Watch a home video of the Picassos and check out some of his best portraits at the NPG

Just visited the Picasso’s Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, one of our favourite museums in London. Picasso’s portraits show the amazing variety of his art and what makes him so unique, so different from any other artist. This major exhibition boasts over 80 works, including several celebrated masterpieces loaned by international institutions, various sculptures, drawings, sketches, humorous caricature and other works, such as hilarious cartoon strips he drew while travelling with his Catalan mate to Paris by train. You can even watch one of the Picassos’ home videos, but nope, it’s nothing risqué, as you might expect from a man of his reputation and omnipresent sexual energy, it’s a surprisingly boring and bourgeois video of him and some close family members playing with their dog in the garden, fair enough. Too many sex tapes floating around these days anyway. We’d disagree with the Evening Standard’s view that ‘this […]

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A Murder at the Church, a Car Crash on a Tapestry, and a Dead Pig, what’s not to like in Canterbury?

We had been to Canterbury many times before. As a matter of fact, I proposed to my wife there, three months after we had first met, in 2008 with the help of an airplane pulling a banner. Back then, it had all been very hectic (for me, not so much for my then future wife, who was unaware of the preparations). The pilot initially cancelled the whole thing because of strong winds at his airport, eighty miles north of our location, then texted again to say he’d be ready to go, then texted that the start had been delayed, and it went back and forth at least five or six more times. Then, two hours later, while we were in the middle of lunch, said he’d arrive within ten minutes and needed us to be on an open space, ideally close to the cathedral.           I gently (as gently […]

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Two grumpy old men, like that’s what you need for a Friday night

We had been looking forward to watching No Man’s Land at Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End, a new production directed by Sean Mathias, that had been celebrated on Broadway and that had initially opened at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California in August 2013. Many say this might be the last time you’ll see Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart on stage together, they’re not getting any younger. We had watched the two together before, lastly in Waiting for Godot, and felt they go together nicely, like rum and cigars. Waiting for Godot is similar in that it also involves no plot and it’s about grumpy old men. The papers reported that McKellen had initially shied away from accepting the offer to take over the role of Spooner in Nobel Prize laureate Harold Pinter’s play, because he had seen the role plaid by other great actors he was looking up […]

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La Vache et Le Cuisinier, Montmartre, Paris

We arrived on Easter Friday at 6:30pm without a reservation at this small restaurant a short walk from Sacre-Coeur, close to the bottom of the hill, and were among the first guests, but the place filled up very quickly and soon every seat was taken. We shared a very smooth Absinthe “Un Emile” 68* verte, distillerie Les Fils d’E. Pernot, as aperitif and the razor clams as starter, which were very tasty and just the right texture.   As mains we chose duck breast with baby potatoes, vegetables and cranberry sauce, and stuffed saddle of rabbit with Bourgogne truffle, dark sauce, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. The duck breast was very nice, even though maybe a tiny bit chewy. However, the rabbit was delicious, at the same time a hearty taste but with an air of sophisticated cuisine. The Bordeaux that was recommended to us by the waiter was pleasant and […]

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Allard – Disappointment of the Decade

My wife and I had discovered Bistro Allard in the Saint Germain area of Paris, close to the Latin Quarter and Saint Michel, on one of our first trips together to Paris as a couple. To this day we both believe that the meal we had back then was the best meal we’ve ever had in Paris, or anywhere in the world for that matter. I remember that we had to-die-for escargots, prepared to perfection. As mains my wife went for grilled seabass, one of her favourites, while I had medium-rare grilled veal roast. The piece of meat was gigantic in size and tasted like it was from another world, so juicy and tasty, pure culinary bliss. My wife was very pleased with her fish dish, too. The cheese platter we shared to finish the meal contained some of the best cheese I’ve had in France (and I like my […]

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