Monday, 10 August 2015

Restaurant Food Delivered To Your Door By Deliveroo REVIEW

There's only one thing better than going to a nice restaurant for a nice meal and that's not having to go to a restaurant and have the nice meal brought to you instead and that is the scrummy premise of the UK delivery service Deliveroo which rolled out in Nottingham city centre and West Bridgford earlier this year.

Working with a tasty mix of gourmet local independents together with well-known established chain restaurants, Deliveroo operates in zones of a 1.5 mile radius of the restaurants to keep delivery times down and the food fresh and warm and offers a selection ranging from Japanese sushi to Pan Asian BBQ to American Grills and Persian meals as well as Deli food from Nottingham's Alley Cafe, Sobar and Aubrey's Traditional Creperie.

With our stay-at-home tastebuds delectably tickled by the prospect of enjoying quality restaurant food in the comfort of our own jim-jams, we plumped for an order from Italian cuisine supremos Carluccio's and found ordering from the Deliveroo website happily straightforward and user-friendly. After entering your postcode and choosing a time slot that can be booked up to a day ahead and in fifteen minute intervals, a list of available restaurants is displayed to choose from, where you continue to order food and create an account with a £2.50 delivery charge and option to tip the driver all included, thereby dispensing entirely with the need for pesky cash and after which your food will be pedalled to you on bikes as fast as legally permitted.

Our delivery arrived bang on time and smartly packed in black and clear plastic boxes and included a tasting trio of pastas with a particularly delicious Luganica with a spicy Italian sausage sauce, a butter-glistening Ravioli and a gloriously mushroomy Pasta  Con Funghi,  complemented by olives, garlic bread and salad and followed perfectly by an intoxicatingly liqueur-drenched Tiramisu and zingingly tart Lemon Tart, all suitably warm or cool and crush-free and reliably Carluccios-a-licious.

It's a slick, satisfying, lip-smacking service and if you're lucky enough to live in the NG1 and NG2 catchment areas of Deliveroo, this is a proper culinary game-changing tasty treat with an array of foods on offer guaranteed to meet any not-going-out moods and needs. Deliveroo also tell us they "do have plans for other zones" in the future for more Nottingham suburbs so keep an eye on our Nottingham Confidential Twitter feed and we'll let you know as soon as it's announced when Deliveroo will be delivering to you-hoo too.

You can order from Deliveroo on their official website 

Friday, 5 June 2015

Splendour Festival in Nottingham 2015 PREVIEW

The Specials

Summer is in the air, Splendour Festival is coming on July 18 and Nottingham's beautiful Wollaton Park will be hotting up with a scorcher of a line-up across three music stages, phew!

Headlining the all dayer will be the eagerly-anticipated legendary 2 Tone revivalists The Specials on the main stage along with special guests James who'll be playing their anthemic hits ‘Sit Down', ‘She’s A Star’ and ‘Laid' plus music from their 13th studio album La Petite Mort which was released last year to critical acclaim. And headlining the Confetti Stage will be none other than Bananarama, one of the most successful all female pop bands of all time with no less than an incredible 32 Top 40 UK hits, followed by Birmingham indie-rockers The Twang and Mansfield band Ferocious Dog.

Pop rockers Lawson will also be performing on the main stage along with MOBO award winner, vocalist and rapper Roots Manuva and Amber Run, who formed at Nottingham University and the whole festival will be kicked off by a performance by the winner of the Future Sound of Nottingham competition, Suspect Alibi.

Meanwhile, cheeky-chappie Brummie Andy Robinson will be compering the Funhouse Comedy stage which will showcase performances by D. Montfort, the Sunderland psychic creation of character comedian Tom Binns, musical comedy act Lost in Music, presenter Ellie Taylor of BBC3 dating show 'Song, Marry, Avoid', Aussie improviser John Robertson and musical comedy duo Jollyboat and there'll also be plenty of entertainment for children at the festival including fairground rides and a free kids area hosted by Big Top Mania, featuring circus skills workshops and shows, crazy inflatables, giant bubbles and Big Bear's Big Balloon Disco.

Splendour 2015 Line Up: 

MAIN STAGE                             
The Specials
Roots Manuva
Amber Run      
To Kill A King
NUSIC Competition Winner Suspect Alibi

The Twang      
Ferocious Dog
Iris Gold
The Swiines

Andy Robinson (Compere)
Ian D. Montfort
Christian Reilly
Ellie Taylor
John Robertson

Joy Mumford
Eyre Llew        
Jamie Lawson
Molly and Jack
Daudi Matsiko
Cedric Peters

Tickets for Splendour start at £20 for 11-17-year-olds and £34 for adults with a citycard. Children 10 and under go free. Available from

To get the latest line-up announcements and festival updates go to or like or follow @splendourfest.

Time Out Cafe Nottingham REVIEW

I have never tried Asian street food before but after visiting Time Out cafe, a brand, spanking lusciously new venture, I could happily eat it every day as I'm sure I've only skimmed the surface of all the delicious flavours and new food experiences it could offer me.

Located on the first floor at 14-16 Wheelergate, we were signposted to our destination by a board outside the unobtrusive entrance. We climbed the stairs to a large, spacious cafe. A bar at the front and tables, chairs and sofas scattered here and there giving an impression of a chilled out space where people can relax and have plenty of room to themselves. They even have a sofa in one corner where you can play on the Nintendo 64 or PS 3 with loads of games to choose from. We sat at the end of the room where there is a large, wall length window looking down on the street below (the best spot in the cafe).

My companion and I weren't sure what to order as there was so much choice and we were new to this experience. We had a selection from the tapas menu after some recommendations from the manager.

My companion had Vietnamese spring rolls whilst I had the veggie ones. Forget what you know about the spring rolls in Chinese restaurants, these were a revelation. So light and tasty. The Vietnamese ones contain minced prawn and my companion couldn't stop talking about how wonderful they were.

Next came the Korean BBQ burgers, 3 mini burgers in brioche buns. Confidentially, these were my favourite. In an establishment selling Asian food I would expect burgers to be the food that customers turn to when they're looking for something familiar. But no!!! These burger were full of flavour and spice, all going together but I have no idea what went into these. The meat was really juicy and tender, and the bread was fresh. But wow, the flavours were amazing. My companion also enjoyed these so much that she had two and I only had one, hmmmmm.

Then we had the Thai Grilled pork skewers. Nice tender pork and what really livened these up was the hot and tasty dipping sauce. Bit hard to dip a skewer once you've eaten the end of it, so I poured the sauce over mine. Lovely.

By the time the chicken Karaage arrived (deep fried chicken) I was quite full and only managed a couple of pieces. Tender pieces of chicken thigh with a crispy batter and a wonderful salty, hot dip. Again it was the dip that lifted this dish from the good to the fab.

The staff were all friendly and attentive and the food arrived in a reasonably amount of time. All the food was freshly cooked to order.

I would recommend this place whether you're on a budget or not. The tapas is great for sharing and also if you want a light lunch. I looked on with jealousy as some delicious looking main meals were being served and next time I go I'll try one of these. Still all affordable though as the tapas is around £5 a dish and the main meals are around £7.

The cafe stays open until 11pm Tuesday till Saturday, so don't just go for lunch go for dinner too.........and then maybe a late night snack.

I'm starting to feel hungry just thinking about Time Out Cafe.

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday 11.30am-11pm
Sunday 11.30am-5.30pm

Free wifi

First Floor
14-16 Wheelergate

Monday, 25 May 2015

Brenton Film: The Big Noise in Silent Film!

Silent films are big business worldwide! Yup, you heard right: silent films – no words, just pictures and music. The huge critical and commercial success of The Artist (2011) and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011) served to highlight the fact that not only are they experiencing a renaissance, in many ways they never really went away. However, even in 2015, no single website catered comprehensively to the needs of fans worldwide – until now. Building the world’s biggest and best silent film website has been the dream of local boy Brent Reid for years – now he’s well on his way. Here’s how and why he got started.

How did you first get into film; what’s your earliest film memory?

Like many I was fascinated by films on television from an early age I guess at that point I was mostly interested in fantasy, action and adventure-type stuff: wizards, war films, westerns and especially anything with monsters or dinosaurs in. Then as now, the name Ray Harryhausen (stop-motion animation wizard) in the credits was always a guarantee of quality!

I basically first became aware of film-watching as a special, theatrical experience when I was old enough to take myself, from the age of around 7 or 8 (!) to one of the surviving handful of ‘proper’ original cinemas that were still operating in the city centre back then. Sadly, the only one still remaining is the Savoy on Derby Road. Use it or lose it, people!

Why is silent film still relevant today?

They’re still entertaining – very much so. I’m on a mission to demonstrate to non-believers and the as-yet-uninitiated that they’re far from being just for film buffs and beard-stroking academics – and that’s just the women! The best silents, with a quality presentation, are every bit as potent and affecting to everyone, regardless of age and background, as they were first time around.

The influence of the silent era (1890s–1930s) is absolutely everywhere too. Modern filmmakers pay homage to it constantly; there’s barely a day goes by without me coming across yet another overt silents reference in a film, TV programme, computer game, music video or, especially, friends’ kids’ cartoons. Do you like WALL-E? he’s an amalgamation of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, two of the silver screen’s greatest-ever comedians, and the film itself is a quasi-silent one. Heard of Metropolis (1927)? If not, maybe you’ve heard of Star Wars, because that’s where C-3PO was born. So too was the dystopian vision of Gotham City in every Batman outing since 1989. (Speaking of which, Batman himself was based on silent film action hero Douglas Fairbanks, as was Superman!) How about Lord of the Rings? Yup: Metropolis is in there again. The list goes on and on. And on. That’s just one film – most people are already silent film fans and don’t even know it yet!

Additionally, much of the style and glamour of the silent era remain resolutely at the cutting edge of fashion and design and show no sign of ever fading.

One last crucial example of the silent era's ongoing relevance: incredibly, women in the film industry have never since enjoyed such wide-ranging power and autonomy as they did back then. They frequently rose to the top as some of the most highly-paid actors, directors and producers of the day. What's more, around 50% of all films made before 1925 were written by women; now it's around 10%. So much for progress... We seriously need to catch up again!

What first inspired you to start the website?

Easy: no-one else was doing it and I was fed up of waiting! I saw what was lacking online from the start and countless other silents fans I’ve met at screenings and film festivals, both at home and abroad, agreed it was a great idea. However, after unsuccessfully spending over a decade trying to cajole other, more tech-savvy folk to start such a site, it was clear that no-one actually wanted to take on such a huge task Eventually I took a deep breath and one year ago jumped into the heady world of social media to start heralding the site’s arrival, whilst simultaneously working on it. Finally, I just recently launched the site and got an immediate, great response. Tens of thousands of visitors already – and this is just the start!

How is Brenton Film different to other film sites?

That would require a whole article in itself, but fundamentally, I’m, trying to amalgamate and build on the existing global silent film community. Though in the real world it’s a thriving and healthy one, online it’s extremely fragmented, with a greatly diminished reach as a result. There are many smaller sites and blogs that do some parts of what I’m doing, but no single site is doing all of it. In addition to that, mine has several features that are unique, at least in the world of silent film. Chief amongst these is the Worldwide Events Calendar, the first of its kind I aim to get every relevant happening on there eventually. There are hundreds of them, on every continent, scheduled at any one time and it would be impossible for one person to keep track of them all. Therefore the calendar is a special interactive one that allows promoters and fans to upload dates themselves. I've got BuddyPress on there which is a sophisticated social networking facility. There are also features that people are more familiar with: chat forums, articles, news, reviews, prize giveaways, etc.

Brenton Film, including its calendar and forums, is built using WordPress so the entire site is completely integrated. Amongst other things this means that once you’ve signed in, using your own password or a social media account, you have the ability to create your own profile and post anywhere onsite, including leaving article comments, etc. I’m not claiming this to be unique but it must be a bit of a rarity, because I haven’t come across it anywhere else yet!

All of this is also promoted with targeted advertising and a large and very active social media presence, which are things that much of the silent film world in particular has been slow to adopt. I guess 'community' and 'interactivity' are my watchwords. I may have built the site but it really is intended for everyone to use and actively participate in.

How can people in Nottingham get involved?

Easy: use the site! Sign in, leave comments and post in the forums. If you know a lot about silents, share your knowledge; if you don’t know much yet, ask questions! Guest articles are always welcome: click here to contribute

Eventually I’d love to bring a proper silent screening – or even series of screenings – back to Nottingham. Somewhere a little out of the ordinary would be cool, like inside either Wollaton Hall or St Mary's in the Lace Market.

Any there any other Nottingham connections?

Well, Alma Reville, or Mrs Alfred Hitchcock, as she was otherwise known, was from St Ann’s! As any true Hitch fan will know, she was well-established in the film industry before they met. Afterwards, she continued to be instrumental in the filmmaking process and was almost as much a part of all his films, including his silent ones, as he was himself. There are many other luminaries of the early British film industry that were born and brought up in Nottingham, amongst them Jackeydawra Melford (her actual, real name!), Holmes Herbert, Billy Merson, Norman Page and Sebastian Smith.

You want more? The history of film exhibition in Nottingham is as old as film itself, with the first public screenings occurring from 1896 onwards, just a few months after the Lumière brothers débuted projected motion pictures in Paris. Far more recently, the British Silent Film Festival, one of the finest such events anywhere and my first real induction into this wonderful world, had its home at the Broadway cinema for a decade. Since sadly having to depart in 2009 it’s become a nomadic one; this year it’s being held in September at Leicester’s Phoenix Cinema. Make the trip: you'll meet lots of lovely folk, have your filmic horizons broadened inordinately and might just become addicted too!

What’s your favourite cinema in Nottingham?

Why, the Savoy Cinema, of course. The last remaining bastion of my childhood cinematic dreams, I absolutely love it there. I’ll even tell you my favourite seat: Screen 1, front row centre, right of the aisle – my happy place! Note that this grand old lady celebrates her 80th birthday this November; I’ll see you at the party!

Brenton Film: The past, present and future of silent film

Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Importance Of Being Earnest Starring David Suchet At Nottingham Theatre Royal REVIEW

It was another sensational theatrical coup for the city last night as Nottingham played host to the premiere of the breathlessly-anticipated delightfully delicious Agatha Christie/Oscar Wilde mash up of rapier wit, immortal quotables, cucumber sandwiches, muffins, cups of tea and Poirot cross-dressing as Lady Bracknell in the latest inspired version of The Importance of Being Earnest.

It's his first ever performance as a woman and David Suchet is one helluva lady. Gliding imperiously onto stage as the legendary ultimate Victorian matron-diva s/he cuts a truly unforgettable figure, with completely convincing deportment, delivery and demeanor that is every inch the iconic corseted Titaness, from her skirt-swooshing, high heel-revealing indomitable gait, to the burgundy-enclothed impressive bosom, right up to the indignantly-quivering feathers in her hat.

Accompanied by a cast of vivaciously-flirting bright young things including Emily Barber as a sparklingly-posh Gwendolen Fairfax, and the mighty firecracker of Michele Dotrice as Miss Prism, reduced to giggly girly gesticulations whenever in the presence of a charmingly-wooing Richard O'Callaghan as Reverend Canon Chasuble, the play, split by two intervals, gains magnificently in momentum culminating in a mesmerising third act of precisely balanced rhythm, pace and perfect enunciation.

An exquisitely set performance showcasing the chemistry and the humour of the English language at its very finest and top class upper-class entertainment that had the audience up on its feet wild with applause, you can catch this production right here first in Nottingham weeks before it hits London's West End and confidentially, we candidly recommend you get on it like Lady Bracknell's bonnet.

The Importance of Being Earnest is at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Sat 16th May 2015. Full details and ticket prices can be found on the Theatre Royal website here

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


Benedict Cumberbatch at Sherlocked © Sandra Franklin

Sherlock teaches us many things, and being a fan of the latest BBC incarnation certainly teaches us patience. Over a year ago, we were tantalised with the promise of an official 'Sherlocked' convention, and I must admit I was beginning to suspect it would never happen, but a couple of months ago, the announcement we had all been waiting for was made, the game was on! A bewildering array of differently priced packages were launched in a wild flurry of internet bookings and website crashes, but I was in, I had my ticket.

The timing of the event attracted criticism, short notice for overseas fans and a very unfortunate clash with the London Marathon, meant that many hotels were already full and those rooms left were horribly expensive. I can only imagine that it really isn't easy to get the likes of Bendedict Cumberbatch, Mark Gatiss, Andrew Scott et al all in the same place at the same time, but I understand the frustration that was vented by many who couldn't attend.

Friday 24 April finally arrived. I boarded the train, full of excitement and anticipation, dragging a case brimming with photography equipment and cosplay and destined for the ExCel centre in London, my home for the weekend. Friday was registration day and the chance of a sneak preview of the displays and stands. The queues were well managed by cheerful event crew and it didn't take long to collect my pass, find some friends, and head into the exhibition area. The London theme was certainly evident, a full size London bus, black cab, red post box, army tank and front door of 221B Baker Street had all been transported into the hall, like a fleet of impossible ships in a bottle. Nestled between them was the BBC shop, traders stands and a Sherlock museum corner displaying props and costumes from the recent episodes.

Friday night was the first of the party nights and sadly the biggest disappointment of the weekend. With the promise of 'Two themed party rooms a night, overlooking the Thames with the London skyline in the background', I donned my PVC, tucked my riding crop under my arm and headed off for the Irene Adler's Boudoir/The Underground themed event. What greeted me looked like a 1980s wedding reception, a sad, tired conference room,  no theming at all, curious brown balloons tied to tables, a cheesy DJ in the corner and lots of confused looking attendees. There wasn't even a view as the blinds had been well and truly drawn. After 10 minutes or so, many of us left and headed back to our hotels wondering how the entertainment had gone so wrong. Saturday was apparently the same, with a lonely soul posting a picture of an empty room on Facebook, with a caption of 'Where is everyone?'

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss at Sherlocked  © Sandra Franklin 

Despite the disappointment of the previous evening, I sprang out of my hotel bed on Saturday morning, excited to discover what adventures lay ahead. I assembled my Hound of the Baskervilles costume, my Femlock friend grabbed my lead, and off we bounded back to ExCel. The clash with the London Marathon led to some curious glances and one lady asking me 'are you going to run the whole way like that?'

Each day was a bit of a balancing act with talks taking place on two different stages, six photo-shoot sessions running simultaneously and guests signing autographs in between. Everything was tightly managed by ticket type and group, those who'd paid a whopping £3,000 getting priority. Most of the event crew coped admirably with the masses of people with masses of questions and provided excellent assistance to those with disabilities. Waves and waves of excited fans filled the massive ExCel hall with the sound of accents from across the world and the almost subliminal loop of the Sherlock theme tune.

Our very first stop was a photo shoot with Jonathan Aris, who couldn't be more different than the unloveable Anderson he portrays in Sherlock. Jonathan was charming and dashing, enthusiastically greeted us and seemed very laid back amongst all the hustle. One of the things I love about conventions is the chance to meet the supporting actors that never normally receive much attention and I came away with a new admiration for all of the cast who took part in Sherlocked.
Next came the biggie, my photograph with Benedict. Looking chiseled and immaculate, he politely greeted each guest, complying with requests for pointing poses, holding stuffed toys and lightly placing his arm around fans' shoulders. Suddenly it was my turn, Benedict held my lead, looked quizzical for the camera, and in a literal flash it was over.

We bounced along from shoot to shoot, signing to signing meeting Una Stubbs, Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue, Rupert Graves, Andrew Scott, Clive Mantle, Lars Mikkelsen, Lara Pulver, Louise Brealey, Elizabeth Coyle, Louise Breckon-Richards and Arwel Jones, all of whom were a joy to meet and took time to say hello and admire the multitude of costumes worn by cosplayers. I say admire, but Moffat just looked at me and exclaimed 'why?'.

The talks were divided over two stages, the main stage impressively decorated as Sherlock's living room, it really was one of the best looking sets I've seen at any convention panel talks. The second stage hosted the lower key talks, which were still well worth attending, if you happened to have a handy time-turner or TARDIS with you. Moffat and Gatiss kicked off the panel sessions together, appearing very relaxed and comfortable in each other's company. Moffat throwing back his head in laughter as Gatiss entertained the crowd with Americanisms straight from a TV chat show, 'I've done this little show called Doctor Who, pause for applause'. Benedict's panel, although more reserved by comparison, was captivating, despite Benedict fighting a cold. He talked of how normal it seemed to be there with us all, but that he would never get used to being spotted whilst shopping, mentioned his excitement at soon becoming a father and was bemused at the thunderous applause for having got married. He fielded the crowd's questions well, throwing in a Chewie impression and using his Smaug voice to announce he was not a performing monkey. The odd naughty word slipped out, but who could possibly not forgive him.

Andrew Scott followed Benedict's session, very different, but utterly brilliant. Andrew is cheeky and delightful where Benedict is polished and polite, but both fantastic viewing. Watching Andrew on stage, it is hard to imagine just how he transforms into the chilling menace that is Moriarty. Warm and funny, he won everyone's hearts by talking about how fabulous he thought fans of the show are, to much applause. But in true Jim style, he left us with an instruction not to get nervous or worried about anything, we'd all be dead soon so it didn't matter.

Andrew Scott at Sherlocked © Sandra Franklin
I must admit to feeling an involuntary chill in the presence of Lars Mikkelsen, almost waiting for Magnussen to spring to life, but his relaxed air was an excellent balance to Rupert Graves' exuberant naughtiness as they took to the stage together. Saturday ended with a big screen showing of A Scandal in Belgravia, introduced on stage by Benedict. One last glimpse of our favourite consulting detective before he disappeared for the weekend.

Despite the lack of Benedict, Sunday was probably the highlight for me. There were noticeably fewer attendees which made it much easier to move around and not to mention cooler, which certainly went down well with this hound in a corset! We started the day with Jonathan again, now feeling like old friends, just time to grab an autograph from him before he kicked off the main stage sessions with Rupert. They were followed by Andrew and Mark, which I felt was the jewel in the crown on the whole event. Irreverent, wicked and razor sharp, they really should have their own late night chat show. Topics hurtled from scripts and filming, to gay marriage and integration. We learnt that they ARE both beach body ready, even if it is Morecombe in the winter and that yes, Mark does shave for Sherlock, but he's not telling you where. It was the session I hoped would never end and I have bruises from where my corset fought with my laughter-racked body.

As a seasoned convention goer, it was a delight to see the second stage reduced to standing room only for the cosplay parade. My hound scuttled along with Femlocks, Watsons, Irenes and Moriartys abound. The grand prize went to a very worthy Mary, every inch of her costume stitched, dyed and beaded by hand.

All too soon, the end neared. Just time for one last photo shoot, with the awe inspiring Mark Gatiss, who I think we had all well and truly fallen for over the weekend. Greeted with a 'hello again puppy', he grasped me firmly by the lead and generated the picture that still has me laughing days later.
I staggered to the tube with a grin on my face, fighting my way through spent runners who had completed the marathon that afternoon. Yes I was exhausted, yes it was expensive, yes there was lots and lots of queuing but this is all par for the course in the world of fandom. Apparently there were nearly 7,000 of us there over the weekend, but what was really special was that I have never heard so many people say it was their first ever convention. Not only that, they had flown from Japan, Germany, Poland, Chile, America and Australia to worship at the doorstep of 221B Baker Street. So Sherlock definitely does teach us patience as we wait for episodes, wait in queues, wait for the next titbit, but it also teaches us the value of newly forged friendships, comfortable shoes and that sometimes, just sometimes, a bit of magic can leak out of that TV screen.


You can find more photos of the Sherlocked event in glorious technicolor on the official Sandra Franklin Photography page here  All photos property and copyright of Sandra Franklin Photography.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Morrissey At Nottingham Capital FM Arena REVIEW

By Friday, life has killed me, but by Friday night King Quiff of Quips's all conquering opening UK tour gig at a meat-free-for-the-night Nottingham Capital FM Arena dripping with still-got-it honey-voiced musical heartbreakers had kissed me a helluva lot better.

Since The Smiths changed the world in the 80s, the world has changed and Morrissey has and hasn't. With a show that kicked off with a decidedly old school retro half hour compilation of familiar film clip faves including the New York Dolls, Charles Azvanour and hearty Northern gags, a still maturely devilishly handsome Morrissey and band appeared on stage, performed an endearing bowing ceremony and launched into a knockout gloriously technicolour goldened oldie The Queen is Dead complete with royal one finger salute to a suitably manic uproarious reception followed by an equally rousing wowzer version of Suedehead.

Plundering that almighty back catalogue arsenal with songs from the recent heavenly World Peace is None of Your Business interspersed with thrillingly chills-down-the-spine Smiths classics What She Said and Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before, the real jaw-dropper show-stopper was the extraordinary ear-splitting agony-amplified Meat Is Murder, accompanied by a harrowing animal activist film, delivering an intense throwback impact to those of us who remember it the first time round.

With references to local hero Arthur Seaton and a waggish attack on the Brit Awards "Do you think it perfectly represents British music? So why does the damn thing exist?" the standing mosh pit near the stage gained increasingly frenzied mangled rush and crush momentum throughout the gig with several fans being pulled out of the crowd but who managed to clasp Morrissey's hand to cheers from the arena before an undignified carry-out exit. But returning for a Speedway/ Irish Blood, English Heart mash-up encore, Morrissey ended with that indefatigable fabulous flourish that never gets old, ripping off his shirt, baring that always magnificent chest and flinging his shirt into the outstretched arms of the audience.

Still packing a voice that stays profoundly and emotively relevant to every generation, still packing arenas worldwide with an army who will throw their arms around him, still disarmingly charming the pants off everyone, nothing's changed, we still love you, Morrissey Forever x

Monday, 23 February 2015

Jared's Restaurant At The Old Angel REVIEW

Saturday afternoons in the city are great, but once all of the shopping and socialising takes its toll, nothing beats a good old pub lunch. Except maybe, a good old pub lunch from Jared's at The Old Angel on Stoney Street, in the well known arts-oriented Lace Market area.

With a passion for good food, Samuel – the dedicated chef behind the enterprise – says that having worked in various levels of catering, there's no reason why a traditional pub lunch can't be done to the same standard. Sam creates all of his ingredients from scratch – even down to baking the bread for the burger buns himself. His meat is locally sourced from the Victoria Centre market, and so is the veg. The burger we had was made in front of me from ground mince with seasoning. No filler or processed junk here!

The menu is focused on the staple pub meals, from Burger, to Roast Dinner, to snacks such as sandwiches and chips – and all a great price. The meal we had was the Angus Burger with chips, for £6.50, which is the same ball park that the larger pubs charge for a pre-prepared/frozen burger cooked hastily with possibly with the use of a microwave. None of that here though, our meals were fresh and cooked to order.

The meals were substantial enough that they left us filled for the evening, without that heavy feeling one sometimes gets after a pub lunch. The meat was cooked with great attention to detail, not too overdone, and the chips likewise. We also tried the Sloppy Joe burger, and the beef chilli was rich in flavour and spices without being overpowering, or having too much of a kick. As burger lovers, these definitely rate with some of the best burgers we've eaten – and for that price range we'd say the best we've had.

If you want a high quality, fresh, locally-sourced pub lunch then I recommend Jared's at The Old
Angel. The food itself is great, but it also showcases local independent talent and what can happen when someone with an honest love of their craft meets with a great idea – and manages to hit the nail
on the head.

Davey Rocks

Jared's at The Old Angel is at 7 Stoney Street, Nottingham, NG1 1LG. Full details about Jared's including opening times can be found on The Old Angel website here

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


Photo by Marcel van Hoorn

The musically undisputed and crowned 'King of Waltz' André Rieu will be performing at Nottingham's Capital FM Arena on December 10th. Wowing audiences into sing and dance-along participation since 1987 with his Johann Strauss Orchestra with up to 60 musicians and with album sales of more than 40 million worldwide, he talks about his new album, romance and falling in love with his first violin teacher.

You will be returning to the UK in December for the fourth time. What can audiences expect from your new show?

We are going to play a completely new program with new music.  Preparing a new show, choosing a new program is a great joy for me. The tour is called “Love in Venice” like the new album and we will try to bring the beauty, passion and warmth of Italy to the UK. So we will play some well-known melodies from Italy but also waltzes, music from film, opera and operetta. The Berlin Comedian Harmonists will join us with English songs and we have lots of international soloists from all over the world! The evening will end again with a big party. I hope you will come, dance, sing and clap along with us.

In your concerts, people are known to get up and dance or sing along with you. How would you explain this passion?

I think it’s a mix. Every night, we play with our hearts and I choose the program very carefully. A song has to touch my heart and then I know it will touch yours, too. When I am on stage I try to communicate with the audience and to involve them. I make jokes, I invite them to dance. I see myself not only as a violinist, but also as a conductor and entertainer. Classical music is so beautiful and can be so entertaining. And of course my orchestra is so joyful. We laugh a lot. They wear beautiful dresses. And it’s true, yes, the atmosphere is completely different from a typical “stiff” classical concert.

Do you have any favourite cities in the UK to play?

That’s such a difficult question! It’s like asking which one of your children is your favourite. I travel a lot around the world, but unfortunately the only places that I see are the airport, the hotel and the hall where we play. I rarely have time to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere because I keep to a very strict routine on days of performances. So I experience a city through its audience -  and all of the UK audience is fantastic. That’s why we play twelve concerts this year. We just wouldn't know which city to miss. It’s wonderful to return.

What makes the British audiences special?

The British audience is very special because they have their heart open right from the start. They are “there”. It’s fantastic for any artist to play in the UK. In Japan they sit very quiet and polite and listen and then during the encores they explode.  But in the UK I can feel the energy from the audience the moment I step out on stage.

How do you spend your time when you are not on the road?

I work a lot. I practice the violin several hours every day, I rehearse with the orchestra, prepare the next album, that means I'm always looking for new repertoire, I compose together with Frank Steijns, I work a lot in the studio, assisting to the editing of TV specials and DVDs. And beside all these musical things I'm an entrepreneur so there is always a lot to do in business too. In my free time I do a lot of sports, I cook and of course love to spend time with my family.

Your new album, “Love in Venice” is a collection of the most beautiful and romantic Italian music, like O sole mio, Mama, Volare, That’s Amore and many more. Next year you will be married for 40 years. What was the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for your wife?

My wife is the most important person in my life. Without her I would be in the gutter. I was deeply touched when she wrote my biography some years ago, “My music, my life”. I gave her a necklace with a little golden book as a gift in which both our names are engraved. She thought that was VERY romantic! And during the summer we love to sit at the Maas river together and watch a pair of swans that lives there.

Have you every composed a song for her?

There are three songs on “Love in Venice” that are all dedicated to this beautiful city: Bella Tarantella, La Gondola and Love in Venice, the title song, which I wrote for her, yes. We both adore Italy and go there once a year on a private vacation. It’s the most romantic place I know.

Your nickname is “The King of the Waltz”…

…haha, yes! Although there’s only ONE true King of the waltz and that is Johann Strauss.

But where did the waltz come from and how come it is so special?

I am not a musicologist, but here’s the story in short: The waltz got famous in the second half of the 19th century and came from the minuet. The minuet was danced far from each other, very distanced – so when the waltz came up it was shocking. To hold a woman in your arms and turning her around so that she would get out of breath was a scandal. Fortunately for England, Queen Victoria loved to
waltz, she could go on and on. The Strauss family were the pop stars of their time.

Why did you choose the waltz as your signature  tune?

My father was a conductor and we always used to go and see his concerts. One night, after playing Beethoven and Mahler, he conducted “By the Beautiful Blue Danube” as an encore. It was magical. I saw people smiling the whole atmosphere changed. I realized how powerful this music is. In a good waltz you always find joy and melancholy, love and sadness. It’s a mirror of life – and I see that every night before me, when the audience gets up and dance.

…and you play a Stradivarius, correct?

Yes, it’s a Stradivarius from 1732 and was built in Italy. It is one of the last instruments Stradivarius himself built. I used to play one from 1667, which was one of his first, but it was too small for me, so I gave it to a young girl from Korea. His instruments vary in size, the earlier ones are smaller than the later ones. I love this instrument; it reminds me of the opera singer Maria Callas – very warm and passionate.

What kind of music do you listen to in your free time?

Ohh, I would love to surprise you, but, alas, like many musicians I am so much surrounded by music every day that I do not listen to music in my free time. Unless I am prepare a new album. So I spent a lot of time listening to Italian music recently to choose pieces for “Love in Venice”.

Could you name one or two major influences in your life, and why were they important?

That’s easy! The most important influence is my wife. We've been married for 39 years now.  I always dreamed about finding someone I could share my private and business life with. When I was young, she introduced me to a lot of wonderful music – operetta, pop music, musicals, music from the twenties and thirties, which we both adore. I was not familiar with that kind of music. As a child all I ever heard at home was Bach, Bartok, Beethoven – which was great, of course but Marjorie opened a whole new world for me. The other major influence was my first violin teacher. A blond beautiful 18-year old girl. I was five years old and immediately fell in love with her. So I practiced a lot to impress her!

You've said you would like to perform someday at the North Pole, and on the moon - what are some of the other things you have on your Bucket List, both professionally and personally?

Haha, yes, but I think my wife would stop me from doing that! She keeps my feet on the ground. Honestly, I’d just be happy to be able to go on like this for as long as possible. I hope live up to 120 years. Personally I want my family, my sons and grandchildren to be happy.

André Rieu will be at Capital FM Arena Nottingham on Wednesday 10 December 2014. For tickets or more information visit or call 0843 373 3000.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Top Hat At Nottingham Theatre Royal REVIEW

With a hat-trick of shiny Olivier Awards in its bedazzling mitts, this first-ever stage adaptation of RKO's motion picture Top Hat swept, tapped and sashayed into town dripping elegance and ravishing gorgeousness in its glittering path.

Starring, in true musical theatre tradition, understudy-turned-leading-man Alan Burkitt who not only had to step in at the last minute on the original West End Top Hat opening night but also has to follow in the lighter-than-air iconic debonair winged footsteps of Fred Astaire (no pressure) he proves to be no less than a long, lithe, leggy and lean gliding tap-dancing MACHINE with smooth as satin moves sublimely mixed with energy and grace. And with Charlotte Gooch as his splits-kicking glitzy feathered Ginger Rogers this dream-team power dance couple hit their fabulousness zenith in the exquisite Cheek to Cheek, together swooningly oozing swish swirling swelegance all over the dancefloor and confidentially, we're in heaven.

With a sizzling screwball 1930s plot peppered with one-liners, gags and comic turns by a terrific supporting cast together with a stageful of million dollar troupers dancing to divine Irving Berlin classics, lavish and lush, it's a sumptuous musical, genuinely funny and gloriously glamorous.

Dressed up to the nines, tens and elevens, top class, top notch and top dollar, confidentially we recommend you trip lightly and fantastically (or backwards and in high heels) to Nottingham Theatre Royal to catch this show. Super duper.

Top Hat is at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 15 November 2014. Full details, show times and ticket prices can be found on the Theatre Royal website here

Friday, 15 August 2014

Get Up And Go Guide To Nottingham

Photo courtesy of Travelodge

Welcome to the City of Nottingham! In association with Travelodge let us confidentially reveal to you our top favourite Nottingham haunts, fabulous secrets and absolute must-sees for your perfect Nottingham day.

First, fuel up for your busy day with the best slap-up fry-up in town at the breakfastalicious Brown Betty’s on St James’s Street, just a close couple of streets away if you book your stay at the Travelodge on Maid Marian Way in the heart of the city centre.

Now you’re all set up to get down to the serious business of shopping! For under-one-roof chain stores including our massive flagship Boots shop plus an indoor market try Victoria Centre, the lovely shops in The Exchange located inside the Council House in the Old Market Square or the beautiful Bridlesmith Gate which leads up to Nottingham designer Paul Smith’s flagship Byard Lane store. For independents, try the extraordinary Ice Nine in the arty area of Hockley for gorgeously-unusual sterling silver jewellery and fun trinkets. For vintage music fans, the second hand vinyl treasure-trove Rob’s Record Mart in Hurt’s Yard is a must.

Lunchtime already and step briefly out of Nottingham and into the enchanting wonderland of The White Rabbit Teahouse on Hound’s Gate. With daintily-beautiful mismatched china teapots and teacups, confidentially, our favourite treat is the adorably-indulgent afternoon tea, tiered with sandwiches, jam and cream scones and mini cupcakes. Or try lunch with scenic views of the city in the café at Nottingham Castle, for a small entrance fee you can visit the castle’s museum, art gallery and beautiful grounds.

Ready to get scared? Check out the spookily-fascinating Galleries Of Justice Museum, pre-booking is advised, as at the mysterious City of Caves. If you’re staying at the Wollaton Travelodge you’re right on the doorstep for free entry to the glorious Wollaton Hall which starred as Wayne Manor in Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, read the exciting story of how it all happened here

Dinner time already and you’d better be hungry for the awesome Annie’s Burger Shack! Located in Nottingham’s beautiful Lace Market area, these epic mouth-watering burgers are the most popular in town, so make sure you book well in advance! Follow up with drinks at legendary ‘England’s Oldest Inn’ Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem or if cocktails are your cup of tea, follow our confidential clues to the superb secret speakeasy Boilermaker bar.

Night time and let us entertain you with top class theatre and shows at the Royal Centre. Capital FM Arena is within easy walking distance of the city centre where you can catch entertainment’s biggest names or head next door to the National Ice Centre where you can skate in the footsteps of Nottingham Olympians Torvill and Dean. Fancy a dance? Try the famous ‘sticky floor’ at Rock City or end up all the way back in St James’s Street at the Cookie Club where Nottingham’s singing-songwriting superstar Jake Bugg has been seen hanging out.

Finally, here are Five FREE Things To Do for that genuine Nottingham experience:

1. Strike a bow and arrow/raised arm clap pose at the Robin Hood/Brian Clough statue
2. Engage someone with the traditional Nottingham greeting ‘Aye Up Me Duck’
3. Skip (carefully!) through the fountains in the Old Market Square and watch the trams go by whilst the Little John bell chimes in the Council House.
4. Visit the plaque of Nottingham’s most loved busker Xylophone Man who couldn’t actually really play the xylophone at all.
5. Never, never, never refer to football club Nottingham Forest as ‘Notts Forest’.

Have a fantastic time in our City! From Nottingham Confidential with love x

You can check out our full Get Up And Go Guide to Nottingham together with full details of all Nottingham and natioanl Travelodge hotels on their official website here