Archive | March, 2011

A taste of Brazil in Camden Town: Spiritual Caipirinha

31 Mar

Tucked away on a side street in the bustling, strutting heart of Camden Town, Spiritual Caipirinha is a gem of a restaurant- bar, known to few. The tiny venue is intimate and trendy, squeezing in a few tables in front of a bar that boasts a bottle collection and cocktail list worthy of the Brazilian cocktail the place is named after. Our fifteen-seater table for the occasion filled most of the restaurant and proved quite an obstacle once the bar got busy, with chatty Latinos and trendy North Londoners squeezing round us to get through. Continue reading

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Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape at the Tate Modern

26 Mar

The famous Catalan Surrealist artist, Joan Miró i Ferrà, 1893-1983, lived through and documented some of the most significant events of the twentieth century.

Aidez l'Espagne, 1937

He was born in Barcelona and, after training as an artist there, he frequently travelled to Paris and became a key figure in the Surrealist movement. Miró remained in France with his young family during the Spanish Civil War and expressed his protests explicitly in the aptly named Aidez l’Espagne and Le Faucheur, 1937. He returned to Spain in 1940 after the Nazi invasion, and experienced a kind of internal exile under Franco, working in secret at home but gaining fame abroad for his post-war artistry. His response to the Second World War is more disguised in the Constellation paintings of 1940-1941, criticising fascist aggression while living under the dictatorship of Hitler and Mussolini’s ally.

Constellation: The Morning Star, 1940

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London’s burning: Flames of Desire from Tango Fire

19 Mar

For those who haven’t visited Buenos Aires’ famous dance halls nor seen the likes of Vincent Simone or Flavia Cacace strut their staff on the dance floor in Strictly Come Dancing, tango might seem a stompy, stroppy dance characteristic of a military march.

But when Tango Fire, hailed as Argentina’s hottest dance company, brings their new show Flames of Desire to London in April, you’re promised a taste of the energy and passion for which the Argentine tango is famous.

Described by the Evening Standard as “each duet a mini drama, sexual electricity at the twitch of a hip”, Flames of Desire will showcase the speediest kicks, hooks (known as ganchos) and flicks in the business. As implied by its name, Flames of Desire will show how far removed the twirling moves of the Argentine tango are from the rigidity of its predecessor. Continue reading

Serving up some Mexican spirit: Eric Partaker, co-founder of Chilango

7 Mar

Eric Partaker, 35, seems like one of those people that just takes everything in their stride. Half-American, half-Norwegian, it was during his childhood in Chicago that Partaker became hooked on Mexican cuisine. When he came to work in London in 2004 and met a like-minded colleague in the form of Dan Houghton it was almost like fate. Three years later the duo had travelled round Mexico and the USA, and carried out enough research to leave their desk jobs and set up Mucho Más.

Eric Partaker (L) with his Chilango co-founder, Dan Houghton (R)

“I suppose it might seem daring but that depends on how you perceive the risk,” reasons Partaker. “Even if it screwed up I knew we’d have something else to do. I just thought gees; it wouldn’t be the end of the world.” Continue reading

Fernando Alonso to the rescue over Spanish speed limits

5 Mar

It makes you wonder whether Zapatero saw this coming. As Prime Minister it mustn’t be fun when any of your proposals are met with widespread rejection by the public, but when one of Spain’s national heroes, in the form of Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, comes forward to join the dissenting throng, you must know you’ve got something wrong.

National treasure: F1 driver Fernando Alonso

In the wake of unrest in the Middle East causing oil prices to soar, Zapatero’s PSOE announced last week that they will lower the speed limit on Spain’s motorways to help save energy. From Monday 7 March the limit on Spanish motorways will no longer stand at 74.5mph, or 120kph, but 68mph, or 110kph. A recent survey by the AA revealed that 59% of UK drivers asked would slow down to save fuel. Amusingly, the AA advised that driving at 80mph uses a quarter more fuel than driving at 70mph, as well as being illegal. Continue reading