent is so yesterday. The Pop up retail revolution is here and the coolest pop up shop has just sauntered into town, and this here post is an ode to the ice cream pop up.

I’m a bit of a trendsurfer. I like to wait out in the water until I see the perfect trend swell up, and when I know I can ride it, I paddle out and ride the trend in to the shore. We’re not talking fashion here, but trends in media, tourism and retail. Inevitably, a trend will come and go, and I will have blinked to miss it. So it wasn’t really worth watching.

Trendwatching can be hard to hang on to, and sometimes I feel like Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory just trying to keep up:

But the Pop Up Shop trend? It’s like I see the wave coming, but I paddle in to shore, put down my board, and head over to the cocktail cabana where I order my Sex on the Beach and while towelling a glass, the bartender stares out to sea, letting out an exasperated gasp at the size of the wave building behind me, himself considering whether or not to run for cover, and then literally screaming at me to turn around so I don’t miss it, and me, slowly turning around to face a Point Break style wave 10 feet tall in front of me.

Trendwatching first covered Pop Up Retail in 2004 – read here for an in-depth look.  I’ve known about the pop up shop since I started paying attention, too, but I have not said a word about the trend. Until now ladies and gentlemen.

You may ask: Why now, Jessica?

I may just answer: Because I found the BEST pop up shop in the world and I want to (ice)scream from the rooftops about it.


The Icecreamists! The agents of cool, Liberating the World One Lick at a Time guerrilla pop up shop at Selfridges from now until September 1st.

The Icecreamists

The website is gorgeous and the marketing is mad on target.  I completely buy their whole campaign one ice cream scoop at a time.

Ice Cream menu includes:

Obamarama, Obamarama at the White House, Vanilla Ice Ice Baby, the Prince Harry Ice Cream Sandwich, cocktails with names things like the Sex Pistol and even Champagne Ice Lollies.

It’s a pop-influenced lollie-pop-having pop-up…and they are even open for breakfast.

Sometimes keeping up with trends can be like Lucy and Ethel in the Chocolate Factory – but at least you get to shovel in all the chocolate (or ice cream) while you try to stay ahead of the trend.

God save the cream.

Snap! Top Photography Exhibits in London

6 09 2009

Everyone is a photographer, photography itself  a ubiquitous activity as mindless and banal as breathing. I’ve got a 3 megapixel camera on my phone that has more tricks than I care to understand. I stop and shoot a few things here and there, the images never leave my phone.  Others run around with their basic Cannons carelessly shooting everything in sight and uploading all of the photos into a Facebook album or Flickr site. I even had a woman selling perfume yesterday on Oxford Street toss  a free disposable camera my way to entice me to buy some cut-rate scents.

That’s not high-quality, none of that is (intentionally) art.

Not surprisingly, however, London is also teeming with amazing photography at the moment, and Saturday saw us doing a bit of an impromptu photography tour.

The Photographer’s Gallery in Ramilles Row has an exhibit on now called André Kertész: On Reading which is fascinating, and the cafe offers some of the best Chocolate Banana Cake I’ve seen in a while (of course I was too full from breakfast here to eat it!). The bookshop will keep you busy for at least an extra half an hour of your visit.

On Reading at The Photographer's Gallery

On Reading at The Photographer's Gallery

The Getty Images Gallery is currently running the Londoner’s Through a Lens exhibit until 12 September – a collaboration with TimeOut. If you miss it, the collaboration has produced a book of even more photos. I’m saving my comments on this for my write up on the Gallery in next week’s Le Cool London out on Thursday – but very interesting. For anyone living in London, it’s a must-see and a tribute to Health and Safety employees everywhere.

Londoners Through a Lens

Londoners Through a Lens

The James Hyman Gallery in Savile Row has Brigitte Bardot mania. The subterranean gallery is an open and surprisingly light space, and the exhibit, Brigitte Bardot and the Original Paparazzi is an excellent glimpse into the life of this French superstar taken by some of the most famous paparazzi photographers of the time.

brigitte bardot

The photography blitz continues in London this autumn with the Natural History Museum‘s exhibition of the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009 from  23 October 2009 – 26 April 2010.  While I love to see the images of the wildlife themselves, I most prefer to imagine what the photographers must have gone through to get that perfect shot. Sitting in the bush in the blazing heat, holding of a flinch from an insect flying near the eyes, ignoring a growl or a howl behind you, just to capture the image.


At the National Portrait Gallery from 5 November 2009 – 14 February 2010, the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize showcases talented work of young not-yet-made-its alongside the the been-there-shot-that professionals, and of course I can’t miss the Beatles to Bowie: The 60s Exposed exhibition on from Mid October!

Beatles NPG

I’m looking most forward to Photomonth – East London Photography Festival from 1 October – 30 November 2009, as this festival will give me the excuse to check out several galleries and spaces in the East End over a two-month period and catch some really exciting international exhibitions of varied, cutting edge, comtemporary photography by the established and up-and-coming crews.

Photomonth - East London Photography Festival

Photomonth - East London Photography Festival

The Sexiest Small Hotel in the World – 40 Winks

2 09 2009

Post on Carnival this year Na, don’t reallly have anything to say. Caught the parade right at the end with the amazing costumes and enthusiastic party goers, but most of the time there were too many people, too much garbage and little too much Run for Cover than I’d like to comment on.

That said – I would like talk about a place I only just ‘discovered’ last week mentioned in Le Cool London, that was featured yesterday in Daily Candy that is definitely about to pop!

40 Winks. 40 Winks

40 Winks prides itself on being the most beautiful, sexy small hotel in the world. After doing a bit of research and knowing a bit about hotels and a lot about sexy, I’d definitely have to agree.


There are only 2 very affordable, very creative rooms, each costing £80 a night. This is such a good rate, I shouldn’t even be telling anyone about this. Except the Evening Standard, Le Cool, Daily Candy and German Vogue already did. Among others.

40 Winks Rooms

Then you’ve got  their  KINK INK sketching classes. You’re provided with the materials, inspired by the sexy interior design and each of the seductive models will be imagining themselves to be a former inhabitant of this creatively kinky house. For £25 a head and free nibbles, half of London will be their faster than you can say sexy aristocrat!

How about their weird and wonderful bedtime stories, a collaborative effort with online audio storytellers Spoken Ink.  The good people at 40 Winks are offering “Tales of ghosts, ghouls and gothic horror” where a dresscode of pyjamas, nighties and
dressing gowns will be rigorously enforced.

40 Winks the evening standard

I’m sure they’ll be coming up with more creative activities that the community can get involved in, and of course, as the nearest tube station is Stepney Green, we can be sure there is no dearth of creative types drooling over this as much as I am.

What I respect the most is not their great prices or their creativity, or even the fact that they have managed to create exactly the world they had in their heads. What I love is the way this hotel is a community-based project. So many hotels and accommodation providers do not give back to the community in which they sit. Tourists come and they go, and the community is there, unaffected and not benefitting in any immediate way. 40 Winks is glamorous, creative, and invites everyone and anyone to share in their world.

Hooray for 40 Winks!