New Look For The Photographer's Gallery, London

Falun Gong Silent Protest On Portland Place, London, Opposite The Chinese Embassy

London Jubilee Fever

"The Ocean Gives You Life, Doesn't It?"

So I was in my current favourite coffee shop this morning, working on my latest book and a woman who worked in the coffee shop was talking behind me with a guy having a snack and a coffee. The conversation was about how she went swimming at the weekend, taking advantage of the great weather. The water was cold, but she'd loved being in the sea. And he ended up saying something about how he used to live in California and he didn't get it "how people used to just sit on the beach staring at the sea, not even swimming in it or surfing". The woman who worked in the coffee shop said, "Well the ocean gives you life, doesn't it?" I sense it went right over his head, but my god, what she said has stayed with me all day. What a beautiful thing to say/ think. Once home later on, I dug out some recent photos of the Indian Ocean that I took on my iPhone while in India. Here are a few of my favourites. It was early evening and I wasn't swimming or surfing. I was just staring out to sea...

The Concert = Good movie esp Melanie Laurent's hair raising sobbing at the end

Dinner With Rico Mexican Kitchen Salsas

Currently Reading (And Loving): Valeria Luiselli: Faces In The Crowd

Rico Mexican Kitchen via Whole Foods Market Piccadilly

The new Whole Foods Market opened on Glasshouse Street, in Central London, this week and I went on the day of the opening, to check it out. Living in Paddington, I often make the trip across Hyde Park on weekends to stock up on things at Whole Foods Market Kensington (and usually, while I'm there I treat myself to a quesadilla at the Mexican place). Just as often, I was going to the Whole Foods on Brewer Street aka the old Fresh & Wild. So I was pretty excited that Soho was going to get a store as big or bigger than WF Kensington. When I went to try out the new WF Piccadilly, I stumbled across some enticing salsas in the refrigerated section by a company I'd never heard of called Rico Mexican Kitchen. There was a nice little blurb about the company's Mexican founder, Marcela, on a Whole Foods shelf tag, which persuaded me to try out their Salsa Verde

An hour plus later, at home, I popped the lid just to try a taste as a pre-dinner snack with some toasted strips of Vogel's Soya and Linseed bread and was blown away by how delicious the salsa was. My wife tried too and loved it and next thing you know, we'd eaten the whole pot (and being from Los Angeles and a real connoisseur of Mexican food, trust me my wife is not easy to please when it comes to eating Mexican food or products in London).
Next time I go to Whole Foods Piccadilly (probably tomorrow), I'm going to buy one of each of Rico Mexican Kitchen's salsas - if they're anything like as great as the salsa verde, then I'm super excited by this new discovery - thanks Whole Foods Market, for the matchmaking.

Sun Streaked Coffee at Fernandez & Wells, Beak Street, London

Several consecutive days of sunshine in London after THAT long miserable Bergman movie kind of weather, combined with a wowee Latte and some water flavoured with cucumber (brilliant: going to do this at home tonight) at Fernandez & Wells, Beak Street, London - what else do you need to tinsel up a Thursday morning?

This was my second trip there this week: I'd been in there on Tuesday afternoon, too, with my daughter, who did her homework sitting in the window.
She loves taking iPhone snaps. Here  are some of her pics taken from inside Fernandez & Wells once her Maths homework was nailed

La Maison Rose, Pondicherry, on cover of The World Of Interiors

Want To See This Movie

Adam Thirlwell Talking About Kapow!

Controlled Decay by Gabriela Jauregui = Just Arrived In The Mail

Lately By Memoryhouse

Little Film About Memoryhouse

Kids' Petting Zoo, Coram's Fields, London

Melanie Laurent's The Adopted = Quietly Touching Movie

Melanie Laurent's loose, shuffling directorial debut is a quietly touching movie. I was curious to see it after her mesmerising performances in Inglorious Basterds and The Round Up. I'd also heard some of her music (she recently released an album - she's clearly a creative powerhouse) and thought it would be interesting to see her play a musician in this film.
Apparently she didn't intend to star in her directorial debut, but after her dream choice - Natalie Portman - wasn't available, she decided to step in herself. It was a good move - since Laurent seemingly had no problems directing herself.
So what's the movie about? The Adopted is the story of two sisters (one was adopted by the other's family after she lost her parents), whose relationship is called into question when one of them woos a man who comes into her bookstore by sending him away with a Raymond Carver book. (Incidentally, I loved this, since I wooed my wife to be, back in the day, also using - amongst other things - a Raymond Carver book).

Apparently the plot is mostly fictional. Laurent says the movie has no relationship to her own life. Though she has said that there is a bit of her in every character.
There are some lovely bits of writing in the movie, in particular Laurent's voiceover at the start, when her character talks about what kind of child she was and how she wanted to be "champion of everything".
Laurent's character, a single mother in the movie, has an adorable son, Leo, who is arguably the star of the film, with his doe eyed expressions and authentically child-like questions about life. There's a lovely scene where Laurent's character and her son mess about with some chocolate - scenes like this really ring true of a parent's rapport with a child.

The editing in the first twenty five minutes is great, the film jumps about, getting on with the romance, which comes between the sisters. Laurent and Marie Denarnaud, who plays the second sister, are both great. There's energy, scenes are quirky, the setting in Lyons is refreshingly down to earth.

Then something happens to the sister played by Denarnaud and the trajectory of the romance is stalled. The rest of the film is dark, very dark. My nagging question at the end of film, was what happened to the father of Laurent's character's son? I guess in never delving into that story, she wanted to leave viewers wondering.

Gabriela Jauregui

Stumbled across the work of Gabriela Jauregui, a Mexican poet and writer, online. Already ordered a copy of her interesting looking book, Controlled Decay.

Found a cool website with a feature on Jauregui's home in Mexico City. Some great pics by Santiago Sanchez.

Cake With A Great Name At Lantana

Popped into LANTANA for an early morning Flat White today and spotted a tempting cake with a very rock 'n' roll name. Ooh baby.

Brit Marling in SOUND OF MY VOICE = Movie I'm Seriously Excited About

Sound Of My Voice Trailer

Wisdom, India Style

Third Branch Of Nordic Bakery To Open On London's Dorset Street

You wouldn't know it yet other than for the shopfront wearing the distinctive, gorgeous "Nordic Bakery" grey, but this is soon to open as the third branch of Nordic Bakery aka home to the Best Cup of Coffee In London as well as insanely good cheese/ pickle sandwiches on dark bread and equally delicious cinnamon buns. At the moment, it's in the last stages of being readied for opening and apparently launching any day now.

This baby of the group joins the first branch on Soho's Golden Square (the busy, noisy one) and the second on Westmoreland Street (the quiet, shy one), a slightly obscure location just off Marylebone High Street/ New Cavendish Street. This new third branch will serve the Baker Street crowd nicely. Congrats to all the friendly folks at Nordic Bakery, on the expansion!

London's Oxford Street Goes Banner And Flag Crazy

No idea why, but out of the blue Oxford Street, London's main shopping drag, is suddenly awash with flags and banners.

Some very badly designed banners proclaim "Design Is Great" and "Craft Is Great", while doing a pretty great job of reflecting neither message.

Presumably the Union jack deluge, is some pre-Olympics hype thing? Who knows. It all seems entirely random.

Oh. Turns out the flags are for the Jubilee celebrations.

Cranes Over The Forthcoming Andre Balazs Hotel On London's Chiltern Street