Archive for September, 2009

The Londonpaper

September 18, 2009

londonpaper image

I came to London 4 years ago. One day, after getting off from work, I was approached by a man that wanted to give me a newspaper. Assuming that I would have to pay for it, I shrugged him off. The same happened the next day and the day after that. Just as I would get off from work and would turn around the corner, the same man would wait to give me the newspaper.

On the fourth day, I noticed many other people taking the guy’s newspaper without having to pay anything. This man was actually handing free newspapers! I decided to give the newspaper a try. After all, how bad could it be?

The newspaper was called The Londonpaper and it was not bad after all. In fact, I later found out that it was a successful daily, free newspaper recording interesting fact around the world but maily the daily beat, buzz, gossip and happenings in London. As far as I could tell, it was written by young, enthusiastic people and was a combination of relaxed attitude and witty language. But above all, it would inform Londoners of what was going on in town.

Londonpaper was certainly not the only weekday newspaper in London. It competed against “London Lite”, which was distributed around the same time in the afternoon and “Metro“, typically found at tube stations in the morning. But Londonpaper easily outclassed its competitors not only for its editorial flair, its variety of regular columns and features but also for its colourful appearance and exemplary editorial design. In fact, it was featured in Zappatera’s superb book “Editorial Design” as an example of a fresh approach to editorial layout.

It was such a surprise that on Thursday, 17th September, I read that the londonpaper had only another day left before closing down. At the time of writing of this post, I had not searched for the reasons for this closure. But I am willing to take a (wild?) guess: the current economic downturn led to a rapid decrease in advertising revenue, rendering the entire project of running and distributing a free newspaper financially unattainable.

From Monday 21 September, no more restaurant reviews, no more relationship talk by Andy in his column “man about town”, no more lovestruck, no more pet of the day, image of the day, no more gay man about town by Joshua and, above all, no more city girl and Em cartoons. Luckily, some of the regular columners have already hinted to us where we will find them next after we exit our offices on Monday and momentarily feel the void of the man not being there to hand us our londonpaper fix of the day.

So, so long Londonpaper. You have been a fantastic getaway from the daily sorrows of work and the perfect way to clear my thoughts after a busy day.You have been the casual read during the tube ride, a careless browse at my couch before the gym and, above all, the perfect guide to all things London.



Inglourious Basterds

September 13, 2009


Inglourious Basterds is a fictional film in German-occupied France during World War II. The movie starts with the weaving of two individuals stories. The first story is the story of Jewish Shoshanna Dreyfus, who narrowly escapes death by the untouchable German colonel Hans Landa during a raid at the house of the nearby farmer, where she and her family were hiding. Shoshanna reappears three years later in Paris, where she has acquired the identity of Emmanuelle Mimieux and owns a small cinema she inherited from her aunt and uncle. The second story is the story of an American soldier group, called Basterds, which is lead by Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt). The Basterds come to Europe to bring havoc to the Third Reich and kill as many Germans as possible.

Although the Basterds and Emmanuelle do not know each other and never meet during their film, their stories converge in Paris. Emmanuelle meets the German officer Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Bruhl, mostly famous for his role in Goodbye Lenin), who tries to impress her and win her love by arranging to have the premiere of Goebbels’ new movie “Stolz Den Nation” (Pride of the Nation), in which he stars, in Emmanuelle’s cinema. Both Emmanuelle and the Basterds seize the opportunity to organise plots to kill Adolf Hitler, who will be attending the premier with other highly ranked officials. For Emmanuelle, this is the perfect time for revenge for her family and for the Basterds the perfect time to end the war.

The movie, although far from the success of Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, represents Tarantino’s mature writing and his superb directing ability. It will definitely pin your down as you watch the portrayal of the individual characters, the gradual unveiling of the plot and you witness the merciful – and a bit unexpected- finale. Simply, another Tarantino classic.


P.S.: Image, copyright of respective owners.


September 2, 2009


Taro restaurant is the perfect choice for a sushi snack when you visit the centre with friends after work or returning from a shopping spree. Situated just some minutes away from Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, the restaurant avoids the pretentiousness and expensive nature of posh sushi establishments and the pre-packaged choices of high-street sushi chains. Indeed, it is not for the decoration or the famous chef that you have come to this place, but for the offering of simple and uncompromising quality of Japanese food.


The dinning are is small and simple, furnished with tables and chairs that look as if they have come out of Muji catalogues. If you are visiting the restaurant alone, we recommend that you sit at the bar, which has views of the open plan kitchen and its inner workings. It is fascinating to watch the chefs perform their rituals of preparing Japanese delicacies effortlessly and methodically, and can’t help to wonder that we would probably end up in an unnerving disaster when attempting to repeat the same actions at home. During our visit, we witnessed the preparation of bento sushi, delicious salads, sashimi and various teriyaki and noodle dishes.

The food is good value for money. It costs £8.80 to order a selection of the common choices of nigiri and maki sushi. Our bill topped £17.50 Pounds with the addition of a delicious miso soup as a starter, an avocado hand-rolled temaki and a glass of Japanese green tea.

Overall, although dinning at Taro is not recommended for a first date or to celebrate an anniversary, it is ideal when in need for a simple, yet tasteful solution for lunch at the city centre.


P.S.: Taro is located at 61 Brewer Street, London, W1 (Google Map, Streetview)