Friday, 25 September 2015

London A to Z: My favorite things in London in Alphabetical order

A is for Angel
I used to work in Angel, or The Angel, or Angel Islington (even though there's no other area of London called Angel). I worked at Borders bookstore for 18 months before it went bankrupt and closed on Christmas Eve. So, I've spent a lot of time in the area. There are a lot of good bars and pubs around Angel:

The Lexington - American style food, beer and whiskey. A pub quiz every Monday, but make sure you go when my friends aren't playing cuz they win...a lot. Gigs and club nights upstairs.

The Mucky Pub - A cozy little pub on a back street. Great jukebox. Weekly pub quizzes and DJs. A pool table out the back. Great selection of real ale.

The King's Head - Theatre pub on Upper Street. It has a small theatre up stairs that puts on plays. There's live music downstairs sometimes. Great place for one last drink is you're out and about in Angel.

Slim Jim's - American style bar with a great selection of cocktails, music and bras hanging from the
ceiling. Right next to the King's Head.

There's also an amzing amout of restaurants in Angel, basically from Angel station all the way along Upper Street to Highbury/Islington station there are restaurants of every type; from greasy cafes to fancy French bistros.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Londontelly - Spaced

The cast of Spaced
Obviously, a lot of TV shows are filmed in London too. From Sherlock Holmes to Doctor Who...every genre of television has used London as its inspiration and backdrop.
My favorite TV show set in London is the comedy Spaced. It written by Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson and directed by Edgar Wright, who went on to big screen fame with Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End...(my personal favorite of his is Scott Pilgrim Vs The World).
I will live here some day
Spaced is about two strangers, Tim and Daisy, who pretend to be a couple to get a flat in North London. The house is Spaced is located in Tuffnell Park, I used to live around the corner from it and visit it when I had a bad day. Their landlady is hard drinking, chain smoking Marsha, who's daughter Amber we never actually see, we just hear her coming and going. In the basement lives eccentric artist Brian. Tim's best friend Mike, Simon Pegg's real life best friend Nick Frost, and Daisy's best friend Twist fill out the cast...and then Colin the dog joins later.
Spaced should be required viewing for anyone moving to London. It is chock full of pop culture references and one episode was the inspiration for Shaun of the Dead. It is a surreal mish mash of music, television, film and comic book references and then a bit of real life. And that's what makes it a classic, not the references...which are amazing by the way...but that we could still relate to what they were going through. Unemployment, break ups, make ups, job hunting, ex-partners, parties, nights out in Camden, raves, losing your dog, fighting with friends, falling in love, pubs, Star Wars & zombies...basically, life in London.
Skip To The End making of Spaced documentary

Monday, 21 September 2015

Londonmusica - Songs About London

Parklife by Blur released 22 August 1994
Along with the movie blogs on Londonphilia I will be posting weekly videos about London. With Blur being my favorite band, of course I had to start with one of their many songs about London. The songs was inspired by Hyde Park as Damon said at Blur's 2009 Hyde Park show; "I came up with the idea for this song in this park. I was living on Kensington Church Street, and I used to come into the park at the other end, and I used to, you know, watch people, and pigeons...", enter Phil Daniels.
The video was directed by Pedro Romhanyi and filmed on the Greenwich Peninsula.
It won Best British Single and Best Video at the 1995 Brit Awards.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Londonfilmia - About A Boy

Choosing the first film to write about for the Londonphilia website was really hard. I didn't want to pick anything too mainstream and what you'd expect. On the other hand I didn't want to be too obscure. Also, I'm a horror movie fan and didn't want to scare you away by writing about one of them...might save the horror movies for October.
I decided on "About A Boy" because not only is it a great movie, it's also a great book by Nick Hornby. It's one of those movies that you always watch when you come across it on t.v. Ironically, it was directed by a pair of American brothers, Paul and Chris Weitz, at the time more famous for the "American Pie" movie.
It's a great London film because it's not overly in your face London. Most of it was filmed in North London...Regent's Park, Clerkenwell and Kentish Town and a bit in Notting Hill and Waterloo.
This is the movie where Hugh Grant stopped playing the floppy haired bumbling Brit and started playing the short haired kind of a jerk Brit. Also the boy, Marcus, was played by a very young Nicholas Hoult...who has grown into a very attractive man.
Another reason it's a great London film is because it perfectly sums up life in London. How your 'family' and friends are not always the people you expect or want but they are usually the people you need.
It also has a brilliant soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Londonfilmia - London in film

London is one of the most filmed cities in the world. Every genre of film has been set and or filmed in
London. It has been the back drop for James Bond films, Disney films, Alfred Hitchcock films, Charles Dickens adaptations, Sherlock Holmes films...the list goes on and on. Each week I will be writing about one of those films. Some of these movies will be very well known; "Shakepeare in Love", "Love, Actually", "An American Werewolf in London", "101 Dalmations (animated and live action)...etc. Others will be less well known..."Creep", "Peeping Tom", "Absolute Beginners", "This Year's Love"...etc.