Issue thr ee | august
Produced in International Media Production Zone
Je ssica n i Chasta thatâ€™s The fac e l the a te set to s ree n c s r e v s il
a feast for the eyes
How they spend it
Why the marriage of food and art makes for the finest dining
How Manny Pacquiao became the best boxer of the modern era
What happened when the Fab Four tried their hand at big business?
The inside track on how Chinaâ€™s super rich travellers splash their cash
Contents / Features
TwenTy Two / reporT The results of the first published white paper on the spending habits of China’s luxury travellers.
ThirTy / red hoT and ready for Takeoff With six films on release this autumn, we look at the irrepressible rise of star-in-the-making Jessica Chastain.
ThirTy six / roTTen To The core? Ray Connolly remembers his time at the heart of The Beatles’ less successful offering to the world.
fifTy / lord of The ring How Manny Pacquiao conquered a savage father and life on the streets to become the world’s best boxer.
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www.b5living.com | +971 (0)4 447 3973 Sidra Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai.
B5 The Art of Living
Jensen • F+M Fos • Eggersmann • Döttling • Lambert • Junckers • Schmalenbach • ad notam
Contents / regulars
fourTeen / radar Seven pages of hotly-tipped buys, bites and not-to-be-missed events well worth making time for.
Managing Director Victoria Thatcher Editorial Director John Thatcher Advertisement Director Chris Capstick firstname.lastname@example.org Group Editor Laura Binder email@example.com Group Deputy Editor Jade Bremner firstname.lastname@example.org Designers Adam Sneade Sarah Boland Production Manager Haneef Abdul Group Advertisement Manager Cat Steele email@example.com Sales Manager Sukaina Hussein firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 00971 4 364 2876 Fax: 00971 4 369 7494 Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from HOT Media Publishing is strictly prohibited. All prices mentioned are correct at time of press but may change. HOT Media Publishing does not accept liability for omissions or errors in AIR.
TwenTy four / criTique A new month, a new cultural agenda: cast your eyes on the critics’ best and worst appraisals of the arts.
fifTy Six / moToring We go to extremes with the impractical (but wildly fun) KTMX-Bow R and a four-wheel drive from Ferrari.
SixTy / gaSTronomy How some of the world’s finest eateries are serving up more than just a feast for the palate...
SixTy Three / golf Why Northern Ireland’s abundance of brilliant courses make it perfect for a golf getaway.
SixTy four / Travel Lock yourself away in one of the world’s finest suites, or set sail for a lesser-known Greek idyll.
SevenTy Six / whaT i know now Patrick Mavros ponders life’s greatest satisfactions...
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gama aviation August 2011
Welcome onboard I’m delighted to welcome you to the August edition of AIR. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about our global business aviation group and the services we provide as you browse through the pages. Gama is one of the world’s largest business jet operators – we have nearly 80 business jets operating all around the globe. Established in the United Kingdom in 1983, we’ve grown to have bases throughout the Middle East, Europe and North & South America as well as operating licences issued by the UAE, UK, US and Bermudan Authorities. As well as providing aircraft management and charter services, the group also provides aircraft maintenance, avionics design and installation, aviation software, aircraft cleaning and leasing services to a wide range of clients. Gama’s expansion in the Middle East continues to progress well, our regional fleet has grown significantly over the past twelve months with the arrival of a number of aircraft including the Bombardier Global XRS and the Challenger 850, the first of its type to be registered in the United Arab Emirates and the continued development of our regional footprint and services. Business aviation remains one of the best tools available to corporations and individuals who want to make time for themselves and it’s been pleasing to see a resurgence in charter flights in 2011 – the world is travelling for business again and developing much needed revenue for the global economy. Thank you for choosing Gama – welcome on board. Dave Edwards Managing Director
Contact details: email@example.com www.gamagroup.com
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gama aviation news Gama aVIaTIon SeTS SaIl To raISe moneY For FlY2HelP
A team of enthusiastic sailors from Gama Aviation, the Farnborough, UK headquartered business aviation services company, set sail from Cowes on the Isle of Wight to compete in the recent 80th annual ‘Round the Island Race.’ Gama braved the elements to raise money for the company’s long-standing charity of choice, fly2help, one of the UK’s leading aviation charities dedicated to supporting families and individuals facing a wide range of trauma or tragedy. Weather dominated the race as team Gama (made up of pilots, operations and engineering personnel), along with a record-breaking fleet of 1,900 yachts, faced winds of up to 28 knots to negotiate the famous 50-nautical mile circumnavigation of the Island. Reported to be one of the toughest races in the event’s history, the Coastguard received a number of calls for assistance, including ‘Man Overboard’ reports, capsizes, demastings and sail damage. After nine hours and 14 minutes, team Gama crossed the finish line in 527th place, feeling weary, but proud at both getting round the island safely and raising the sum of £2,800 for fly2help. “I have always wanted to take part in this exciting event, which is one of the most prestigious English yachting races,” said Steve Wright, Group Chief Operating Officer at Gama Aviation. “Despite the extreme
conditions for even the most experienced sailor, it was fun and we were all pleased to get back in one piece. Above all, we are thrilled to be able to support fly2help. Thanks to our Skipper, Captain Bob Bell and to all our generous supporters who helped make the day a success. Donations can still be made at Gama’s fundraising page www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/gama. “We are honoured to be Gama Aviation’s chosen charity and the hard work, effort and enthusiasm they have given to raising funds has been fantastic. It is a remarkable achievement and this fundraising will help us to support more very brave and special families through the power and liberation of flight. We are truly grateful for their tremendous support.” said Mandy Pantall, PR and Marketing Manager at fly2help.
About Fly2Help Fly2help lifts the horizons of people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures through the medium of flight. It supports those with life-limiting and chronic illnesses; families who have suffered some form of tragedy and those who are working to recover a sense of self-worth and need a life-boost. This includes those struggling to live with bereavement and disability, isolation or poverty and people who have suffered extreme neglect and abuse.
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500,000 Hours 200,000 Flights 28 Years
Gama Aviation Limited Business Aviation Centre Farnborough Airport Farnborough Hampshire GU14 6XA United Kingdom Tel: +44 1252 553000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Gama Aviation FZC Building 6EB Office 550 PO Box 54912 Dubai Airport Freezone Dubai United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 4 609 1688 Email: email@example.com Gama Aviation, Inc. Airport Business Center 611 Access Road Stratford
Business Aircraft Management, Charter,
Maintenance, Design and Installation,
Tel: +1 800 468 1110
FBO Services, Valeting and Aviation Software.
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gama aviation news Gama aVIaTIon endorSed WITH WYVern SaFeTY aPProVal acroSS all oF ITS reGIonS Gama Aviation, the international business aviation services company, headquartered at Farnborough Airport, UK, has achieved Wyvern approval across all of its affiliated operating bases – in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East, thus demonstrating a continued commitment to aviation safety. Wyvern’s globally recognised seal of aviation safety excellence; ‘The Wyvern Standard’ is the leading quality audit standard developed in conjunction with the most sophisticated and demanding corporate flight departments in the world. As a Wyvern approved operator, Gama maintains strict safety programmes which Wyvern audits annually and monitors throughout the year. The rigorous on-site safety audit evaluated Gama against a set of enhanced safety criterion that far exceeds the regulatory requirements for air charter, flight operations and maintenance. Dave Edwards, Gama’s Managing Director said, “Wyvern represents one of the most strict independent safety and quality standards in business aviation. That fact that Gama has now achieved that around the globe is an excellent reward for the hard work and effort that goes into our proactive safety culture. It’s a pleasing recognition from one of the leading audit organizations.”
Above from left to right: Thomas Miller, CEO Gama Charters USA Dave Edwards, MD Gama FZC Middle East Thomas Connelly, President, Gama Support Services USA Paul Cremer, Commercial Manager, Gama Aviation UK Brent Moldowan, Managing Director, Wyvern Fredrik Artursson, Sales Director, Wyvern Scott Ashton, Chief Commercial Officer, Gama Aviation Inc
alISon PrIce on aIr marKS SUcceSSFUl FIrST Year reVolUTIonISInG aVIaTIon caTerInG Alison Price On Air, the London-based in-flight division of elite catering firm Alison Price, celebrated a successful first year of operations this May by attending EBACE and playing an integral part in an inaugural symposium established to support flight attendants. Daniel Hulme, Director of In-flight services for the expanding business, joined a new committee that focused on attendants’ requirements and how to support their important role. “It was an honour for us to represent business aviation catering services and demonstrates just how quickly we have become an established and respected business in this field,” says Hulme, who launched the APOA business. The young, dynamic company has already built a portfolio of over 30 aviation clients including leading names such as Gama Aviation Ltd. Its success results from the focus on quality of ingredients and menu creation. “All our dishes are extremely considered,” comments Executive Chef Richard Cubbin: “We have to consider how the food travels, its longevity, how the different environments will affect its taste and texture, and the fact that our clients are often working while they fly so this will probably be their main meal of the day.” Cubbin has created unique mouth watering menus featuring seasonal produce and with such attention to detail that even the cheeses are selected according to the time of year. Complementing the quality ingredients is a revolutionary system created to ensure even the most novice of flight attendants can present cuisine like a five-star chef. Menus are thought of in terms of “moves”, ie how many times a server has to handle the food. The process is simple and is supported by flash cards illustrating how the dish should look. Paul Milverton, Cabin Services Manager for Gama Aviation UK says, “when we first saw the system we were so impressed, we’d never seen food presented so easily by our flight attendants. The quality of the dishes and the consistency of the product is one of the major factors passengers comment on about the inflight service. APOA have enabled us to provide food at a level we hadn’t seen before and it’s a real asset to our service.”
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EspEcially for you If you’re looking for somewhere suitably exclusive to spend your Eid vacation, Dolphin Island – a 13-acre private retreat in the Pacific waters of Fiji – offers space for just eight guests. Here, amid the stunning stone and timber suites, infinity pools and manicured grounds, visitors can indulge in the ultimate remote island experience, from handpicking their dinner from the fresh catch of fish delivered daily to snorkelling atop the surrounding reefs. dolphinislandfiji.com
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RadaR DeaDly Dish Those after a daring dinner experience may be enticed by the secret culinary circle descending on London’s restaurant scene: Fugu Supper Club. Hailing from Japan, it brings the country’s most tender delicacy – which also happens to be the most deadly; the tiger blowfish, a poisson with enough poison to kill 30 adults. The toxic creature will be served by anonymous (but we’re assured, expertly qualified) chefs in myriad forms over six courses in a secret location (tip-offs include a mansion and empty gallery space). Those who dare can register their interest on the club’s website fugusupperclub.com
It took 35 engineers, watchmakers and artisans six months to craft the LeDix Véloce by Celsius X VI II, a micromechanical mobile phone inspired by the aerodynamic lines and materials used in motor sport. Only 18 of them exist, priced at $333,000. from Harrods.
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GoinG, GoinG... Gone
Authors Jolyon Fenwick and Marcus Husselby have compiled a book – It Could Have Been Yours – depicting unique pieces sold at auction or via private sales over the course of the past twelve months. Items you could have bought range from Marilyn Monroe’s wonder bra (sold at $5,147) to x-rays of Einstein’s brain (sold for $38,750) and Casanova’s memoirs ($4.4 million). Other bidding wars included the Statue of Liberty’s nose ($150,000) and Concorde’s speedo ($7,300). profilebooks.com
ON YOUR BIKE If you long to hit the open road Easy Rider-style youâ€™ll need a bike worthy of the trip. Every motorcycle in HarleyDavidsonâ€™s CVO range is hand assembled by a single technician and represents the pinnacle of motorcycle craftsmanship. They are also strictly limited edition, and in the form of the new FLSTSE 3, very cool too. It comes fitted with an iPod nano, which pumps sound through 3.5 inch speakers. harley-davidson.com
The last time Faberge Boutique released a collection of egg pendants was in 1917. This month they debut exactly that once more, with the one-ofa-kind jewels ranging in style and price, from $100,000 to $600,000. faberge.com
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Best in Show
Vieux Port in Cannes welcomes over 470 boats (140 of them new models) and hundreds of boating enthusiasts from across the globe during the second week of September for the Festival de la Plaisance. AIR takes a sneak peak at the best yachts to be showcased there…
sunseeker 40 meter Ultra-modern in style, this king of the sea is perfect for entertaining – it sleeps up to 12 guests and has space for seven members of crew. Design highlights include automated balconies off of the master suite and main deck. sunseeker.com
Bonhams will hold its fourteenth Collectors’ Motorcars auction in Carmel, California on August 18-19. Included in the line up of timeless classics up for grabs is a 1963 RollsRoyce Silver Cloud III (estimate $475,000550,000), a 1959 Sadler-Meyer Special (pictured), which is expected to achieve $650,000-750,000. and a 1979 BMW M1 Pro-car painted to the Frank Stella ‘Polar Coordinates’ design and offered for sale directly from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. bonhams.com
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Ferretti Custom Line 100 This speedy custom model – it’ll top 26 knots when at full throttle – boasts five cabins and a modern design with minimalist features that account for it being exceptionally spacious inside. customline-yacht.com
Is there any mistaking Andy Warhol’s distinctive pop-art style? See it at its glamorous best in Warhol and the Diva, a new exhibition of his life’s finest work at Manchester’s The Lowry. The vibrant round-up catalogues his most famous subjects – think Marilyn Monroe, Debbie Harry and show stopper Liza Minnelli – along with rarely seen additions like actress Jane Fonda. An alluringly good show of history’s greatest divas. Runs until September 25. thelowry.com
James Bond’s issued firearm, the Walther PPK, can now be worn as an adornment to your shirt. These gun-shaped cufflinks have been hand carved in onyx and mounted on 18k white gold at a cost of $6,900. longmire.co.uk
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The main evenT The english Premier league KicKs Off, england, august 13 Cynicism. The 2011/12 English Premiership kicks off with the feeling prevalent among the league’s leading clubs as UEFA’s imposed financial fair play rules come into force. Designed to curb the influence of super rich owners and deter clubs from operating in the red, UEFA hopes its rules will effectively implement a culture in which teams spend within means earned from the ‘pure’ football aspects of their business; gate receipts, TV deals, sponsorship. The rules, though, seem set in jelly, not stone, and so on the eve of their introduction the air of ambiguity they’ve created has been filled by the sound of rival managers and chairman sniping at one another, as England’s old guard of successful clubs battle the wealthy new amid a hail of thinly-veiled accusations. Will everyone play ball or will the rules be bent to suit? That’s the question at the heart of the verbal spat. And with Arsene Wenger at the heart of it, you can expect the quarrel to rumble on from here.
Can they kiCk it? Where Adidas failed with the unpredictable wobble of the Jabulani World Cup ball, Nike hopes to triumph with the straight-as-an-arrow flight of their T90 Seitiro, the official ball of the 2011/12 English Premier League. Not that it will be any easier for goalkeepers to handle (Heurelho Gomes, look away now): its perfect roundness allows the ball to fly faster.
if football teams were built on stats… This would be The Premiership’s dream XI
1. Hart (Man City) England’s number one had the best shots-to-save ratio. 2. evatt (Blackpool) Little known Evatt made more clearances than any of the league’s big-name defenders. 3. Baines (Everton) Marauding forward from left back, Baines put in the highest amount of crosses from open play (249). 4. skrteL (Liverpool) Mr. Consistency (in terms of turning up, at least) played every second of the season. 5. LuCas (Liverpool) With a total of 101, the much maligned Brazilian made the highest number of successful tackles. 6. n’ZogBia (Wigan) Wigan’s wide boy attempted more dribbles (301) than anyone else.
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7. Barton (Newcastle) The bad boy Scouser contributed the most goal assists from open play. 8. murpHy (Fulham) Always in the thick of it, the midfield man touched the ball more than any other outfield player. 9. nani (Man Utd) Nani had his best season in 2010/11, making more assists (14) than any of the league’s other playmakers. 10. nasri (Arsenal) At 65.4% Arsenal’s unsettled Frenchman had the league’s best goal-to-shot ratio. 11. van persie (Arsenal) Despite being well down the list of top scorers, Arsenal’s injury-prone striker found the net every 98.2 minutes, making him the league’s most prolific marksman.
Embrace Nature. Choose Cotton.
Photographer: Beate Hansen; ÂŠ 2010. Model: Anastassija. Jeans by Goldsign and Blouse by Sabine Mescher
How do CHina’s wealtHy elite spend tHeir money ? As highend brands flock to China and the rest of the world queues up to court its travellers, Jade Bremner talks to Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun Report, China’s version of the Forbes Rich List, to find out about the country’s new found obsession with luxury...
he door to China’s free market was effectively kicked open in 1978. It is now home to the largest number of self-made millionaires in the world. Yet the majority of China’s entrepreneurs have only found their wealth in the last 10 years, meaning published research into how this nouveau riche spend their money has been in short supply. Last month, though, the Hurun Report released The Chinese Luxury Traveller White Paper, a report based on one-to-one interviews with China’s millionaires and billionaires that details their brand and purchase preferences.
As a result of China’s booming wealth the nation has been “a saviour for many luxury brands,” claims Rupert Hoogewerf, foundereditor of the Hurun Report, “it is the number one fastest growing market and there has been a surge of interest in everything from collecting art to watches.” Luxury brands the world over are desperately trying to get a name in China, furious marketing campaigns are taking place, companies are frantically opening and existing chains are tailoring their services to suit this expanding market.
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Taking hotels as an example, it’s predicted there will be 100 million outbound travellers by 2015 and if a hotel brand can make its mark on China’s mainland in the meantime they’ll attract these Chinese travellers internationally. “If you’re Chinese and love the Shangri-La or the Hyatt in China, the chances are you’ll stay with that hotel brand in Dubai or London or New York,” explains Rupert. In the report the Shangri-La topped the Best Luxury Hotel Brand poll, while Hilton came in second and the Park Hyatt third. In an attempt to catch up, global hotel brand Starwood has since released its worldwide
‘They’re not just looking to buy the most expensive thing on the market, they’re looking for the best and most suitable’
Personalised Travel Programme. Specifically tailored to rich Chinese travellers, it includes things like ‘Comforts of Home’ and ‘Familiar Foods’, including ‘tea kettles, slippers, instant noodles.’ While such simplistic marketing initiatives may work, there is a more traditional way to curry favour. “Societies such as China are all about connections. Fostering those connections through corporate gifts is a nice way to maintain relationships,” says Hoogewerf. “In the old days these gifts would be given in the form of cigarettes, and now that’s turning in to luxury brands. They’ve taken over the old custom of giving an unbranded packet of smokes.” What’s also clear from the report is that Chinese entrepreneurs are trying to turn their new money into old money; they’re trying to appear more sophisticated. They’re not just looking to buy the most expensive thing on the market they’re looking for the best and most suitable. “You have to treat the Chinese market as a younger consumer group, so they are 15 years younger than their years would be in the West,” continues Hoogewerf. “The Chinese are becoming a lot more conscious of their own style, whereas before – let’s take the example of property – if people bought a new flat they would buy it kitted out. Now we are beginning to see people buy new flats and do them up themselves. Becoming more aware of your own style takes time.” While the Chinese super consumer is evolving and still doesn’t entirely know what it wants, the opportunity for luxury brands to help mould their evolution is there to be grasped.
Facts & Figures France is the preferred destination of China’s luxury traveller, followed by the US and Australia. Dubai makes the top 10, coming in at number nine.
The percentage growth of Chinese tourists on the global consumer index since 2009.
The percentage of the total sales figure that Chinese visitors accounted for at Burberry’s London stores.
The average amount investors from mainland China spent per luxury property in London between February 2010 and February 2011, the highest spend of any nationality.
$13bn The amount spent last year by Chinese travellers on luxury goods in destinations outside of China.
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Film Sarah’s Key Dir. Gilles Paquet-Brenner Based on the novel by Tatiana de Rosney, this is a story told in two timeframes about a Parisianjournalist (Scott Thomas) who investigates a shocking event in history and in turn reveals a connection to her own ancestors. at best: “A heartbreaking, wonderfully acted and superbly dramatised drama.” Hollywood Reporter. at worst: “Clunky, improbable plot developments match equally inept dialogue.” New York Post.
Captain America Dir. Joe Johnston Based on the Marvel Comic, an experiment turns Steve Rogers into superhero Captain America who sets out to save the world from evil forces. at best: “Not quite as much fun as Thor, not nearly as bad as Green Lantern.” Huffington Post. at worst: “Hokey, hacky, two-hour-plus exercise in franchise transition/price gouging, complete with utterly unnecessary postconverted 3-D.” Village Voice.
The Future Dir. Miranda July Sophie and Jason adopt a stray cat; a little ball of fluff that changes their perspective on life radically and literally alters their future paths. at best: “A wonderfully whimsical examination into the fear of cosmic insignificance that is so deeply touching and honest...” Village Voice. at worst: “Its protagonist engenders no sympathy, in fact the opposite.” Reeling Reviews.
Friends with Benefits Dir. Will Gluck Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis star in this romantic comedy with Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Patricia Clarkson, where a male and female friend enter into a grey area between friendship and relationship. As things grow complicated the scenarios to arise between the pair become funnier – and more cringe-worthy. at best: “Timberlake and Kunis make for engaging leads in this unexpectedly fresh R-rated comedy.” Hollywood Reporter. at worst: “The script exhausts its originality awfully quickly, with subsequent hookups recycling jokes from other movies.” Variety.
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Images: Les Rencontres d’Arles
Art The annual prestigious Les Rencontres d’Arles photography exhibition takes place in Southern France until September 18, including over 50 installations in venues around Arles. One particular exhibition ‘From Here On’ showcases a collaborative effort from a number of photographers including Brit Martin Parr and Clément Chéroux, head of photography at the Centre Pompidou. Together, the artists compiled stills from the internet before editing them to create a collection of diverse, provocative images. Francis Hodgson of the Financial Times reports on how French multimedia artist Thomas Mailaender ‘installed a group of some hundred images in a chicken run.’ ‘It is hard to know which are the more bemused, the visitors to the show or the chickens,’ he says. Though Hodgson deems many of the exhibition’s work to be ‘either pretentious or rude in a childish and predictable way,’ he urges art-goers to look on Graciela Iturbide’s Mexican-themed exhibit: ‘It is, without question, one of the highlights of this year’s Rencontres d’Arles,’ he muses. Here, Iturbide displays portraits of revolutionary leaders Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. ‘Beautifully curated and produced, it does what a good retrospective should,’ comments Hodgson. ‘It elevates Iturbide above the already very high status she had before.’ The Observer’s Sean O’Hagan believes Les Rencontres d’Arles ‘makes for a sometimes uneasy mix of the serious and the willfully amateur,’ but agrees a trip should be made for ‘Republic’, the section devoted to Mexican photography. ‘The logical place to begin is the Espace van Gogh, where two extraordinary exhibitions sit side by side – Mexico: Photography and Revolution and a retrospective devoted to Graciela Iturbide, an extraordinary photographer’. Meanwhile, over in New York the Metropolitan Museum of Art opens its doors to Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective exhibition. It showcases loans from important European and American collections and features 43 drawings and 28 sketchbooks which span from the 1970s to the present day, accounting the history of drawing and its crucial role in creating concepts. Roberta Smith of the New York Times finds Serra to have ‘magnified the medium with immense black shapes that sit directly on the wall... Using black oil paint stick, he has exaggerated drawing’s physical surface, creating expanses of texture that have the rough tactility of bark or massing dark, roiled spheres as thick as mud pies.’ ‘The work on view is referred to collectively as ‘drawing’, although by rights much of it could (or should) be categorised otherwise,’ writes George Stolz from Art Review, who remains unconvinced: ‘Not all of these experiments can be said to have resolved themselves with an equal degree of success... and the show’s installation suffered from lapses of pacing and balance.’
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Books Considered to be one of the best working English novelists of the moment, Alan Hollinghurst’s latest read ‘A Strangers Child’ has a lot to live up to. Set in the early 1900s it unravels ‘an inversion of the Brideshead theme,’ explains Theo Tait of London’s The Guardian, ‘where the outsider, the stranger’s child, is an aristocrat visiting a middleclass home [the Sawles of Two Acres] and seducing the family in it.’ Happily for Hollinghurst, the novel does not fail to impress. ‘Where so many fiction writers seem stylish but austere, or full of life but messy, Hollinghurst has his cake and eats it,’ says Tait. ‘It is elegant, seductive and extremely enjoyable to read, and peppered with astute, apparently casual noticings.’ The Daily Mail’s John Harding agrees: ‘Line by line writing is as delightful as ever. A tremendously readable and engrossing book.’ In the US ‘The Astral’ by American Novelist Kate Christensen hit the shelves last month, a tale set in Green Point Brooklyn in an old rose-coloured building where the central protagonist – a middle-aged poet called Harry Quirk– is going through a divorce. ‘This novel suggests that even deeply rooted relationships can be dismantled, and that sometimes it’s best to just cut your losses,’ comments Alice Gregory of Oprah Magazine. ‘Harry reflects on his marriage’s trajectory, deconstructing its fabric to find out what went wrong and how to fix it, he also is endeavoring to engage meaningfully with his grown children,’ elaborates the Associated Press. Ron Charles from the Washington Post also celebrates the author’s latest tome; ‘Christensen has somehow – again – created a captivatingly believable male narrator, although she can’t see 60 on the horizon (she’s 48), has not been married to a tempestuous Mexican woman for 30 years or published largely ignored poetry in academic journals’. Which no doubt explains why her previous novel, ‘The Great Man’ won the PEN/Faulkner Award. Family struggles appear to be something of a literary trend as Michael Kimbal releases his latest novel, ‘Us’. As Jonathan Messenger of Time Out Chicago explains, it revolves around an ‘elderly man who lives in a crumbling house with his wife and wakes up to find she has suffered a seizure in the middle of the night.’ After taking her to a hospital, where she resumes a comatose state, his wife awakes and the two return home where she lives out her final days. ‘Kimball’s short chapters cast such a hypnotic spell, the reader is able to plug directly into the character’s grief,’ says Messenger. Other high-acclaim comes from the Los Angeles Times’ Matt Bell, who comments ‘there is a whole life contained in this slim novel, a life as funny and warm and sad and heartbreaking as any other, rendered with honest complexity and freshness by Kimball’s sharp writing.’
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theAtre ‘The Big Apple’s Park Avenue Armory has been converted into an Elizabethanstyle thrust
Image: ‘As You Like it’, Stephanie Berger.
The Royal Shakespeare Company puts on its latest production of William’s celebrated identity-swapping romantic comedy ‘As you Like It’ at the Big Apple’s Park Avenue Armory, which has been converted into an Elizabethan-style thrust stage for the occasion. Likened to Stratford-Upon-Avon’s Courtyard Theatre, it has three tiers and 957 seats and will host five RSC plays over the next six weeks. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times credited the performances and found the ‘gifted’ actress Sophia Russell ‘flat-out hilarious,’ comparing her attempt to remain standing on stage while portraying the character of Audrey like ‘watching a giraffe try to roller skate’. David Sheward from Backstage agrees, stating ‘RSC’s stay here [New York] is off to an impressive start.’ Bloomberg’s Jeremy Gerard follows suit and tips his hat to director Michael Boyd, stating his efforts working on ‘Tom Piper’s almost bare white multilevel set, and with choreographer Struan Leslie, heighten the play’s ants-in-pants electricity.’ On Broadway ‘Baby it’s You’ enjoys a steady run at the Broadhurst Theatre, offering an all-singing, alldancing show dedicated to Florence Greenberg, who pioneered Scepter Records in the ‘60s and broke The Shirelles – arguably one of the greatest girl groups of all time. Following formulaic musicals which rely on a recycled string of hits, Charles Isherwood from the New York Times believes it offers a ‘distaff twist on the recent songbook musicals’ and commands ‘a smidgen of respect’. That said, embarrassing cries for help from the cast include ‘invitations to sing along’ which, according to Isherwood are ‘flung at the audience regularly, as if they were life preservers.’ The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney unreservedly slams the show likening
it to ‘the visual equivalent of a bad covers album.’ ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ directed by Jonathan Lynn is back for another run in London, showing at the Apollo Theatre. Based on the TV sitcom of the same name which mocks the Prime Minister’s relationship with his subordinates, londontheatre.co.uk’s Peter Brown comments on its political comedy and how occasional shocking oneliners make ‘the audience feel uncomfortable,’ though he notes this adds to ‘the dramatic nature of the dilemma.’ ‘If you haven’t seen the TV series,’ Brown continues, ‘you will still be able to enjoy this cleverly written and wittily observed play...’. To the contrary, Charles Spence of The Telegraph writes: ‘with the phone hacking scandal, the closure of the News of the World and the Prime Minister’s worryingly close relationship to News International executives dominating the news agenda, the show suddenly seemed alarmingly out of touch.’ Billy Roche’s play ‘Lay Me Down Softly’ (Tricycle Theatre) depicts life in 1960’s Wexford, Ireland and adds to London’s notable billings. ‘The setting is the boxing booth of an itinerant carnival that’s come to rest in small-town Ireland,’ observes The Guardian’s Michael Billington. ‘Everything has a dilapidated feel, from the broken turnstile to the relationship between Theo, the roadshow’s owner, and Lily, his abrasive cashier. ‘Roche directs his own play with an atmospheric feel for time and place and there are strong performances from Gary Lydon.’ However, The Stage’s Jeremy Austin offers an alternative view: ‘writers should hardly ever direct their own work,’ he says. ‘They can constrict the actors in their interpretations and, as with this piece, fail to allow the story to breathe pushing plots with none too subtle winks and gestures by the characters.’
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technology ‘The TouchPad shows real signs of potentially offering a real alternative [to the Apple iPad] in the future’
‘The dedicated camcorder is dead,’ insists Barry Sonnenfeld; Esquire writer, Emmy-winning television director and film director of Get Shorty and Men in Black. ‘Now that every smartphone and point-and-shoot camera can record video, often at high-def quality, the concept of dragging around a single-purpose camcorder, no matter how small it gets, doesn’t make sense.’ ‘Unless,’ he adds, ‘you buy one of the new 3D camcorders, which are great for certain applications.’ Those who want to take his advice can look to Sony’s recently released HDR-TD10 handheld camcorder which allows its user to shoot high-quality 3D movies at home. Up until now it was highly unlikely consumers would buy a James Cameron-style 3D movie camera rig, leaving no alternative but to employ the archaic method of shoot in 2D first and then convert in to 3D. Now, it seems, those days are well and truly over. Sony’s new piece of kit is a prime example: a 64-gig built-in hard drive and memory card gives up to five hours of high-definition 3D footage, plus it has a 10x zoom to record on and weighs just over a kilogram. ‘The TD10’s most amazing feature is its flipout viewfinder, which shows you what you’re shooting in 3-D – without glasses,’ comments Sonnenfeld. Each of the integrated dual lenses (a set-up that’s necessary for shooting in true 3D form) contains all the key components for successful operation: a Sony G lens, CMOS image sensor and image processor. ‘Naturally, you’ll still need a 3D TV to show off your custom content,’ explains Wired magazine’s Erik Malinowski. But, this hasn’t stopped Stuff magazine voting the HDR-TD10 the current king of consumer 3D camcorders; it swiped a dong in their Hot Stuff awards. Meanwhile HP has finally brought out their rival to
the iPad. The HP TouchPad Tablet is one of a string of technology companies including Acer, Motorola and Samsung to recently release their versions of the technology medium. ‘This is a tablet like no other,’ claims Matt Warman of The Telegraph, ‘but it doesn’t feel as fast or as slick as Apple’s excellent iPad or its closest rival, the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Nonetheless, Warman continues ‘the TouchPad shows real signs of potentially offering a real alternative in the future.’ Downfalls in the new HP TouchPad include having to register with HP when you turn your new toy on. This is frustrating, though Warman goes further to explain its more redeeming features: ‘press the home button and each ‘card’ is arrayed in a line. Swipe up to close or tap to select. If you’re writing an email message, the message gets a new ‘card’ so you can also refer back to your inbox. This is progress, compared to other tablets.’ On the flipside David Pogue, tech critic at the New York Times, is disgusted by the Touchpad: ‘HP has some nerve coming out with a tablet now – especially because the biggest distinguishing component is its operating system.’ An additional complaint from Pogue goes to its mere 300 apps and, from a hardware perspective, he remains unimpressed: ‘It’s the same size as the iPad, but it’s 40 per cent thicker and 20 per cent heavier — a bitter spec to swallow in a gadget you hold upright all day long. It has a front camera for video chatting but, unlike its rivals, no camera on the back. It has Wi-Fi, but can’t get online over the cellphone network. It can sometimes pinpoint its own location on Bing Maps…but it doesn’t have real GPS (what were they thinking?).’
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Red hot and ready for takeoff From unknown to the star of six films all coming out in one year: Jessica Chastain talks about finally putting a face to the name
here do movie stars come from? In Hollywood’s golden age, they were spotted by the soda fountain, groomed like thoroughbreds within the studio stable and trotted around the paddock for Joe Public to assess their form. As the studios weakened and New York came to the fore, we got the rise of the Actors Studio, the method and rough diamonds such as Brando and Jimmy Dean stumbling in from the street, openly contemptuous of studio gloss, mumbling their lines like rockers at a beauty pageant. In the modern era, we have a hybrid of the two systems, oriented ever younger to produce a steady stream of teen talent – don’t call them child stars, for, in this Age of Bieber, they are all child stars or former child stars, from Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams to Ryan Gosling, all anxious to put their years in the Mickey Mouse Club behind them by taking roles in ‘edgy’, ‘gritty’ indie dramas where they take tape measures to their dark sides or saw off their own limb. Then there is Jessica Chastain. You may not have heard of her, but a lot of talented people have a lot of faith in this 30-year-old actress. For a long time, she was known only as the set of cheekbones with a funny name who had captivated Terrence Malick on the set of his latest film, The Tree of Life. He has even written her into his next, as yet untitled film. As he laboured in the editing room of The Tree of Life, polishing and repolishing his masterwork, Chastain busied herself with a series of roles – as a Mossad agent in John Madden’s The Debt, a Southern belle in The Help, Salome in Al Pacino’s film version of the Oscar Wilde play, Virgilia in Ralph Fiennes’s directorial debut, Coriolanus – none of which the public has actually been able to clap eyes on, thanks to the vagaries of movie scheduling, until now, with the release of The Tree of Life. Finally! People were beginning to talk. On the set
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‘Nobody knew what to do with me. My roles were either victims… or they were psychologically not all there’
of her most recent movie, The Wettest County in the World, Chastain turned up to find her fellow cast members doubting her very existence. “I showed up for the first read-through, and I think for them it was a case of ‘Does this woman actually exist?’” she says, laughing. “‘Who is this Jessica Chastain? Has anyone ever actually seen her? Or is she just a figment of Terry Malick’s imagination?’” With her flame-red hair, pale blue eyes, sculpted beauty and high-end surname (“It’s French,” she explains, “on my mother’s side”), she is an exotic bloom all right. You would be far less surprised to see her image on the side of a Greek vase showing sailors what to avoid if they wish to avoid shipwreck than in, say, the pages of People magazine. I am pleased to report, though, that this creature is not, in fact, mythical; to prove it, she turns up to our interview at the Crosby Street Hotel, in Manhattan, wearing a leg brace, having torn a tendon in her left leg while dirt-biking in California. Some mythical maiden. She took a motocross course to decompress after the glitz and glamour of Cannes, where The Tree of Life won the Palme d’Or, and, at the film’s LA premiere, had to hobble along the red carpet on crutches. “So stupid,” she says,
shifting in her seat. “I’m still trying to find new ways to sit.” Even with a brace, she is possessed of physical grace. Her movements flow. “I like actors who are aware of their bodies,” she says. As a child in northern California, she trained as a dancer before turning to acting. She has an unspoilt, pure-hearted, sweetly earnest vibe – the kind of woman men describe as wearing no make-up, only to be chastised by their other halves for being naive. A perfect fit for Malick, then, with his mixture of spiritual sophistication and au naturel naivety. If Chastain has seemed to emerge into the movie universe fully formed, like Venus, then The Tree of Life is her shell: a pearlescent art-movie extraordinaire in which some critics claim to hear the rush of all creation, while others hear only the pounding of their own blood. At its centre is a near-wordless oedipal drama about three boys growing up in 1950s Texas beneath the gaze of their stern, lantern-jawed father (Brad Pitt) and the softer eye of their mother (Chastain), who appears to be Grace personified. Frequently bathed in dappled sunlight, she imparts ethereal lessons about “the way of grace” in whispery voice-over, while around her rage sequences depicting
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Images: Getty / Gallo Images Text: Tom Shone / The Sunday Times / The Interview People
‘I’m not going to lie, I am a little bit anxious when I think how my life is going to change in six months’
the origins of life, the universe and everything. The film amounts to nothing less than Malick’s retelling of Genesis – a paradisal hymn that both baffles and bewitches. “What I love so much about the film is that it’s so earnest,” she says. “I find it really interesting that it’s easier for us to say something cynical – at the end of the day, ‘We are not good people.’ It’s easier for us to swallow that pill than to swallow the pill that we are basically good. There’s nothing cool about saying that. It’s not edgy. It’s actually incredibly earnest and... I think it’s beautiful. It’s an escape from ‘cool’.” Under Malick’s guidance, she prepared for the role by visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, to see the Madonnas, taking particular note of the way they held their hands (“They were always reaching with the fingers”), and worked her way through a stack of Lauren Bacall films, studying her pacing and delivery. “She was so slow and smooth and direct and straightforward, very Middle America-sounding, like it went somewhere.” She also spent three weeks bonding with the boys who were to play her sons – bowling, hikes, picnics, horseback riding. One of the boys, Hunter, even sent her a gift on Mother’s Day. When the movie ended, she was heartbroken. “I kept thinking, ‘Make sure it’s okay for the boys.’ I underestimated how difficult it was going to be for me, because I don’t have any children. The movie ended and they went with their moms back to their homes. I sat in the shower for three days and cried. I was like, ‘Oh my God, they’re not really my kids.’ Of course I knew that, but that was one of the biggest heartbreaks I’ve ever had.” She rang up her best friend, the actress and fellow Juilliard alumna Jess Weixler, who told her: “That tells you you did good work.” Chastain is as cagey with information about her family as most actresses are about their love lives. “I try to keep them separated,” she says. “Nobody in my family is an actor.” Her grandmother took her to a play, aged four. “It was the first time I realised it was a job someone could
do. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s my job.’” The first in her family to go to college, she was accepted at the prestigious Juilliard School, in New York, on a scholarship bestowed by Robin Williams. After graduating, she was given a holding deal by the television producer John Wells (ER, The West Wing) when he saw her in an LA showcase. “It was very oldfashioned Hollywood,” she says. “You know, ‘Put that girl under contract’.” She spent the next few years travelling back and forth between New York and LA, alternating stage work with roles in television shows such as Law & Order and Veronica Mars. “Nobody knew what to do with me,” she says. “My roles were either victims, or something horrible had happened to them, or they were psychologically not all there.” She laughs. “They were not well women.” Her big break came in 2006. While visiting friends in Australia, she took a call from her agent, who told her Al Pacino wanted her to audition for the lead in a stage production of Salome. “It was the most random phone call I’ve ever had,” she says. It turned out that Pacino had been turned on to her by a friend, the actress Marthe Keller, who had seen Chastain off-Broadway a few months before – “a little play that was getting me about $300 a week, that I loved doing. I really believe that if you follow what you love and you don’t follow the money, it all works out”. Chastain’s Salome was rapturously received. When Pacino decided to turn it into a film, he personally coached her through the tricky transition from stage to screen. “Al said, ‘Don’t ignore the camera, love the camera, be intimate with it – it sees into you more than your scene partner does. Don’t block it, let it in.’ To me, that was like a light-bulb moment. He said, ‘You can never lie. In theatre, you can lie, but the camera will always pick it up. If you’re thinking about something else, if you’re not really there, it will register.’ It becomes your scene partner in a way. You get so used to it that you forget about it, just like you would your arm.” She admits to some trepidation when she contemplates the onslaught of Jessica Chastain movies coming down the road. “I’m not going to lie, I am a little bit anxious when I think how my life is going to change in six months. I’m sure for the general public, it’s like, how did this girl get so lucky? Why does she get to be in all these films with all these great actors? Who does she think she is? But I made these movies over four years. I trained. So, for me, it’s not just breaking onto the scene. I don’t have family in the business. I didn’t have friends in the business. I have no connection to the industry. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am.” The trick, as always, is to avoid being typecast. Chastain has been getting a lot of offers to play ‘supportive wives’ recently, but trusts her more elusive qualities – or the redhead factor – to throw people off the scent. “There’s always this quality of, well, I’m not the girl next door, I’m not the girlfriend. I’m in the miscellaneous category, which is usually interesting. I’ve never been the eye candy, I’m something else.” She pauses, laughs. “I think it’s a safe bet that I will never be the eye candy.”
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Ray Connolly recalls the chaos of Apple Corps: the short, strange blossoming of The Beatlesâ€™ dream
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hen Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, DW Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks set up their own Hollywood film studio, United Artists, in 1919, the joke in the film industry was “the inmates are taking over the asylum”. That may have been a somewhat jaundiced reaction, but it was to be replicated to the very smirk when, in 1968, four other artistes created their own group of companies. They were The Beatles and their company was called Apple Corps. “We’ve got all the money we need,” Paul McCartney, then a worldly wise 25-year-old, told me at the time. “I’ve got the house and the cars and all the things that money can buy. So instead of trying to amass money for the sake of it, we’re setting up a business with a social and cultural environment where everyone gets a decent share of the profits. I suppose it’ll be like a sort of Western communism.” And, with that foray into a new strand of political science, an advertisement was placed in the underground bugle of the day, the International Times, inviting readers to send in their film scripts, songs, poems, tapes, fashion designs, inventions, plays, electronics, novels and recordings. You imagined it, and it was sent to Apple for possible financial backing. Big mistake. Within days a trickle of hippie hope had turned into an avalanche of useless tat and dreams being delivered to The Beatles’ offices in a newly renovated Regency house in London’s Savile Row. To the music business at large, an industry not best known for altruism, this was the hippie ideal gone truly mad. If Dick James, the head of Northern Songs, the company that published the Lennon and McCartney catalogue of music, had needed any encouragement in his plan to sever his links with The Beatles following the death of manager Brian Epstein a year earlier, this had to be it. Within months the songs had been sold to Lew Grade at ATV. As it turned out the cynics were quickly proved at least partly right. Staffed by many of the group’s old friends from Liverpool, few of whom had any real business acumen, Apple quickly became a financial whirlpool as money was sucked away to places unknown. Perhaps the group’s first venture outside music, a fashion boutique in nearby Baker Street, should have been a warning, quickly turning into a Beatle-takeaway as, in the absence of much in the way of security, customers simply helped themselves to the designs and walked out without paying. If it was an omen it wasn’t spotted. As a character known as Magic Alex was given funding to build a new recording studio, which didn’t work, and grotesque bills for drinks, food, taxis and flowers began to rain in, accountants were soon trying to trace an Apple-owned Mercedes that had simply vanished off the face of the Earth. Within a year, with John Lennon joking he was “down to his last £10,000” and they’d “all be broke within six months if this carried on”, American Allen Klein was
introduced to sort out the mess. Another big mistake: Klein quickly dropped James Taylor’s contract and lost them millions. Meanwhile the sackings began: the dream was over, as Lennon used to sing. But it wasn’t all a naive failure. Apple, as a small, shortlived record company, wasn’t without its successes. For decades all Apple records have been highly valued as collectibles, and last year The Beatles’ early work as producers and unheralded backing musicians for other artists was made available for digital download. Over the decades the legend of Apple has come to be considered a kind of late-Beatles folly, and the rooftop where they played their last gig, but at the time there was something magnificently crackers about it. While all around them the edifice of The Beatles was imploding, the band and their staff still practised a continual open house in Savile Row where friends could drop in uninvited for a chat with whoever happened to be about. There, especially in Derek Taylor’s press office on the second floor, many a pleasant afternoon for a young journalist, scotch and Coke in hand, could be passed playing acetates of new Beatle recording sessions – at least one, “Teddy Boy”, never released by them – while outside on the pavement the teenage girl fans whom George Harrison christened Apple Scruffs stood sentinel. And all the time the phones never stopped ringing from around the world. On one day you might meet the very young, long-haired, James Taylor, whose first album was being produced by Peter Asher – the rumour that he’d spent time in a mental hospital before coming to England marking him as someone especially exotic; and on another there would be Sweet William and Frisco Pete, a couple of Hell’s Angels from San Francisco who were stopping over on their “way to straighten out Czechoslovakia”. In the end one of them tried to straighten out the Apple Christmas party, eyeball-to-eyeball with a Santa John Lennon, after which they disappeared back to California. At different ends of the many-tentacled Apple social spectrum were the well-scrubbed 17-year-old schoolgirl Mary Hopkin, who McCartney decided should sing a Russian folk song he’d heard in a club called “Those Were the Days”, poet Allen Ginsberg, pop-artist Alan Aldridge, Tariq Ali and Oz publisher Richard Neville. Every day, it seemed, young and groovy Americans were beating a path from Heathrow to The Beatles’ front door where, if they could get past the lovely but unbending Debbie in reception, they were up the apple-green carpets and into the nerve centre of what often resembled a happy and tolerant Casey’s Court. In one room the house hippie, Richard DiLello, a boy with hair not unlike a friendly dahlia, might be blowing up 200 white balloons for a John and Yoko happening; while in the press office the elderly Bill Collins, a friend of McCartney’s father, would be trying to convince someone/anyone to write about his group Badfinger, or, failing them, his son Lewis.
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Images: Corbis; Getty Images Text: Ray Connolly / The Independent / The Interview People
‘Over the decades the legend of Apple has come to be considered a kind of lateBeatles folly… but at the time there was something magnificently crackers about it’
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Then there was the girl who wanted financial backing to make nude sculptures of herself out of patent leather. What the visitors really wanted was to bump into a Beatle on the stairs. And, in the early days at least, that would often happen. There would be George talking earnestly (and usually to blank faces) about Krishna, John in a Tommy Nutter white suit ordering acorns to be planted at Coventry Cathedral in the cause of peace, and busy-busy Paul interfering all over the place as he saw his dream going wrong. Ringo was, he liked to say, “just the office boy”. Hanging around Apple at the time it was impossible not to be aware of the daily tensions. There were tears when one of the old Liverpool mates was sacked by Allen Klein, with no intervention to save him from the Fab Four; Derek Taylor’s Olympian damage-limitation exercise to the world’s press when John and Yoko got busted; and the astonishment and then anger on a Beatle face when it accidentally fell to me to tell Paul that John and Yoko were going to be naked on the
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cover of the Two Virgins album. And then there was the slamming of doors and running on the stairs the day Lennon told the others he was leaving the group. What is astonishing is the amount of music that was still being generated in and around the general bedlam. Putting aside John’s gift to the Oz fighting fund, Long Live Oz, a lamentable gift to raise funds for the magazine’s publishers who were shortly to be hailed before the courts, Harrison was playing on sessions for Jackie Lomax, Billy Preston and Doris Troy, along with pals Eric Clapton and Keith Richards – happy to be uncredited musicians when asked. McCartney, for his part, was coming up with top-ten hits for Badfinger, Mary Hopkin and Cilla Black. Then, of course, there were The Beatles’ own records from that period – The White Album, Let It Be and Abbey Road – released on Apple if only as a friendly courtesy from EMI, who retained the copyright. That utopian dream of an artistic “Western communism” never really had a chance. But it wasn’t all silly.
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The B.e.S.T. from CliniC lemaniC
A breakthrough in cellular rejuvenation
Dr Véronique Emmenegger, Medical Director
The last month of summer is still giving us its delightful warmth, but the trees are tinged with the first signs of decline and there is a peculiar sense of sadness in the air. The touch of autumn…the season of falling leaves, fading flowers, chilly rains and piercing winds. It also brings to mind its unwelcomed companions: frequent colds, gloom and fatigue, lack of vitality and more visible signs of aging. Can we break away from the weird pattern and stay in top form throughout the year? Absolutely. It becomes possible thanks to the spectacular scientific advances and cutting-edge technologies developed in recent years. Our point of reference is Clinic Lemanic, which has a worldwide reputation for its spirit of innovation and professional excellence. Dr Emmenegger, Medical Director of the clinic, tells us about their new global rejuvenation program – B.E.S.T.
What benefits does the B.E.S.T. program offer to your patients? This exclusive medical program, developed at the Clinic Lemanic, helps our patients to live a happy and healthy life by delaying the effects of time on human body. It is a comprehensive programme that puts special emphasis on anti-age and beauty. The term B.E.S.T. speaks for itself, but what does it stand for? It means Bio Endogenous Stimulation Treatment and it is based on more than thirty years of research and development as well as on the latest scientific discoveries in different domains, especially in one of the most exciting areas - cellular research. Cell is at the heart of the matter. We know that aging is cellular senescence, in other words, our cells grow old. This is also the true reason for many human diseases, many of which can be prevented and even cured if we manage to reduce cellular aging. The main goal of our B.E.S.T. programme is to restore the optimal functioning of the cells and thus help them to stay younger and healthier.
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What can you say about the safety of this treatment? It is one of our fundamental principles to rely on scientifically proven methods, with an excellent record of safety and efficacy. That is the reason why we never use animal cells in our practice, so as to avoid, among other things, anaphylaxis and infectious transmissible diseases. Our B.E.S.T. programme uses the biomaterial which is 100% compatible with the patient’s organism. It is a fully natural, non-aggressive, risk-free therapy. Doctor Emmenegger, what are the elements of the programme? This is a highly personalised approach based on scientific evidence. The programme will start with a detailed medical examination and tests of every individual. This will allow the doctor to obtain full information on the patient’s health status and determine the choices. The patients will undergo their personalised treatment for three to four hours a day. They can then spend the rest of the day sightseeing and enjoying the magnificent views of Lavaux region, a UNESCO world heritage. When the programme is finished the patients receive After Treatment Care instructions which maximise and prolong the beneficial effects of the therapy. Those who want to use their stay in Switzerland to the utmost advantage can receive other esthetic medicine therapies in complete confidentiality. Can you explain what to expect after the treatment? Immediately after the therapy the patient feels an inflow of energy, vitality and joy of life. They are able to get rid of chronic stress and fatigue and to regain a good quality of sleep, power of concentration and productivity. The therapy also has a positive effect on the sexual life of the patient. We know, that some women who wanted to have children, became pregnant shortly after the treatment. In order to maintain
a durable result, it is recommended to undergo this therapy once a year. Does it mean a new life paradigm? Yes, it does. And this is very good news. Throughout history, people have dreamed of living forever or growing young again. In his writings, Herodotus mentioned a spring called the Fountain of Youth, which allowed the people there to remain young. Other stories mentioned elixirs of life or magical trees whose fruit could make people young again. It is only in recent years that science has begun to unravel the mysteries of ageing. It gives us a tremendous motivation to stay young, safe and healthy. Wellness, anti-age and vitality become a new paradigm that goes far beyond traditional health care. It is not focused on sickness but rather on maintenance of health, youth and well-being, to prolong the actual life expectancy in the best possible conditions.
â€˜Immediately after the therapy the patients feel an inflow of energy, vitality and joy of lifeâ€™
Av. de la Gare 2, CH - 1003 Lausanne Tel. +41 21 321 20 82 www.cliniclemanic.ch firstname.lastname@example.org
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When StarS Shone Brightly Iconic stars from
Hollywood’s golden age are the subject of Glamour of the Gods: Hollywood Portraits, an exhibition of vintage photographs on show at London’s National Portrait Gallery until October 23. AIR selects its highlights…
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Elizabeth Taylor, 1948 by Clarence Sinclair Bull ÂŠ John Kobal Foundation, 2011
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Clark Gable and Joan Crawford for Dancing Lady, 1933 by George Hurrell ÂŠ John Kobal Foundation, 2011
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Marlon Brando for Streetcar Named Desire, 1950 by John Engstead ÂŠ John Kobal Foundation, 2011
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Rock Hudson for Lover Comes Back, 1961 by Leo Fuchs ÂŠ Leo Fuchs
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Marlene Dietrich on the set of Manpower, 1941 by Laszlo Willinger ÂŠ John Kobal Foundation, 2011
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How Manny Pacquiao becaMe a boxing legend By Steve Bunce
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‘It is the quality of Pacquiao’s opponents over such a long period of time that places him with the modern giants’
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anny Pacquiao lived on the streets as a child in Manila, fights for a living today, visited President Obama recently and will inevitably upgrade from congressman to presidential candidate in the Philippines in the next 10 years. His days under cardboard on the streets of the sprawling city, after leaving home when his father allegedly slaughtered and cooked his pet dog, and his improbable rise to the Philippine congress, where he is the architect of new anti-sex slave legislation, make his story one of boxing’s most amazing. Pacquiao last defended his World Boxing Organisation welterweight title in March, against the once brilliant but now slightly jaded Shane Mosley. He is unbeaten since 1995 and has added world titles at five weights since his last loss. As a fighter Pacquiao has won world titles at seven different weights and has a truly remarkable back catalogue of startling finishes in brutal fights. His savage series of meetings with Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez, the finest Mexicans of this and arguably any generation, and his cold-eyed destructions of Ricky Hatton and Oscar de la Hoya guarantee Pacquiao a special place in boxing’s history books. Last May he won a seat in the Philippine congress for the province of Sarangani and he has taken his congressional duties so seriously that his trainer, Freddie Roach, was convinced that he would walk away from the sport. “I think we will lose him to politics,” Roach told me last summer. However, Pacquiao is skilled at manipulating time and his entourage, which is a staggering moving, cooking, laughing and singing gang, now includes his political chief of staff. At his fight last November against Antonio Margarito, he hired a 747 and flew in more than 200 people from Manila to Dallas. They disembarked to join his retinue in several plush suites, where Pacquiao always sleeps with a dozen or so close
friends. The fighter and his people cook their own food, watch kung fu films and perform endless hours of karaoke in the days and hours before fights. His wife and any other women have their own rooms. As a child in the Manila slums Pacquiao slept on the floors in gyms with dozens of other homeless and desperate little fighters. His passage from six-stone anonymity, fighting for peanuts in long forgotten Filipino outposts, to the smiling, bilingual boxer with a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at $70m is one of the legends of the boxing business. He had over 30 fights before turning professional, weighed less than 90 pounds and was unbeaten, always winning about $3 and enough rice to feed the other dwellers in the gym’s filthy bunk beds. He was just 16 when he turned professional, having lied about being 18 and he was still undoubtedly malnourished, often having to weigh in with lumps of metal in his socks. The $40 purses he received for his early fights meant he could eat and send money to his mother. After 24 fights, and still when he was only 19, Pacquiao won and then lost the flyweight world title in bouts against the odds and against hometown favourites in Thailand. He was still well under boxing’s radar even when he won titles at super-bantamweight and reigned without equal for three years. In 2003 he arrived on the true international stage when he ruined Barrera in a non-title fight at featherweight, sending the exceptional Mexican staggering from corner to corner before the brutality ended in round 11. Mosley was Pacquiao’s 18th opponent since the night he dismantled Barrera; the list includes De la Hoya, left stunned on his stool at the end of seven rounds and looking like a man who had just glimpsed hell and not really fancied the journey very much. Hatton went down and out in two rounds and the Mexicans succumbed in slugfests that continually wrote and rewrote their way into the pantheon of great
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Images: Corbis, Getty / Gallo Images Text: Steve Bunce / The Independent / The Interview People
‘As a child in the Manila slums Pacquiao slept on the floors in gyms with dozens of other homeless and desperate little fighters’
fights involving great fighters. It is the quality of Pacquiao’s opponents over such a long period of time that places him with the modern giants; it is hard to mix talk about present-day and ancient fighters because of the way the sport operated before the 1960s. Pacquiao is one of the best boxers of the last 50 years. Bob Arum, the promoter who travelled with Muhammad Ali and promotes Pacquiao, is convinced that he is a bigger star. “Ali never had this level of devotion,” Arum said. “In the Philippines he [Pacquiao] is the social welfare system – the best one. He helps everybody”. The sharing of wealth is called balato and since his congressional victory it has become a lot more serious. The people of Sarangani do not have a hospital so Pacquiao went to see President Benigno Aquino III. “The sick had to travel for hospital care,” said Pacquiao. “I promised a hospital and they will get a hospital.” Pacquiao sat with Aquino and was given $5m to start the build. Aquino had pushed through legislation that guaranteed Pacquiao and his family military protection long before the new congressman sat with him and asked for a favour that he simply could not refuse. “I want to achieve the same in politics that I have in boxing,” said Pacquiao. “I will start with what I know best and what I know needs to change.” He has personally written parts of the anti-human trafficking legislation that he is pushing through the Filipino congress. At the same time, the 32-year-old has unfinished business inside the ring and is still hoping for a showdown with the evasive American Floyd Mayweather in a fight that would guarantee the pair $50m if it can possibly be made. The partial motivation for fighting Mosley was to try to beat him inside the distance and improve on the points win by Mayweather against Mosley last year. Meanwhile, Mayweather is set to fight Victor Oritz next month. All planned attempts to get them together have sadly faltered, the main stumbling block being the American’s insistence on Olympic-style drug tests before and after the fight. Pacquiao has passed every drug test he has ever taken. “My heart is in focus,” insists Pacquiao. “I ignore distractions and do what I have to do in boxing and in life.” One thing is certain: the tiny genius with the gloves and the mission will be missed when he quits.
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Take a Bow
Is this the most fun you’ll ever have on the road?
t’s impractical, it’s tiny, there’s no luggage space, no roof and you need to wear a helmet to drive it at all. There are a number of reasons not to buy a KTM X-Bow R, but after driving the car at Estoril in Portugal I cannot, for the life of me, remember a single one of them. It is just that much fun. KTM is more famous for making motorcycles, but in 2008 the Austrian manufacturer launched the groundbreaking X-Bow, a car that would bring the thrills of motorbike riding to four wheels. The all-new R version takes the philosophy to the extreme. As I fire it up in the Portugese pit-lane, there’s even a message on the central LCD screen. It asks: “Ready to Race?” Because that’s what the X-Bow really is: a road-legal, reliable, well engineered racing car for the road. It sits low to the ground like a go-kart and in the new R version KTM has dropped the 2-litre turbocharged engine that started life in an Audi S3 even lower in the carbon-fibre chassis. That engine is tuned for 300bhp, which in a car that weighs just 790kg is an awful lot. The car is pared to the bare bone, even the bodywork is limited to just a few carefully chosen panels bonded to the chassis, the seats are plastic and there are no creature comforts. There isn’t even traction control. I lower the visor on my full face helmet as I exit the pit-lane at Estoril and bury the throttle. The results are frankly incredible. The car blasts from a standing start and storms through the six gears to its top speed of 232kph, but the open cockpit makes it feel even faster as the wind beats against my helmet and the two-litre screams through the trumpet-style exhaust mounted just inches from my head. I can see the outboard suspension doing its work at the front, too, each wheel skipping off kerbs. On track it is simply brilliant, running rings around cars five times the price with three times the power, thanks to the incredible cornering skills that come through a lightweight frame, Michelin slick tyres and the downforce generated by pronounced wings on the front and rear. The tiny proportions mean it’s easy to place, too, and will feel even faster on a tight road. It’s also forgiving and friendly enough to really push it. While the likes of Koenigsegg’s Agera always have too much power available, the X-Bow is just as fast but much more fun. It is simply incredible how late I can brake, how fast I can throw the car into the bend and how much power it will take on the way out. It will drift, too, arcing gracefully through bends and leaving trails of black rubber. And all the time I’m outside, sitting on the car like a motorbike, steering it with the fingertips and ripping through the six-speed gearbox on the straights. It is absolutely immense fun. The gearbox comes from Audi, which makes it as
easy to handle as a rental car, and just as reliable, but it comes with all the racing touches of the best supercar; things like horizontal shock absorbers, the carbon chassis and the detachable steering wheel with indicators, lights and stopwatch all via buttons. The X-Bow R is, when all’s said and done, a weekend toy for the well-heeled enthusiast who wants to drive to the track, go all day and then drive home. It’s also a car that will redefine what driving fast feels like. It’s the most extreme, best engineered and most fantastically fun car you can buy – almost at any price.
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The Numbers KTM X-BOW R
Price: $104,571k 0-100kph: 3.9secs Top speed: 232kph Engine: Audi 2.0 TFSI Power: 300bhp Torque: 400Nm
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EspEcially Four you
A four-wheel drive, four-door Ferrari would have sounded like a bad joke just a few years ago, but here it is – the Ferrari FF
here’s a hint of the BMW Z3M Coupe about the shooting brake lines and in pictures it does look a little like a 335kph breadvan, but in the flesh the Ferrari FF is a stunning thing. The design harks back to the legendary Ferrari 250 GT, but of course this modern car is much, much bigger and weighs 1,790kg. But then that’s the point, Ferrari has plenty of other options and this is for the mature customer looking for a practical car for everyday use. Ferrari says this is the world’s fastest four-seater, but it’s the four-wheel-drive system that is a real first for the Italian firm. For the most part the car remains firmly rear drive, but when the Manetinno switch on and the wheel is in Comfort or Snow mode, the car can deliver power to the front wheels to help correct a slide. Ferrari even launched the car at a ski resort to prove just how safe the FF feels in adverse weather. This truly is a supercar you could drive every single day
and when you’re not in the mood to push, the car will take care of you with an automatic mode on the seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. But it is still a Ferrari. And that means it has to be fast. The 6.3-litre V12 produces 651bhp at an epic 8,000rpm, when the car sings to the heavens through its four exhaust pipes. Ferraris emit a beautiful note at full revs and you’ll end up driving hard everywhere just to feel the sheer power of the forward thrust and drink in that awesome sound. Throw the car into a bend and it feels tight, fast, as strong as any other modern Ferrari. But drop it into the right mode and the car will pull through without any opposite lock shenanigans at paranormal speeds. Ferrari has replaced the 612 and potentially produced a new class of its own with the FF. Rivals can only include the Bentley Arnage and Aston Martin Rapide. It would leave both of them for dead and is a far more potent, technologically advanced machine that’s a true Ferrari when the mood is right.
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The Nick Hall Column
our man on the inside track
The quieT maN who produces champioNs
Sebastien Vettel seems to be cruising to this year’s F1 World Championship and could tie it up before this ink dries on the page. Once again we have a dominant force in F1, and it’s kind of refreshing that it is a drinks company in charge. Red Bull pours massive amounts of money generated by the need for speed in to its two Grand Prix teams. Hiring ambitious Vettel was a masterstroke. The German looks every bit as good as Michael Schumacher ever was, but team boss Christian Horner’s greatest move was bringing a balding 50-something into the fold. Adrian Newey is the man that wins championships. He is the design chief that has dominated the sport with Williams, McLaren and now Red Bull over the past 25 years. He takes success with him wherever he goes and has an unparalleled record for building the best car in F1. He still works with pencils, rather than advanced computers, and his intuition guides him through, as much as the raw data. Newey makes more difference than a driver ever could, he is worth literally seconds a lap and seems to find more room to move within the tight confines of the sport’s rulebook. Every year there are changes, every year Newey seems to react better than most with a groundbreaking idea to radically increase downforce, or reach higher top-end speeds. Within the F1 paddock he is treated as a genius, outside it not so many people know his name. He’s a humble man and likes it this way, but while Sebastien Vettel is the media darling, this unassuming older man is the one that will win the championship away from the track, with a pencil and drawing board.
The Numbers Ferrari FF
Price: $700k 0-100kph: 3.7secs Top speed: 335kph Engine: 6.3 litre V12 Power: 660bhp Torque: 683Nm
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Art à lA CArte
With curators fast becoming part of the furniture, Laura Binder explores the fusion of fine art and food at the world’s top restaurants.
f you’re more of a food connoisseur than art aficionado, you’ll need more than your culinary wits about you to become part of an astute cultural circle who no longer visit their favoured eateries just for the first-class cuisine but for a glimpse of what adorns the space around them. For city eateries the world over are putting their once-blank walls to more spectacular use – showcasing art of myriad kinds which – some say – places them in a newfound league: that of restaurant-cum-gallery. Such a relationship between art and food is not as new a concept as many suppose, though: as a poor and fledgling artist-in-the-making, a young man by the name of Pablo Picasso painted for his meals at La Colombe d’Or, a Provence restaurant perched high in the green hills. Striking a deal with the restaurateur, a penniless Picasso traded his handiwork for theirs. And while he ate like a prince, the restaurant’s walls came alive (and provided a convenient platform for a then unknown painter). Today, La Petit Maison’s director Bob Ramchard still looks to such Gallic etiquette – even if the eatery’s latest venue is in
Dubai. “A couple of pieces (from local DIFC galleries) are for sale here,” he says. “We feel it is fitting as we’re set in the middle of the ‘art district’ and it is an age-old tradition of French restaurants to display or sell art on their walls.” Such attention to emerging artists, like a once nameless Picasso, is a feature observed to great effect at Sketch – one London eatery (with Pierre Gagnaire behind its visionary menu), that’s happy to sport the ‘restaurant-cum-gallery’ name tag. “Every evening the Gallery is transformed from art gallery to restaurant with a separate programme of specially commissioned temporary exhibitions by emerging designers, filmmakers and artists,” explains its curator, Victoria Brooks. “Visitors can experience food as an ephemeral art in itself, whilst being nourished by the work of leadings artists and filmmakers.” For many swanky city eateries, however, where art world names-of-the-moment are de rigueur, it is famous works that assume pride of place, with modern talent only too happy to partake: Tracey Emin’s famous neon ‘Life Without You Never’ graced London’s Rivington Grill walls and
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Damien Hirst had a (somewhat short-lived) collaboration with Marco Pierre White at Quo Vadis – a Notting Hill eatery which closed its doors in 2003 but, for a time at least, sported Hirst’s works. He later retrieved them and sold every piece at Sotheby’s for in excess of $17 million. But Hirst hasn’t stopped there – clearly won over by the prospect of diners not just gazing at their plates but their surrounds too, he opened his own art-decked eatery, 11 The Quay, in the sleepy English seaside town of Ilfracombe. Such collaborations between restaurant and artist is something that the original London-based Ivy recognised from the off. “Artists have been enjoying the restaurant since 1917, when it was first opened by Abdel Giandellini,” reveals its director, Fernando Peire. During its renovation in 1990 the architect M J Long was commissioned and, together with then-owners Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, they formed long-standing relationships with artists whose work still adorn The Ivy’s walls today. “It was essential for M J to work closely with the artists, especially with those whose works were commissioned for the space,” explains Peire, “because there were various logistical and technical hurdles that had to be overcome in order to display the works in the best possible light.” Go there today and its effects can still be seen: Tom Phillips ‘Professionals’ mural in the lounge; Joe Tilson’s painted panel which leads diners in to the restaurant; Patrick Caulfield’s stained glass window on the stairs and Allen Jones’ piece, fitted into a twee corner (“M J and he adapted their dimensions to accommodate the piece,” says Piere.) Today curators have become an esteemed part of the furniture the world over, brought in to cast an expert eye over a blank canvas and ensure diners experience more than a culinary journey as they pull up a pew to a crisp, linen-clad table – a visual one too. One that feeds guests the restaurant’s desired tone. Dubai’s La Petit Maison, for example, now set far from European shores, still manages to paint a picture of its roots: “The original La Petite Maison is in Nice so the art reflects the famous style of that region,” explains Ramchard. “Bright, flamboyant, playful, irreverent, abstract and semi abstract… it serves as the perfect backdrop to the Nicoise/Mediterranean style of the cuisine.” It’s an intention that’s mirrored elsewhere, as Patricia Millen – the curator tasked with The Ivy’s restaurant in Dubai’s Jumeirah Emirates Tower – explains. “This is not just placing art to match decoration,” she says, “but to give the clients a total aesthetic experience when they come to dine. “Every stage is considered. I specifically chose a large proportion of Middle Eastern artworks as this is the art of the region and reflects the region with respect. I chose artists from private collections from two major art collectors – Barjeel Art Foundation and Cuadro Private Collection,” shares Millen. “They are 20th century contemporary artworks at their finest and reflect the
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Gastronomy 1. 2. 3. 4.
The Ivy, Dubai Painting by Pouc of Montmarte, Le Gavroche Glade wall art, Sketch Dog by Simon Brundet, Sketch
multicultural feel of this country, as well as the high standard of art that everyone expects in The Ivy.” For some, the relationship between food and art remains a simple pleasure, a passion of La Colombe d’Or proportions – something that can be seen in Lucio’s, Sydney. Book a table here and you’ll tuck in to Italian fare amid some 500 works by Australia’s leading artists, who also happen to be friends of owner Lucio Galletto OAM. “All of my artist friends are very proud to have their works hanging on my walls,” he says. “We are not a commercial gallery, so they know that we hang their art because we love it.” In fact, some of the best-known pieces include sketches etched on paper or the back of napkins by the likes of Sidney Nolan and Charles Blackman. “It’s true, some of the best drawings we have here are ones that have been done at the table by the artists as they enjoyed my food,” nods Lucio. “It is a great honour for me because it means they are inspired to create something right here – I think food and art complement each other magnificently.” But while some embrace the restaurant/gallery label others believe each should serve its own purpose to the patron. After all, with egos abound, can conflict be found when presenting food of Michelin-star proportions with famous art? “No,” says The Ivy, Dubai’s Millen. “The Ivy is
a dining experience and not a gallery. But, as an artist and a curator I would hope this would inspire people to wish to have more art in their lives.” For Pierre Gagnaire, the two work together and, like Millen, he hopes they heighten patrons’ pleasure: “Sketch is a partnership between Mourad Mazouz and myself,” he says. “Mourad has great taste and knowledge of art and a fantastic imagination, and I try to be imaginative with my food. It is through these mediums we aim to bring a unique experience to our guests.” At Le Gavroche – a restaurant which boasts a long list of esteemed works, including Picasso’s La Petite Corrida and Les Saltimbanques and Salvador Dali’s Cymbeline – chef Michel Roux Jr commends the fusion: “I love art and the emotions it brings; it can set the mood of a restaurant and is always a talking point.” Yet, as a two Michelin-starred chef, believes cuisine and not art is what is at a restaurant’s heart. “Customers go to a restaurant for the food and service,” he says. “Ambience and décor are important but will not fill your belly.” But it seems diners at The Ivy, Dubai are already catching on to the artwork that follows such a famous name: “Friends already ask me if we can sit near the De Fluvias or opposite the Ahmed Mattaa,” says Millen. Making reservations may just have got trickier…
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A MAjor AttrAction On the face of it, it’s somewhat unthinkable that a country with a smaller population than the city of Dubai could contribute three major winners in the space of twelve months. That Northern Ireland has done just that, through the victories of Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and most recently Darren Clarke, may seem like the luck of the Irish gone mad, but consider this: there are close to one hundred courses in this once troubled part of Britain, ten times as many as there are in Dubai, which means Northern Ireland is home to more fairways per capita than anywhere else on earth. They’re passionate about football and rugby in Northern Ireland, but they simply love their golf. Home to Britain’s first ever golf club, the Royal Belfast Golf Club opening in 1881, Northern Ireland now plays host to some of the finest courses on the planet. Or, if you believe Golf Digest Magazine, the very best of the bunch in the form of Royal County Down. There exists no better place to sharpen your swing, but just remember to pack those waterproofs and outsized umbrella: Northern Ireland’s elements aren’t quite as welcoming as its courses.
Where Northern Ireland’s golfing greats honed their skills…
Have you played Here yet?
The Grenadines Estate Golf Club, Caribbean
Dungannon Golf Club County Tyrone
Royal Portrush Golf Club County Antrim
Holywood Golf Club County Down
Founded at the turn of the 20th century, this small, friendly club christened its signature 9th hole (which features a lake protected green) ‘The Darren Clarke’ in honour of its most famous member.
The 2010 US Open Champion started out on the challenging links courses here, where hiring a caddie who knows the lay of the land is a good idea if you want to keep your score semi respectable.
It’s all about hitting accurate drives if you want to shoot a low score on the course where McIlroy learned his trade – that’s if you can tear your eyes away from the fine views over the Antrim coast.
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There are countless courses that offer great backdrops to the on-course action, but you’d be hard pushed to find anywhere where every turn of your head reveals splendorous surrounds of sea, sand and pea-green hills. The holes here aren’t any less dramatic: the fifth sees you play to the water’s rim; the eleventh has you on a ridge like a knife’s edge; while the back nine has two holes that drop some 200 feet. Stirring stuff. canouan.com
ARC TIC OCEAN
PA C I F IC OCEAN
Cool down by hitting the slopes. Here are the places you can still ski during August (yes, really)
01. Dachstein Glacier, Austria This is one of the few places that still gets a decent amount of summer snow, with peaks seeing up to a metre of fluffy powder during the warmest season. Staff are in attendance all year round, although there’s a chance of a reduced service on the ski lifts. On the plus side you’ll practically have the slopes to yourself. 02. Horstman Glacier, Canada Head over to Whistler for sunfilled days, beautiful lakes and, of
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course, ample opportunity to ski. And once you’ve had your fill of the slopes you can check out some of August’s spectator events, including the fast and furious Warrior Dash where professional skiers set off down an extreme 3.1 mile run. 03. Mount Baw Baw, Australia The closest downhill ski slope to Melbourne, Mount Baw Baw offers 10km of sheltered, well-marked, groomed trails to suit all levels of cross-country skiers. What’s more,
01 06 ATL ANTIC OCEAN
05 SOU THERN OCEAN
it’s home to snow-drenched parks and play areas that are perfect for families, plus a friendly village complete with restaurants serving up tasty, home-cooked fare. When you’re not skiing why not try animal spotting? The area is home to wombats, echidnas, possums, bandicoots and the infamous Baw Baw frog. 04. Whakapapa and Turoa, New Zealand Mount Ruapehu boasts the highest lift access and the longest vertical
drop in all of Australasia, along with 50 manicured runs just longing to be tried. While you’re there, stay at Rimu Park’s chic and cosy lodges or, for a more unique experience, spend nights in one of their converted (and luxurious) railway carriages. 05. El Plomo, Chile At 17.814 feet this is the highest peak in the Andes and its slopes are still thick with blankets of unspoilt snow throughout the month of August. Try the neighbouring Valle
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Nevado resort for guided treks and tailor-made ski packages. 06. Presena Glacier, Italy Passo Stelvio could possibly be summer’s greatest Euro ski resort. It’s not one for beginners, but expert skiers can skim the slopes alongside the many pros who descend here to train across the season. At an elevation of 3,000 metres, between Alta Valtellina and Alto Adige, the resort consists of 20km of pure pistes half blue, half red.
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Royal Blue Laura Binder swaps wings for propellers and sails in to lesser-known Greek islets where motorised transport is banned, charm prevails and the aristocracy comes out to play…
hen planning the perfect summer escape, it’s essential to scratch the bold name off a country’s surface and delve into its lesser-known idylls. Which is why, with a tip-off from a Greek friend, I was making for Athens – only to abandon city life altogether in exchange for Spetses, Hydra and Porto Heli – an upcoming harbour on the edge of the Peloponnese – and all in a long weekend. ‘Where?’ friends quizzed: exactly. You see if you’re not a third-generation Athenian the chances are these beautiful boltholes will have dipped beneath your radar. It’s where the Greek elite
have long fled for carefree summers amid a wave of Venetian merchant mansions, startling azure waters and blue, shutter-clad façades. But, slowly, the secret is tip-toeing out… Bitten by the curiosity bug, I make the three hour boat trip from Athens in to quaint Spetses (just seven kilometers in perimeter) and behold a picture of pristine natural beauty and, above all, an infectious sense of carefree calm. The Athenians, it seems, have hit the jackpot. When I’m told that most motorised transport has been banished to the future a small sense of panic evades (where will I hail a cab? How will I get to the
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airport?) but I exchange anxiousness for an admiring smile when I see what’s in its place: only mopeds are permitted (pastel-coloured Vespers topped with duos of olive-skinned beauties) and followed by the clipclop of horses’ hooves pulling candy-coloured carriages – the island’s main mode of transport. It’s this sense of escape from the mainland that’s seduced public figures to leave look-at-me St Tropez or Monaco behind and play in private: Jackie Onassis fell prey to its charms; Errol Flynn moored his yacht here; the Niarchos family have long settled in for
the season, while most recently Prince Nicolaos (son of the former King of Constantine of Greece) tied the knot to Tatiana Blatnik. But a rich and fiercely Greek sea-faring history means that, for the moment at least, visitors largely comprise of native socialites seeking family time, romance or sheer relaxation. Which would explain why no one bats an eyelid at aristocracy: even the late Princess Diana trod the island in privacy. A sandal-clad foot on its immaculate four kilometer promenade was enough to affirm the attraction: linen-clad holidayers sat idly in the sun doing what the Greek, I’m told, do best: whiling away the day with guilt-free abandon. It’s an art form that appears at its most glamorous outside the island’s pièce de résistance: The Poseidonion Grand Hotel (where royal wedding guests and politicians rested their heads post-celebrations). The powder-white palatial residence was built in 1914, funded by tobacco tycoon Sotirios Anargyros – a man who bought half the island, largely for Athenian socialites who descended in summer to shoot quail. Posing on an otherwise quiet promenade, it’s simply unmissable. But, as grandiose as its exterior appears, inside (sky high ceilings, immaculate tiles and soft grey walls) it is sincerely elegant yet refreshingly unfussy: a home from home that feels both comfortable and discreet. We sit on the hotel’s sea-facing terrace with a feast of Greek fare before us – fist-sized tomatoes and fat mozzarella drizzled in homemade olive oil from the hotel garden. Pressing the hotel manager on the royal wedding, he remains ever the gentleman, sharing nothing but a hint at the event’s magnitude and what draws such circles to these shores over others: “Greeks, Europeans, they love
‘It’s this sense of escape from the mainland that’s seduced public figures to leave look-at-me St Tropez or Monaco behind and play in private’ the style, the simple luxuries. It’s forever a summer getaway from the city for those who want to relax in privacy.” A horse and carriage ride around twee Spetses (the romantic in me couldn’t resist) painted a picture of this understated luxury: everything you see is unspoilt, simple, beautiful – from the perfectly white cafés to the piercing blue sky and peacock-coloured sea (so bright is the combination, my sunglasses were permanently etched on my face). Our Spetsiot driver is characteristically chatty and delighted to narrate all we pass, pausing only to toll his bell, which warns idle strollers of our speedy approach. We zip past 18th century stone villas, residents’ blushes saved by blue shutters or natural stone walls which contain everything but the far-reaching arms of lemon trees whose fruits, the size of Christmas baubles, tinker over our heads. But the restless city slicker in me can’t help but wonder what there is to do – once you’ve seen the island’s Spetses and Bouboulina Museums and mastered the simple art of balmy strolls, authentic bites and casual chatter? Ask anyone and the answer is unanimous: beach-hopping. To partake in this favoured pastime there’s only one way to travel: personal water taxi by a seasoned sailor. “Go to the coves and you can take your clothes off, swim naked and nobody will see!” laughs ours: Xavier. a former Brazilian sea captain with dark, dishevelled locks (and an eye for the island’s gazelle-like ladies) who now assumes an easier way of life sailing the royal and famous to desolate bays, sandy coves and neighbouring islets. Crash the waves, as we did, to Zogeira beach (dreamily intimate and crescent-shaped) and you’ll find startlingly unspoilt shores. The reason? Almost half of the island is now owned by a foundation which forbids further development and keeps sands unpopulated and pristine. The only downside I find is parting ways as we set sail again to another islet, 30minutes away, courtesy of our man-about-sea. It’s a spot, Xavier tells us, that’s been synonymous with sophistication for decades, a story illustrated by the preserved sea captains’ mansions we pass. Pretty as a picture, the fishing village of Hydra is another example of time stood still with no motorised transport permitted, at all. It’s a painter’s dream realised: doll-like houses climb the winding hillside while at its foot boats bob at a harbour lined with cosy cafés and one-off boutiques which beckon us back to the 21st century with irresistible ease.
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‘If you’re not a thirdgeneration Athenian the chances are these beautiful boltholes will have dipped beneath your radar’
Wandering up the hillside we find that smooth cliff edges open their arms to myriad lounges and treesheltered eateries where people tuck in to sumptuous, straight-out-of-thesea fare, and gaze across an expanse of ocean that’s broken only by yachts which glide in like oversized swans. Sitting at one such al fresco lounge, with a flat rock as my seat, a sugary iced concoction in one hand and the warm caress of a fading sun on my face, it felt not far from paradise. Couples of every age reclined in the same way, the air filled with jaunty chatter – but always interrupted by one thing: contented sighs. It’s one
hell of a place to relax. So much so that, with nap-inducing jazz playing in the background, you could be forgiven for whiling away an entire day in such a place – the Greeks would want it that way, after all. After a night spent in a chic yet shabby B&B on the water’s edge, I realise one thing is decidedly absent: five-star hotels. And, with no fishing magnates gracing my family tree (I checked), I fear even the heftiest wad of dollars couldn’t convince an Athenian to part ways with their beloved holiday homes. Which is why accept Xavier’s offer to show us an emerging gem in nearby Porto
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Heli – a place affectionately dubbed the ‘Hamptons of Greece’ for its role as one of a cluster of go-to summer spots. Forty minutes later and we’re sailing in to the harbour on the Peloponnese’s eastern side and find Xavier’s word is true: Aman resorts have scooped a slice of the landscape and, on an upper most hill, a 38-room resort surrounded by a scattering of private Aman villas (with price tags of three to 20million Euros) are in the throes of construction. Curious for a glimpse of what will be the first of its kind in Porto Heli, we meet the developer’s director Katerina. Ever the Greek, her dark eyes sizzle with
ceilings (you can gaze at the clouds and let natural light rush over you while showering beneath a sky light), a marble walled alcove hugging a kingsize bed and, to the rear, a sultry lap pool shaded by signature carob trees. Pick your plot carefully, Katerina shares, and you can see all the way across the Argosaronic Gulf, chic Spetses and endless olive groves. It’s a project that’s been sympathetically done, too: huge trees, roots and all, lay dormant like sleeping lions – preserved century-old olive trees set to be replanted in newly-purchased plots. “Of 1,000 trees we’ve lost only two,” affirms Katerina. When we leave we do so with armfuls of thick honey, olive oil and mature sheep’s cheese – products of local farmers who still retain their land here. Stomachs grumbling we pass Porto Heli’s lengthy, café-flanked harbour to experience the neighbouring fishing village of Koilada (one of many neighbouring towns, Katerina tells us, that serves Greek fare to
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make your mouth water) and take a pew inside Mezedopoleio 1969. Walls are adorned with historic newspaper cut-outs and empty fishing nets while local men socialise, their skin worn and dark honey-hued. Yet, we – foreigners – are welcomed with gleeful open arms. Hoards of tapas-style dishes stream from the one-woman kitchen: freshly-plucked salads, plump prawns in buttery garlic, whole tuna fish and wedges of lemon – the most delicious soul food. Stomachs and hearts suitably warmed, we make for Athens airport: a two hour drive. A journey, incidentally, that can be forfeited for a 25minute helicopter ride or high speed Catamaran trip to the mouth of its pebbled shore. Which means, I ponder, mentally planning my next trip, you can hop from Porto Heli to Spetses, Spetses to Hydra; while away days in secluded cloves and dine in one of Athen’s finest restaurants by night. ‘Head there’, I return to tell my friends, ‘before the secret’s out…’.
Images: Corbis; Poseidonion Grand Hotel
excitement at sharing her new venture. What’s around me makes for a silencing sight: inky blue sea glistens as far as the eye can see while climbing hills and thickets of olive groves and carob trees cover the landscape like a thick green blanket. So much so, that you could mistake the emerald surrounds for those of Tuscany. Like Spetses’ country sister, there’s little here: nothing but gorgeous, rolling landscapes, woody scents, the calm lapping of azure waters and a sun-bathed air. It’s a place to sample simple pleasures, be it fishing, the produce of ripe vineyards or easing tanned limbs in to the sea. On site, a grand marble entrance is taking shape. “The hotel buildings will be arranged around a huge pool,” coos Katerina, the essence of enthusiasm. “It’s going to resemble an ancient Greek acropolis with vistas that stretch over the sea.” We enter a mock villa (each designed by architect Ed Tuttle) via a stone wall courtyard that gives way to soaring
Laura Binder reaches for the ‘do not disturb’ in the world’s most glorious chambers...
InterContInental Hong Kong, CHIna Drinking-in the famous Victoria Harbour drenched in a private infinity pool beneath an open sky is a favoured pastime of those who stay in this hotel’s pièce de résistance: the Presidential Suite. Behind its glass walls lies a show of sophistication with clean lines and decadent finishes (silk cushions in the living spaces; oh-so-comfy beds in the boudoir and solid marble bathrooms with wraparound windows). But outside is the spot to make jaws drop. Cloud-skimming skyscrapers and ecstatic bright lights are all in perfect gazing range when you have a rooftop terrace that spans 2,500 square feet. The jewel in its crown? That pool: formed from black glass mosaic, waters shimmy over a stone wall flanked by bronze bird statues that appear poised to take flight. And if you’re one for entertaining, there’s space here for up to 60 guests – which should do nicely. hongkong-ic.intercontinental.com
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travel DolDer granD, SwItzerlanD Make for its fairytale façade and you’ll discover a strong style behind the picture-perfect turrets – and never more so than in the Maestro suite. Inspired by the late classical composer Maestro von Karajan, its interiors mimic the musician’s style, a man in pursuit of powerful beauty and precision. The result is a space that marries intense colours (rich red and conker browns) with symmetry (sink-straight-in leather chairs form mirror images) for a commanding presence – it’s impossible not to stop and stare at the burnt rouge beams which support the spire’s 1899 structure. Move beneath them (neck no doubt craned) and appreciate your elevated position at floor-to-ceiling windows where vistas stretch over pristine lakes, chocolate box Zurich and the snowdipped Alps. thedoldergrand.com
YaS Hotel, Uae If you find the grid-like façade of Abu Dhabi’s hottest hotel a sight to behold, its Presidential Suite can only illicit further nods of appreciation. Gloss whites, sleek lines and berry-hued accents pervade inside, and each zone reveals a new delight: a dining room primed for 16 guests; a terrace in pole position for F1 enthusiasts; a bathroom with standalone tub hugged by glam, black tiles. But its standout feature hides in wait for the flick of a remote – a concealed indoor lap pool. Sink in day or night and bathe beneath that sparkling white grid which passes overhead in maze-like form. And if you crave yet more secluded relaxation, take the suite’s elevator to your private spa treatment room. Massage for one? theyashotel.com
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ImperIal VIenna, austrIa Harbour a taste for the grandiose? Few getaways offer a more indulgent space to feed your appetite than the Imperial Vienna, created in 1863 as the prince of Württemberg’s residence. When it comes to which suite to reserve there is one resounding reply: the Royal Suite – the prince’s former private chambers. A staircase bathed in light from colossal chandeliers leads you to its padded double doors and, behind them, yet more chandeliers dangle, golden drapes descend and gloss parquet floors feel like silk beneath the feet. Recline on its fit-for-a-king bed and request culinary fare (served with golden cutlery) from your on-call butler. hotelimperialvienna.com
shompole lodge, Kenya If you tire of gazing at four walls (however fabulous they may be) swap slick city suites for an open-air haven that appears at one with the African wilderness. Here, thick thatched roofs replace ornately carved ceilings, tree trunks pose as pillars, and a sun-licked plunge pool serves as a soothing alternative to Jacuzzis. But its au natural style doesn’t scrimp on luxury: pure white quartz form pristine floors and furniture is coined from honey-hued fig. But what can’t be beaten are the endless panoramas that marry thickets of green with untouched terrain and stretch all the way to the awesome Great Rift Valley. Go ahead; gaze, smell, touch – no glass windows necessary. wilderness-ventures.com
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travel FoUr SeaSonS new YorK, USa If climbing New York’s social ladder tops your agenda, head for one address – the Upper East Side. This hotel thinks big: Manhattan’s tallest hotel, its crème de la crème (the Ty Warner Penthouse) sits at its tallest tip and claims the entire top floor – which gives you nine rooms to retire to. A collaborative effort by three Big Apple big-wigs – owner Ty Warner, designer Peter Marino and architect I.M. Pei (the latter even left retirement to get in on the act) – guests don’t miss a trick thanks to bay windows that bestow a 360degree view. But its décor has no trouble attracting attention either: cream walls laced with Mother of Pearl, goldthreaded bed covers and a four-foot high chandelier that teeters over a bronze dining table. fourseasons. com/newyorkfs
atlantIS tHe palm, Uae If you’re told you’ll be ‘sleeping with the fishes’ at Dubai’s famous Atlantis hotel fret not; a stay in its Neptune or Poseidon suites merely translates to nights spent on lavish silk-strewn beds with exotic sea life at your feet. Bedroom and bathrooms (note the deep, circular tubs) are home to glass walls which lure your eyes in to an underwater world – an 11million kilogram aquarium whose waters shroud 65,000 marine animals (sharks, soaring sting rays, giant catfish and flurries of fish). Spend evenings in the lounge for aquatic-themed extravagance with a butler at your beck and call – and let the lady of the suite enter by sauntering down its sweeping marble staircase. atlantisthepalm.com
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BlaKeS, UK What gentleman worth his salt could fail to be charmed by Blakes’ Library Suite? Rich mahogany, brassy coppers and ebony tones cast a strong hand over interiors, while fabrics come in smell-me leathers, hand-stencilled wood floors, book cases dense with antique reads and sophisticated drapes that descend from a princely four-poster bed (in the most masculine of ways, of course). Gents and their guests will find the deliciously dark suite nestled in London’s well-to-do Kensington – in a hotel that man-about-town Mickey Rourke described as ‘My London home’ and Gwyneth Paltrow deemed ‘the perfect place for romance.’ And because some of the best nights out are spent in, room service rocks on around the clock. Take a leaf out of your chamber’s book and treat yourself (or someone else) to a wickedly dark chocolate fondant. blakeshotels.com
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LIfe Lessons What I KnoW noW
Founder of Patrick Mavros My motivation now comes from the great gift of having my four sons take on my (design) house and its reputation in to the next generation. I am very often surprised how mean and stingy some men of means are with their wives or girlfriends. On one hand they will dine out regularly eating expensive meals and drinking all manner of expensive beverages and, on the other, they will hesitate, ponder and resist spending more than a few hundred pounds on a gift for their spouse’s birthday or anniversary. This, and the vanity that goes with it, fascinates me. Always try to turn disadvantage into complete advantage. Remember the words, ‘complete advantage’. You help to solve your problems and also make the world a little better for others along the way. I know that integrity is the most important value in life. I have a wonderful brown leather travelling case I bought in Europe 27 years ago. It travels everywhere with me and at the very end of every journey it is cleaned and polished by one man alone – me. My family knows that it must never be put on the floor or in the boot of a car. Building a respected name in the world of silver creations and making a lot of people happy with what they have gained from us is what has given me the most satisfaction in life.
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POSSESSION Jewellery in motion
www.piaget.com PIAGET BOUTIQUES: Abu Dhabi: Khalidiya Street, 02 667 0010 - Al Manara Jewellery, Hamdan Street, 02 626 2629 Dubai: The Dubai Mall, 04 339 8222 â€“ Wafi New Extension, 04 327 9000 Abu Dhabi: Al Manara Jewellery, Marina Mall, 02 681 0888 Dubai: Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, Atlantis 04 422 0233, Burj Al Arab, 04 348 9000 Burjuman Centre, 04 355 9090, Mall of the Emirates, 04 341 1211