ManOfLondon : Christmas at the South Bank

South bank Centre- London Eye

Man of London took a walk down to London’s south bank centre on a crisp Friday afternoon this December and can honestly say there was a sense of magic in the air.

The south bank centre has been transformed into a Christmas experience to remember with all the senses of the modern gentleman catered for.

Approaching the centre the smell of mulled wine lingered In the winter air and my cheeks began to flush.

Impressive considering I had not yet had a sip.

I stumbled upon a winter food market at the back on the centre. Filled with the finest confections and foods any trip there would ensure a perfect christmas feast.

Indoor experience

When ManOfLondon entered the centre the atmosphere was electric. Technicians were preparing various spaces within the venue for that evenings performances, with many audience members already gathered in the terrace lounge waiting for the festivities to kick off the weekend.

An impressive array of performances and cultural events many of them free with events to appeal to the modern gentleman and the modern family come to think of it.

Space for some performances is limited so ManOfLondon recommends arriving early or booking in advance where possible.

Outside the centre itself and on the banks of the Thames is a traditional Christmas market. A huge line of little log cabins selling everything from handmade Christmas decoration to pillows shaped like pandas.

One stall in particular has a pair of chocolate fountains where you can have a ‘kebab’ of items slathered in the chocolate of your choice to tantalise your taste buds.

ManOfLondon has a sweet-tooth and it’s not a secret. I opted for the marshmallow kebab smothered in molten white chocolate.

Honestly, this was the best £2.50 I ever spent.

Marshmallows and white chocolate. MOL like!

The luxurious white chocolate was warm enough to make the marshmallow melt slightly and it’s a treat that young and old can enjoy to warm up on a cold winter evening.

The Southbank centre has done a fantastic job of cramming a lot of different activities Into a relatively small space.

The market with its somewhat traditonal feel, as well as the twinkling lights which frame your view of The London Eye and Big Ben really helps to put your mind into the Christmas spirit.

With the market running until Christmas eve, there is still time for even the most unprepared gentleman to experience a little of the Christmas sparkle the capital has to offer.

The Centre is easy to get too, with Waterloo Tube station only a short walk away and for the mariner in you, the centre can be accessed by boats stopping at river pier until later afternoon.

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ManOfLondon: ManOfScotland : Patriotism in a strange land.

I have noticed something as of late. Man Of London misses his homeland of Scotland.

I seem to do this strange thing at certain times,

I become very aware of my Scottish side and I project it onto other people!

Yesterday, being St. Andrews day, one of Scotland’s national holidays, meant that I did this all day.

Now, if you went up to a gentleman on say, Bond Street, and asked him “Whare aboot is the tube station” you would get a look of disgust, perplexity, or both.

It’s something I’m itching to try.

Since I began ManOfLondon about three months ago, I have lost count of the amount of non Scottish people who wander around the big smoke telling people to ‘shut their pus’ (Pus, is a Scottish word for face, and can be used in a loving way, or an offensive way) and, my consumption of IRN-BRU has sky-rocketed.

This gentleman is perhaps worried deep down that he will submit totally to the London culture and may lose his roots.

Thus when I feel this way I use my local customs and language to ensure that doesn’t happen.

ManOfLondon is doing something that the Americans have been accused of for years (Americanization).

He is putting a Scots’ stamp on a new landscape

I’m still at a miss as to why I feel the need to do things like spread my local dialect around an un-familiar place, and drink what is known as my ‘other’ national drink.

It could be because I miss home, it could be because London is such a melting pot of cultures and I don’t feel the Scottish culture is a part of it.

Glencoe, Scotland

The reasoning for this is something I am only going to discover in time.

To all my Scots readers, I hope you had a fantastic St. Andrews day. I guess all that’s left is for me to say Chefter (that’s goodbye where I’m from).

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ManOfLondon works it: Presenting Velvet pose.

ManOfLondon interviewing clubbers for Velvet Pose

ManOfLondon has a new gig! MOL is now presenting a new T.V show called Velvet Pose. We filmed the first episode on Saturday night/Sunday morning and it was an amazing experience.

Filming took place at the world famous Ministry of Sound at their  ‘ Defected in the house’ night. Loving house music means this was a dream come true.

We had the shoot scheduled from 10pm until 3 am. We managed to get some fantastic footage of the club before the clubbers arrived and then even more when the party was in full swing.

ManOfLondon had two main tasks of the evening. I was tasked with finding out what drinks fulled the clubbers well into the early hour. Man Of London was told about a Cuban cocktail, a mix of Vodka and Rum amongst other things. This gentlemen is going to need to conduct a taste test.

I also got the amazing chance to interview Chocolate Puma, two very talented Dj’s who were also very down to earth.

ManOfLondon and ChocolatePuma

I interviewed them in the Green room of ministry of sound and they were very interesting and friendly, which made our interview very natural.

ManOfLondon is currently exhausted. The point of this post is to tell you to look our for Velvet Pose, and to watch our episodes as and when they are released.

Follow @ Velvetpose on Twitter (and @GregFlucker while you are at it!)

‘Like’ Velvet Pose on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/Velvetpose

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ManOfLondon plays : Saints Row three : Gaming with a new depth

ManOfLondon is not the biggest fan of video games. However, with all the buzz behind Saints Row three, combined with my flat-mate purchasing a copy, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.

It’s been quite a while since I picked up an Xbox gamepad and I have to admit, it felt quite good.

At first appearance, the game seemed to me to simply emulate those that have preceded it. It seemed nothing more than a slightly futuristic version of Rockstar’s GTA Four.

The difference between the two is easy to see in terms of gameplay and character development.

Customisation

Never before has the modern gentleman been given so much control in a game from this genre.

The protagonist, who you will use to build and control your empire, is customizable in thousands of different combinations from the suave suit and tie look to the ridiculous and somewhat chilling bobble-headed cat.

The man on the screen can now match the man on the sofa.

As your empire grows, the amount of properties you own as well as vehicles and weapons arsenal will expand and you can choose and customize these until you are satisfied that you can rule the city.

ManOfLondon’s favourite items included a tank which was unstoppable, as well as a jet that was also. Unstoppable…Tyranny may or may not be the future of ManOfLondon…watch this space.

Gameplay itself is interactive, well paced and slightly addictive. Weapons range from a missile airstrike you can order on your enemies to a large…’female stimulator’ that goes by the name of ‘the penetrator’.

There is something I never thought I’d publish on here.

Selecting your weapon of choice you are free to roam the environment or answer your telephone and participate in the games ‘missions’.
Completing these tasks will advance you through the game while roaming the city simply relieves stress after a long day at the office.

Overall the game is something that the modern gentleman should experience, only if he can handle gratuitous fake violence.

Sharp graphics, good gameplay and a fantastic soundtrack ensure your attention will be held for some time, just remember, it’s only a game and if you walk down the street wearing a giant cat’s head, people will stare at you. I’m still too embarrassed to leave the house.

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ManOfLondon (Greg Flucker) Photography for GigsandFestivals.

Please have a look at my work. Thank you.

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November 24, 2011 · 9:34 pm

ManOfLondon Wishes good tidings : Christmas for the modern man Pt.1

Image

It’s that time of year again when the decorations go up a little too early, hyper children and frantic parents make shopping Impossible and shops open late so you can drain your bank account. ManOfLondon is of course talking about Christmas.

The once solely religious holiday is now celebrated by people worldwide as a time of giving and receiving gifts (Santa can I please have a new mini, I have been a respectable gentleman this year) and eating until one find it is difficult to move, or even remain conscious.

So how does the modern gentleman prepare for such an event while remaining as suave as Santa? Bearing two simple things in mind means you can have Christmas while retaining charisma.

Top Tip one? Prepare presents: Don’t be a stereotype. For Millennia (Okay, a  slight exaggeration) man has been seen as a wild beast trailing department stores on Christmas eve  to begin  finding those  perfect presents. If this is you, take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror. Feel the shame.  Preparing in advance means you get the perfect gift for your loved ones, and at the same time you can save yourself some money in the many deals retailers offer to boost Christmas sales. Are you a lazy man? The internet means even those of you who struggle to comb their hair can still have that diamond ring delivered to your door.

Top Tip Two: Can’t cook? Don’t cook. The modern gentleman doesn’t like to be beaten. It’s true. It’s in our genes, an instinct in our brain we just cannot control. Christmas is the one day of year where you need to ignore your instincts. If you have the slightest inclination that you might overdo the turkey or cause eight accident and emergency admissions, it is a good idea to let someone else cook. For those gentleman who can give Gordon Ramsay a run for his money, sprinkle a little paprika over your roast potatoes before you cook them to give them a slightly Smokey taste.

If all else fails you can throw charisma out the window, blag your way through the presents and order in for dinner. I wonder what turkey with curry sauce and noodles tastes like?

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ManOfLondon special feature: Festival Internacional de Benicassim

Main Stage Beni

Escenario Verde- Main Stage at Benicassim

ManOflondon is going to let you in on a little secret. He is having a love affair. A love affair with the Spanish town of Benicassim. Every year, it plays host to FIB Benicassim, a four-day music festival that draws the best acts from all over the world.

As a British gentleman, my general idea of music festivals before 2009 was mud, rain, warm cider, no sleep and fried food. Benicassim blew that perception out of the water.

With a growing irritation of waking up in a sea of mud, in a tent sinking into a black abyss, I decided to make a swap.

Polar opposites

I swapped day for night, cold for warmth, rain for sun and wellingtons for plimsoles.

Free time that was once spent lying in a cold unwelcoming tent preparing oneself for the day ahead could now be spent basking in the warmth of the sun on a speech on the eastern coast of Spain.

FIB tends to have a great mix of acts in it’s line up. Over the past few years we have seen big name acts such as The Killers, Vampire weekend, Calvin harris and 2manydj’s grace it’s stages. The eclectic mix of indie, rock , soul and dance ensures the festival appeals to most people, and it won’t take too much of an effort to convince all of your fellow gents to go on a new adventure!

Strapped-for-cash

Times are tough. The economy is bad, which is bad for your wallet. Benicassim doesn’t have to be expensive however; the festival itself costs less than all of the major U.K festivals and includes eight days free camping so you can get a summer holiday too!

If you do decide to be economical with your money, ensure you have enough sunscreen to protect yourself during the long days in the Spanish sun and enough money to keep yourself hydrated. From personal experience ManOfLondon is all too aware of how difficult it is to sleep in a tent in the middle of the Spanish summer. Prepare yourself!

Find a way of securing your valuables either with a money belt or in a locker in a local train of bus station. Doing this makes sure you aren’t as easy target for those ruffians who pilfer and steal from the modern man. It is a sad fact, but this occurs at all festivals, but these precautions will reduce the likelihood of it happening to you.

Personal experience

ManOfLondon at FIB

We all like a little luxury. ManOfLondon couldn’t personally handle eight days in the Spanish sun without air conditioning. MOL (That’s me!) Is quite happy admitting this fact. This is how one does it :

Flights to Benicassim can be an absolute steal if purchased far enough in advance. Flights to Barcelona (two hours train ride, arguably the closest international airport to the destination) can be found for around £90 return.

Although this won’t be a business class seat with a champagne lounge, you will get these comfortably enough. Flights to Barcelona can be found from all of London’s airports as well as from various regional airports across the United Kingdom.

Apartments and hotels around the area book up well far in advance so it is advisable to organize that at the same time or not long after you secure your ticket. These come with a wide range of facilities to suit various budgets. ManOfLondon tends to go with something in the mid range.

Apartments in the town of Oropesa Del Mar (a town next to Benicassim) can hold around six guests with air-con, a balcony, a pool for the complex and a bubble spa bathtub.

Unfortunately, only a very few companies offer these apartments and have quite a monopoly on the prices. The experience however is worth more than the money you pay.

A good Idea is too book your apartment as early in advance as possible, as this is when the companies are most likely to entice customers to book through them by offering things such as free shuttle busses to the festival site, which can be essential as some apartments are located in the next town to Benicassim itself.

Drinks at Benicassim can be seen as it’s only downfall. The prices of drinks at the festival is enough to bankrupt even the wealthiest gentleman, so prepare now and start saving!

The bars on site do offer a good range of drinks however with a large selection of soft drinks to cater to the gentleman who may have been a bit liberal with the moonshine the night before.

With only one act announced for this year’s festival so far, it is too early to tell which gentleman next years festival will appeal to most. It might attract those who like to rave all night and sleep all day, or those who like to rock out all night…or sleep all day. Either way the best is yet to come. Watch this space for live updates from the festival come July 2012. ¡Viva La Benicassim!

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ManOfLondon : Music : Four tracks for London living

The modern gentleman loves modern music. This is our top four tracks for the month of November.

Foster the people : Pumped up kicks

You will have heard this song. The American trio have exploded onto the UK music scene with their album ‘Torches’. This track is one of their most popular, but has such a good feel to it that it should brighten up any early morning commute.

Bombay Bicycle Club:  Your Eyes

London’s very own Bombay Bicycle Club hit the nail on their head with their latest album ‘A different kind of fix’.  This track taken from the album will make you want to get up and dance at the most inappropriate times. (WARNING : ManOfLondon will not be held responsible for any random outbursts of dance on the London transport network, resulting in your social exclusion, humiliation or arrest.)

Katy Perry: The one that got away

ManOfLondon has a soft spot for Katy Perry. Her music is catchy, and she can seem to effortlessly move from party anthem to ballad. Her follow up single to the huge ‘Last Friday night (T.G.I.F)’ Perry has once again created a hit. The love ballad that every man can relate to, with its bass beat make it a love song for a new generation.
Rihanna Ft. Calvin Harris : We found love

ManOfLondon cannot get this out of his head. The addictive lyrical styling of the Barbadian beauty with the filthy beats of the suave Scottish Mr. Harris helped this song to clinch the coveted number one spot. This song looks set to be a club hit for the foreseeable future.

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ManOfLondon watches: Paranormal activity 3

ManOfLondon watches: Paranormal activity 3

Just as its predecessors did, Paranormal Activity three dominated our cinema screens. The Third installment in the series has been described as the scariest one yet and it didn’t disappoint.

This prequel to the original two films takes place in late eighties (Big hair and VHS tapes anyone?) where we see the main characters from the first two films, growing up with strange happenings which we seen plague their lives in the first two movies.

As the film progressed I felt the chilling familiarity in my chest that only these films manage to stir within a sophisticated gentleman like myself. ManofLondon believes that it is perfectly normal for the modern gentleman to show his feelings, however, screaming more than three times in one feature is something that should be controlled (something the man two rows in front of me did not understand).

The special effects in this film were just as amazing as in the first two films, and seemed all the more effective as they were used more heavily than in previous films.

Without giving too much away, the scene in the empty kitchen is by far the most impressive of the eighty-four minute feature. ManofLondon will think twice about entering the kitchen while alone in the house.

ManOfLondon thinks these films have real appeal.

From their original advertising, to the fact that we cannot see the ‘killer’ in the shot, gives the film a fear factor absent in those classic slasher movies of the past, the series has been successful in getting people talking.

Word of mouth was and remains the biggest benefit to this franchise.

Without it, it’s original release wouldn’t have been picked up by a large studio and film distributor, and , this film would not be able to amass the huge cult following it has today.
It goes to show that word of mouth may have existed before the internet, but, with out technology connected world, anyone can harness it.

Question?

There is a downside to the film however.

One feels there are too many questions raised by the ending that may not be answerable in a sequel.

Why do the two sisters not get into a discussion about their mother in the previous two films?

Why, as the viewer, were we not given as much of an insight into the girls past in the first two films to entice us to see this one, and why do we not see what happens to the girls after the final night in the film?

Only time will tell if these questions will ever be answered, but, like the other two films, we shouldn’t have to wait more than twelve months.

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ManOfLondon Watches: Misfits season 3 : Just how long can one person do community service?

Lets get one thing clear. ManOfLondon enjoys hit E4 comedy-drama misfits more than most people, however, I am going to propose that the show has gotten, well, somewhat lazy.

We seen the departure of Robert Sheehan In-between series’, which was fully explained in online episodes.

At the beginning of this opening episode, we see a fresh lease of life for the show. New characters, old characters and what many might have seen as a welcome element to the show, some normality.

Spoiler alert

By the end of the show even the most approving gentleman would have been somewhat miffed. We once again see our favourite anti-hero’s (ManOfLondon personally loves Kelly [played by the excellent Lauren Socha]) back in their now infamous orange jumpsuits.

It’s just a little bit far fetched. Even in the misfit reality.

Community service

Yes, you may think to yourself ‘the odd thing to you isn’t the superpowers, but the amount of time they spend in community service?’ but I have a reasoning for this.

What else can possibly happen in the landscape of the series that we haven’t seen before?

For the past two series’ the show has been set on a council estate, with a focus on it’s community centre. Would it not be fresher, more exciting to see the characters in a different environment? Maybe chasing their next nemesis down Oxford Street on a Saturday? Or through the crowds at Glastonbury or T in the park?

Time will only tell if these characters are going to develop further. The new addition to the cast (Played by Joe Gilgun) is a promising development for the show, his cockiness replacing that of Nathan’s, but with his split personality, we see another side which Nathan didn’t show.

The fact that they have developed the character in the first show is a good thing, it shows there is scope to find out more about each of the other characters too. Time will only tell if the characters get to explore new surroundings and deal with new situations. Although ManOfLondon isn’t overly impressed with the characters going back to their roots, the show will be Sunday night staple viewing for the considerable future.

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