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December 5-11 2011 Issue 1475 tntmagazine.com

WIN!

TICKETS FOR 10 MATES TO SEE THE AMAZIN G LA SOIRÉE

WHAT THE DICKENS? London celebrates the life of a literary great

RELUCTANT STAND-UP Stephen Merchant on his first – and last – tour

BEST NYE PARTIES Top UK clubs to kick off 2012 in style

E S E E T G I AB

nickers k y k n a m g nd wearin a y h s g in e b ing naked, p p o h s n o a Dit


ANGLO PACIFIC SHIPPING & TAX 30th Anniversary OVER 500,000 SATISFIED CUSTOMERS HAVE ALREADY TRUSTED THEIR POSSESSIONS TO ANGLO PACIFIC, LONDON’S LEADING SHIPPERS EXCESS BAGGAGE > Free supply of tea cartons and bubble > Free delivery/collection within M25 > By sea/air/road worldwide > Money Back Guarantee HOUSEHOLD REMOVALS > Free home survey, no obligation > Packed by skilled professionals > Shared or exclusive containers > Motor car/bike specialist shippers TAX REBATES > Average refund £963 secured last year > Online Tax Pack, only 10% commission MONEY TRANSFERS > Competitive exchange rates FINANCIAL PROTECTION > Bonded by the British Association of Removers > Bonded by the Association of Tax Agents > FIDI Accredited International Mover

www.anglopacific.co.uk SO BEFORE YOU CHECK OUT OF EUROPE CHECK OUT ANGLO PACIFIC

FREEPHONE 0800 085 0355 Anglo Pacific International Plc, 5/9 Willen Field Road, Park Royal, London, NW10 7BQ Email: baggage@anglopacific.co.uk Hours: Mon-Fri 8.30am - 6.00pm Sat 9am-1pm


CAROL DRIVER EDITOR carol.driver@tntmagazine.com

EDITOR’S LETTER We’ve got two top-class interviews for you this week. TNT met burlesque diva Dita Von Teese, who was just as preened and perfect as expected, but incredibly nice with it – turn to P24 to read more. And we chatted to comic Stephen Merchant to find out how he’s getting on with his debut stand-up tour – see P32. Got New Year’s Eve booked yet? No? Flick to P62 for the lowdown on the best clubs in the UK, and see P38 to find out what to wear.

THIS WEEK LONDONDIARY

4-5

LONDONNEWS

6

MY LONDON

12

DRINK & EATS

14-15

@TNT

16

COMPETITION

18

SPOTTED

19

LONDON SOUND

20-21

LISTINGS CLUB & GIGS

22-23

CHATROOM TONY HAWKS LONDON SCENE

30-31

SPARE TIME

62

36

LIFESTYLE

37-45

SHOPPING

37

HEALTH & BEAUTY

38-39

CAREERS

40-41 43

MONEY

FEATURES WHAT THE DICKENS?

HIGH TEESE

44-45

NEWS & SPORT

46-57

Burlesque queen Dita von Teese on image, nudity and the opposite sex

TRAVEL

59-80

HELLO, LADIES

DIARY

60

NEWS

61

LATE DEALS

64

LIFE AS A MERCENARY

65

Staging one military coup too many proved costly for Simon Mann

TOP FIVE

66-67

TIPS & STUFF

68-69

SHORTBREAK… MERIBEL

70-72

48 HOURS IN... BRATISLAVA CLASSIFIEDS

74

110-113

DESPERATELY SEEKING

114

8

London celebrates 200 years of literary master Charles Dickens

LIVING

HOTSHOTS Photos: The Charles Dickens Museum. Cover:

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8

24

32

Stephen Merchant talks us through life, love and his current stand-up tour

PARTY LIKE IT’S 2011

50

62

We bring the UK’s top spots to see in the New Year. What are you waiting for?

WILD AND RAW

76

Explore the natural beauty and wilderness on the island of Aruba, in the Caribbean

32 TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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EDITORIAL Editor Carol Driver Sub editor Jahn Vannisselroy Content editors: Acting Travel Laura Chubb Entertainment Alasdair Morton News & sport Tom Sturrock Web Frankie Mullin Staff writer Clare Vooght Staff writer/editorial assistant Rebecca Kent

LONDONDIARY

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‘Of course I read the instructions – but I still can’t get the bloody timer to work’

DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Head of design and production Jon Cooke Graphic design manager Justine Mackay Picture researcher Laila Pacheco DIGITAL & IT Head of digital marketing and development Syed Ahmad Social Media Coordinator Dan Thorne IT manager Stephen Dann SALES Commercial director David Alstin Sales manager Jaqui Ward Classified Ad Manager Matt Syder Sales executives Tyler Harrison | Eddie Clinton | Donovan Smith | Michael Fair Sales administrator Abby Nightingale MARKETING & EVENTS Marketing and events assistant Phoebe Cherrill ACCOUNTS Margaret Roberts | Suzanne Welsh TNT MULTIMEDIA LTD CEO Kevin Ellis Chairman Ken Hurst PUBLISHER TNT Multimedia Limited DISTRIBUTION Emblem Direct Ltd PRINTED BY Wyndeham Peterborough Limited NEWS AAP SAPA NZPA PICTURES Getty Images, TNT Images, Thinkstock TNT Magazine , 10 Greycoat Place, London, SW1P 1SB tntmagazine.com General enquiries Phone 020 7960 6008 Fax 020 7960 6977 Email enquiries@tntmagazine.com SALES ENQUIRIES

Shhh... SECRET LONDON BIZARRE WINTER WUNDERLAND SCALA

You’ve probably seen Bizarre Magazine in newsagents, shuffled in there among the porn. It is, though, not so much smut as an ‘alternative magazine’ with a fetish skew. And, this weekend, it’s their Christmas party, an event sure to attract one of the most bafflingly attired crowds of any event this year. The dress code is meant to be anti-festive, but you should, presumably, still expect to run into the odd zombie Santa. £10

December 10 275-277 Pentonville Rd, N1 9NL

bizarremag.com/wunderland

King’s Cross St Pancras

020 7989 0567 EMAIL sales@tntmagazine.com PHONE

WHERE TO GET TNT

COVER PRICE: £1 where sold SEE tntmagazine.com/findtnt for pick-up points or tntmagazine.com/emag to read TNT online SUBSCRIPTIONS AND DISTRIBUTION Caroline Penn 01603 559004 All thieves of TNT bins will be prosecuted.

TNT Magazine is printed on paper from sustainable forests. There is no business connection between the proprietors of this magazine and TNT Ltd, the worldwide transportation group. Copyright here and abroad of all original materials is held by TNT Magazine. Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden, except with permission of the publishers. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office.

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BAD SANTA’S GROTTO

BILL BAILEY: DANDELION MIND

CABARET VOLTAIRE

If all the compulsory Christmas cheer leaves you slightly nauseated, maybe head down to this installation in Notting Hill for a spot of Yuletide attitude. Down in the grotto, the Bad Santas will be beatboxing and rapping while also rocking some festive street art. We’re not in the North Pole any more, Toto.

Like Tim Minchin, Bailey inhabits some rarefied territory when it comes to truly innovative musical comedy. Whether he’s belting out Enter Sandman on a bank of finely tuned clown horns or jamming on his six-necked guitar, Bailey’s comedy is wonderfully original and you’ll find yourself chuckling at its sheer ridiculousness.

Head along for an evening of twisted but still hilarious cabaret, in one of London’s coolest, custom-built venues. CellarDoor has a sleek, vintage atmosphere and this week hosts Bernadette Byrne and her off-beat Right Said Fred covers. And where would she be without her weird multi-instrumentalist sidekick, Victor Victoria?

Until December 10 Graffik Gallery, 284 Portobello Rd, W10 5TE graffikgallery. co.uk Ladbroke Grove

Until December 14 Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT o2shepherdsbushempire. co.uk Shepherd’s Bush

December 7 CellarDoor, Zero Aldwych, WC2E 7DN cellardoor.biz Covent Garden

FREE

£30

FREE


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Settle in for a long afternoon

PIG’S EAR BEER AND CIDER FESTIVAL The Round Chapel

If you like your real ale, then you could find yourself pitching a tent at this celebration of the best microbreweries, from overseas and homegrown alike. In particular, the festival celebrates the best Italian ales – in a country not known for its love of beer, craft breweries have exploded in number recently. It gets busy on Saturday so get there early, line the stomach and settle in for a long, indulgent afternoon. FREE

December 6-10 1d Glenarm Rd, E5 0LY

theroundchapel.org.uk

Hackney Central

BOOKS OF THE YEAR

CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL

This event, sponsored by The Economist, celebrates the year’s best books, augmented by presentations from the featured authors as well as free comedy and storytelling. This might seem like one for the bookworms but it could also be a sweet one-stop-shop for your Christmas shopping if you plan to load up on books.

If you’ve got a stack of chocolateloving friends and family, then this is your chance to take care of most of their Christmas presents in one fell swoop. Independent chocolatiers will feature alongside big, fancy companies. There are heaps of tastings and even the opportunity to learn how to make your own chocolate.

December 9-11 Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX southbankcentre. co.uk Waterloo

December 9-11 Southbank Centre Square, SE1 8XX festivalchocolate.co.uk Waterloo

£10

FREE


LONDONNEWS

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FARE RISE ‘COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED’ Commuters face a 5.6 per cent rise in transport costs next year. The Tube, buses, London Underground and the DLR will all be affected. Mayor Boris John had warned of a 7 per cent increase in September, but said a government grant meant the rise would be lower. However, Ken Livingstone, Labour mayoral candidate, said: “With some vision and hard work this fare rise could have been avoided.”

If you cross a picket line, you are a scab Jon Rogers, the Unison branch secretary in Lambeth, south London, makes his feelings known in a strongly worded email to members who went to work during Wednesday’s strike. The email was later withdrawn

WIKILEAKS PLAY TO OPEN IN CAPITAL London will host the European premiere of a play about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Originally titled Stainless Steel Rat, the production first opened in Sydney last year. Renamed Man In The Middle, Ron Elisha has reworked his play so it’s up-to-date with recent events. It will open at Theatre503 in Battersea in January. Australian actor Darren Weller will play Assange and will be joined by a British supporting cast.

ON THE TUBE

Open for business: inside Aspers casino

Bets are on at supercasino £500,000 expected to be spent on first day at Westfield venue The largest casino in Britain opened its doors last week – with punters estimated to have gambled more than £500,000 on its first day. Aspers Casino at the Westfield shopping centre, near the Olympic site in Stratford, boasts 150 slot machines, 92 electronic gambling terminals and 40 gaming tables. As many as 5000 people turned up at the 65,000 sq ft venue last Thursday, spending about £100 each and patronising the venue’s restaurant, sports bar next to a huge screen with betting facilities, and cocktail bar. The casino will be operational 24 hours a day all year, except Christmas Day, when it’s open for 12 hours. Richard Noble, chief operating officer, told The Standard: “It’s a bit like a 24-hour

Asda: you will always see people walking around at any time.” The venue, on the third floor of Europe’s largest urban shopping centre, is a joint venture between Australian gambling group Crown and Damian Aspinall – son of John Aspinall, who owned the luxe Clermont Club in Mayfair in the Sixties. Despite creating 440 jobs, the casino has drawn criticism from religious groups, hitting out at the fact it was built in Newham, one of London’s poorest boroughs. They claim it would not be beneficial for regeneration. Newham Council was awarded the venue licence in 2007, after the 2005 Gambling Act for the first time permitted the building of “supercasinos”, of which this is the first in the country.

THIS WEEK IN LONDON...

THIS WEEK’S WORKS

DISTRICT: No service between Putney Bridge and Wimbledon all weekend. Replacement buses operate.

NORTHERN: No service between High Barnet and Camden Town southbound on Sunday until 8.30am and northbound until 9am.

WATERLOO & CITY: This line is closed on Sundays.

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OK, OK. We might not be able to afford these supercars, but there’s no harm in looking. Some 36 vehicles are going under the hammer and are expected to raise more than £6m (what recession?). There’s an Aston Martin DB5 owned by George Harrison, as well as a Mercedes Benz 300 SL Roadster that has been hidden away in an Edinburgh garage for the past 23 years. The cars and a collection of movie posters will be sold at the COYS True Greats auction at the Royal Horticultural Halls on Wednesday. The DB5 is estimated at between £225,000 and £260,000, while the DXC has just 13,000 miles on the clock and is expected to fetch about £275,000. We can but dream.

Classics: some of the cars


Charles Dickens: gone … but not forgotten

Literary London Booze, movies, a pub quiz and a choir? Celebrate 200 years of Charles Dickens with a difference WORDS CLARE VOOGHT Whether you watched the musical adaptation of Oliver! in awe as a kid or you raced through the pages of Bleak House on a particularly gruelling train journey while backpacking, you’ll know some of Charles Dickens’ tales. February 7, 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the Victorian writer’s birth. And to celebrate, London has dished up a host of exciting events in honour of his work. The first starts with booze, a pub quiz and a gay choir – all laid on by the Museum of London, to kick off their Dickens And London exhibition. It examines the city’s influence on the accomplishments of the literary great and includes a specially commissioned film showing the similarities between the nighttime activity of Dickensian London and what happens after dark these days. The opening night will feature a modern twist on a Victorian Christmas – people will be greeted by festive tunes from the London Gay Men’s Chorus. Then, they’ll be treated to a performance in the museum’s recreation of a sinful Georgian 8

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pleasure garden. Rachel Crossley, the museum’s event manager, promises an entertaining evening. “It’s a one-man show with a lifesized puppet of Scrooge. It’s really fun and there’s a violinist playing alongside,” Crossley says. ”The puppeteer will be doing the first 20 minutes, which is quite dramatic as it’s when all the ghosts come in.” As well as catching one of the shows – happening at 6.50pm and 8.50pm – listen to a reading from a lifelike Charlie impersonator about poverty in Dickensian London. Then grab yourself a mulled wine from the bar and test your knowledge with a pub quiz on Victorian literature from 8-9pm, bumping into some of Dickens’ characters – Scrooge will make an appearance – on the way. And if one night of Dickens-related shenannigans isn’t enough for you, the BFI is launching a Dickens season in January, with more than 50 of the best films, documentaries, TV dramas and shorts based on the author’s works, dating all the way back to 1901. There are as many famous old favourites as film geeks’ treasures, all telling the

story of how the literary great has been represented on screen. And as always with Dickens, who was born in the East End and spent a lot of his life in London, the works depicted in the movies have strong links to the city. Adrian Wootton, the co-curator of the BFI Dickens on Screen season, says most of the great films and TV series of Dickens’ work were shot in and around England’s capital. “As Dickens was one of the great Londoners who wrote about the city, his life is forever associated with in the minds of its inhabitants and visitors who travel here,” Wooton says. “And as the most famous writer in the world in his day, he was like the first rock star, with public reading tours, where everything he did or said was reported and mattered.” MORE LONDON LITERARY EVENTS ›› Dickens And London, £10. Until Jun 10 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN museumoflondon.org.uk Barbican BFI Dickens on Screen season, Jan-Mar 2012 Belvedere Road, SE1 8XT museumoflondon.org.uk Barbican


Dickens’ unfinished final novel: no one knows its intended ending

Dickens: rock star of his day

A Christmas Carol will be perfomed at the Museum of London


HANKERING AFTER GHOSTS ST PANCRAS

5X15 STORYTELLING SHOREDITCH Five speakers get 15 minutes each to share their adventures with no scripts. At the next event, photojournalist Giles Duley, who lost three limbs in an explosion while reporting in Afghanistan, speaks about becoming the story rather than documenting it. FREE

FREE Explore the supernatural references Dickens made in his works at the British Library’s Folio Society Gallery. Delve into the writer’s personality and ideas, as well as theories and beliefs around in his day, through his musings on the subject of the paranormal. Fascinatingly spooky. Nov 29–Mar 4 96 Euston Road, SW1 2DB bl.uk King’s Cross/ Euston

Dec 10. 7pm 17-25 New Inn Yard, EC2A 3EA 5x15stories.com Shoreditch High Street

A CHRISTMAS CAROL LEICESTER SQUARE Actor/ musician Dominic Gerrard will perform the festive classic A Christmas Carol in its entirety, through the use of puppets. Directed by Tim Caroll, the piece takes the audience through Scrooge’s life by way of three ghosts. An excerpt will be performed at the opening night of Dickens And London (see P8). £10

Dec 19–23 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX leicestersquaretheatre.com Leicester Square

SHERLOCK HOLMES MUSEUM BAKER STREET According to the books written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes and Dr John H Watson lived at this address. Decked out exactly as in Victorian times, it’s a step back into the much-loved 19th-century crime novels.

LSE SPACE FOR THOUGHT LITERARY FESTIVAL STRAND

£6

THE DR SAMUEL JOHNSON WALK FLEET STREET AND SURROUNDING AREAS Dr Johnson was one of the Fleet Street greats and is best known for putting together the first comprehensive English Dictionary, which took him 10 years to complete. The walks venture out from Johnson’s house, through the alleys off Fleet Street – the historical home of London’s newspapers – and the City. This is a great insight into the critic, poet, essayist and biographer’s life. Booking not needed. £5

First Wed each month. 3pm 17 Gough Square, EC4A 3DE drjohnsonshouse.org Chancery Lane

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Work your way through the Guardian’s ‘1000 novels everyone must read’ at the Tabard Pub, Chiswick.

The fourth public literary festival held by the London School of Economics will focus on relating arts and social sciences, as well as communication through langage. Speakers at previous events have included Lionel Shriver (the author of We Need To Talk About Kevin), former poet laureate Andrew Motion and Blake Morrison (And When Did You Last See Your Father?). Time to remember the productive side of your uni years at this high-brow event, which is taking place through a series of ‘Space For Thought’ lectures, to be announced later in December.

Don’t fancy celebrating the modern way this Christmas? Step back a hundred years into Victorian London by popping over to Charlie D’s former home. Decked out exactly how the author and his family would have had it, with authentic Victorian decorations and festive greenery, it will play host to readings of Dickens stories and screenings of movie adaptations of A Christmas Carol. Sounds like a good alternative … and there’ll also be mulled wine.

Dec 13. 7.30pm 2 Bath Road, W4 1LW meetup.com/1000-books Turnham Green

Feb 29–Mar 3 Houghton Street, WC2A 2AE lse.ac.uk Temple

Dec 24, 25 & 26. 11am-6pm 48 Doughty Street, WC1N 2LX dickensmuseum.com Holborn

Open daily. 9.30am-6pm 221b Baker Street, NW1 6XE sherlock-holmes.co.uk Baker Street

THE 1000 BOOKS BOOK CLUB CHISWICK FREE

FREE

CHRISTMAS IN DICKENS’ FORMER HOME CLERKENWELL £15


A CHRISTMAS CAROL WALK CENTRAL

GEORGE ORWELL’S FAVOURITE PUB LEICESTER SQUARE

Meet at the Charles Dickens Museum in Clerkenwell for an extraChristmassy nighttime tour of London. You’ll go on a 90-minute guided journey through London via historical points, and hear a reading of A Christmas Carol. Groups will consist of 20 people.

In 1946, George Orwell wrote an article about his ideal watering hole, a fictional pub called the Moon Under Water. It may never have existed, but Wetherspoon named 14 of its establishments after it when a journalist drew similarities between their bars and Orwell’s vision of pub perfection. Spit and sawdust, cheap as chips.

£10

Fridays from Dec 2-23. 4pm 48 Doughty Street, WC1N 2LX dickensmuseum.com Holborn

JOY TO THE WORLD BARBICAN Celebrate Christmas in literary style with a festive selection of poetry and prose, read by poetry ambassadors from Keats House – a museum dedicated to poetry – mostly, but not exclusively, by Keats. Tickets must be booked in advance – it’s time for Scrooges to thaw out their hearts and get in the Chrimbo spirit. £5

Mon-Thu 9am-11.30pm, Fri-Sat 9am-12am, Sun 9am-11pm 28 Leicester Square, WC2H 7LE jdwetherspoon.co.uk Leicester Square

Dec 14. 6.30pm-7.30pm Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS barbican.org.uk Barbican

DICKENS BOOK CLUB CHARING CROSS Rock up at Foyles bookshop for a Dickens-focused book discussion. December’s book is A Christmas Carol and February’s is Bleak House. Share your expertise or gain a new understanding of the great man’s works.

LITERARY LONDON GUIDED WALK VARIOUS LOCATIONS

FREE

LONDON WRITERS’ CAFE LIVERPOOL STREET Anyone keen to write their own literary gems should hit The Shooting Star pub for a few drinks, some inspiration and some allimportant motivation. You’ll meet other writers, and listen to veterans give talks and provide tips. You can also road-test your own writing by reading it to the rest of the group, which will give constructive feedback on your work. Chapters from a novel in progress, short stories, screenplays, poems and prose are all welcome. £3

Jan 10, Jan 16. 7pm 125 Middlesex Street, E1 7JF meetup.com/londonwriterscafe Liverpool Street

Meet on the corner outside the north exit of the Tube and evoke gaslit streets, Victorian society and drama in Oscar Wilde’s London – finding out the good, the bad and the scandal.

Get shown the big literary sights of London with tour guide Diane, who’ll take you on a customised walk. Or book readymade tours like Brothels, Bishops and The Bard, which explores historic Southwark and Bankside’s connections to Shakespeare, other literature, religion and prostitution. Another welltravelled route is Bohemians and Bluestockings: Literary London, which delves into the famously debauched Bloomsbury Set. You’ll see where renowned writers like Virginia Woolf, T S Eliot, W B Yeats and Dickens lived, worked and loved. And if you’d rather just focus solely on Woolf’s patch of London, there’s a tour dedicated to her as well.

Each Sat. 11am walks.com Green Park

Half-day and evening walking tours bookable through the week secretlondonwalks.co.uk

Dec 5 & Feb 6. 6.30pm-7.30pm 113-119 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0EB foyles.co.uk Charing Cross

OSCAR WILDE’S LONDON GREEN PARK

VISIT POETS’ CORNER WESTMINSTER ABBEY Pay your respects to some big names in poetry and literature at their final resting places. Geoffrey Chaucer (the first to be buried there), Dickens, Thomas Mardy, Rudyard Kipling, John Dryden and many other greats are buried in Westminster Abbey’s South Transept, alongside memorials of writers like Jane Austen and John Milton. £16

Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri 9.30am4.30pm, Wed 9.30am-7pm, Sat 9.30am-2.30pm 20 Deans Yard, SW1P 3PA westminster-abbey.org Westminster

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MYLONDON

HELEN GEORGE ACTRESS What baffles me about London is the amount of fly tipping, I don’t get it. Just go to the dump. London’s best-kept secret is Brooks, which is my local butchers in Chamberlayne Road in Kensal Rise – I love my meat. When I want to chill out I head to Hampstead Heath. I can’t believe such a vast area is still intact in the middle of London – it’s glorious. Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met? I’ll tell you the most interesting person I never met. It was Jennifer Worth, author of Call The Midwife. I’ve just finished shooting the dramatisation based on her books. She sadly passed away not long before we started filming. Her books really put you right in the epicentre of post-Blitz London. I feel as though I know her and have met her, as I’ve been living with her stories for months now. My favourite place for a drink is French House, Soho. For when you’re hungover in London you can’t beat a bacon and egg sandwich with a peanut butter milkshake from Jack’s Cafe in Queen’s Park. My perfect weekend would start with vintage shopping with girlfriends followed by dinner at Bob Bob Ricard (beef Wellington is my favourite). I’d then go for a long walk to Kenwood House with my Yorkshire terrier and fiance. He and I would then watch a movie and drink champers at the Everyman cinema, finishing up with Sunday lunch at The Wells, Hampstead. What I most look forward to at Christmas is ... everything! I love the markets, decorating, getting a tree, making cakes, ice skating at Somerset House. I love watching the Dudley Moore movie Santa Claus. It’s my favourite! The last naughty thing I did was showing Prince Charles my knickers on the Palace stage. I was doing a show there and he came to meet us all, he was asking about my costume and I got nervous and started babbling on about how hot it was under all of layers and ended up flashing him. I don’t know who was more embarrassed. Five words that sum up London ... best city in the world. Helen currently stars in The Three Musketeers 12

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LONDONDRINKS

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THE LYTTELTON ARMS

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Inviting: the pub serves cracking food

BAR THE SCENE A superior gastropub, divided into three distinct sections, which provide ample space for those wishing to drink in Camden without being drowned in the pretentiousness found closer to the loch. There’s the main bar, a deceptive introduction with its basic wooden furnishing and window booths; a mezzanine, featuring a spectacularly colourful mural; and a funky back room, complete with photographs of the Rolling Stones, mirrors and crocodile skin lining. Throughout the different zones, the atmosphere at the Lyttelton Arms is one of warmth; from the low lighting, polished floors and exposed brick to the charming bar staff, a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere prevails. THE GRUB From the slow-cooked ox cheek (£10.50) to the delicious handmade lentil and spinach burger (£9), there’s ample selection to line your stomach before heading to a gig at Koko (just across the road) or continuing to relax in the warmth of this little gem. BEHIND THE BAR There’s a huge selection of international beer, from German lagers and Czech pilsners to American craft beers and British cask ales. BILL PLEASE Beer from £3.15 a pint; wine from £3.15 a glass. VERDICT Whichever beer you like to drink, and however you like to drink it, you’ll be at home here. JAHN VANNISSELROY

1 Camden High Street, NW1 7JE

3 OF THE BEST MULLED WINE

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thelytteltonarmscamden.co.uk

Mornington Crescent

SPIEGEL SALOON

CROSS KEYS

FLASK

Open for six weeks only in Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, this is one of the most atmospheric places to sip warm wine. There’s live entertainment every night, too.

This Covent Garden haunt is reliably serving spiced vino and hot toddies to the masses in the West End. Warm your tonsils for a spot of karaoke also here. What more do you need?

Dive into this charming Victorian boozer in Hamstead to sip not only on mulled wine, but also winter Pimm’s and seasonal ales. Head here on a Friday night for some top live jazz.

spiegelsaloon.co.uk

31 Endell Street, WC2H 9EB

theflaskhampstead.co.uk


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BITE SIZE

Satsuma: must try harder

CIDER GETS SPICY The makers of Magners cider have concocted three indulgent new brews, putting a Christmassy twist on its original and pear varieties. Its pear and ginger, spiced apple and honey, and spiced apple and rhubarb flavours are now on shelves at major supermarkets for £2.25. They are also stocked in most pubs. facebook.com/magnerscider

SARNIES TO YOUR DOOR There are some days when leaving the office for a lunchbreak is just impossible. So, for the convenience of the capital’s hungry and overworked, Earl of Sandwich, the hot sarnie company, has just launched a delivery service. There is a range of 13 options, including the The Original 1762, with roast beef, cheddar cheese and horseradish, plus a host of other combinations, including vegetarian, jerk chicken, and meatballs. They are all made with artisan bread and priced at £4.75. Put in your order by email, or phone. Yum! earlofsandwich.co.uk

TRY A NIGHT MARKET Foodies, there’s a very good reason to rug up and brave the cold this month: the guys behind Dalston Roof Market have just launched The Long Table – London’s first night food market, hidden at the end of Abbot Street, Dalston. Expect top-notch street grub from food houses Numo Mendes, Hawksmoor and more; a fully stocked bar; and live music every Friday, 6pm-midnight until December 16.

SATSUMA JAPANESE THE SCENE A reliable restaurant, dishing up sushi rolls and sobas to Soho’s eclectic diners. Satsuma enjoyed a summer hiatus and re-opened in August with a new look, branding itself as a katsu specialist – katsu being food that is breadcrumbed and deep fried. The establishment is now packed with bright-orange futuristic pod-style seating, giving the effect that a spaceship has landed and swallowed the place whole. It’s a claustrophobic jungle – although regulars are not put off; even on a weeknight, couples still walk in like they own the place. THE GRUB We start by wrapping our tastebuds around thick slices of miso-dressed aubergine. It dissolves on the tongue, the miso lending a sweet caramel flavour. Our slices of tempura sweet potato are equally delicious. The sweetness of the vegetable plays off the mild spiciness of the curry to mouthwatering effect, and this, along with the aubergine, is the evening’s highlight. However, it’s just as well Satsuma isn’t a maki specialist, because every variety we try is so poorly put together it collapses between our chopsticks. The batter is even inexcusably overcooked on our softshell tempura filling. We move on to the beef teriyaki bento box, which is a good sampler. The slices of dressed beef, still red in the middle, are a real treat, and the accompanying miso soup is also worth a mention. But the meal is let down by two vegetable croquettes, which are disappointingly gluggy. Not wanting to finish on that note, we order a scoop each of the green tea and sesame ice cream. It proves the adventurous finale we’d hoped for.

A large selection of wines and beer, including the very tasty Asahi Black – a dark variation of the Japanese larger. BILL PLEASE Starters from £4.80; mains from £7.20; bento boxes £14.50; wine from £3 a glass; beer from £2.20 a bottle; cocktails from £5. VERDICT Staff amid this orange jungle are friendly enough, but it needs to up its game before the loyalities of regulars wear thin. REBECCA KENT BEHIND THE BAR

thelongtable.net 56 Wardour Street, W1D 4JG

osatsuma.com

Piccadilly Circus

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LETTER OF THE WEEK

Offensive … but not illegal

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Sepp Blatter is not racist. colour is unimportant to him. It’s the contents of the envelope that matters

Spencer Moses was the first person to use Control-C as a shortcut

Penelope My wife told me to get our ginger son ready for his first day at school. So I punched him in the face and stole his lunch money

Haysoos Grab your taco, love ... you’ve pulled a dyslexic Mexican

Nina Gotta hate those pRicks in the city: Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world

David ‘Occupy’ Davis If there’s one thing I won’t stand for, it’s sitting down

Fenella I see Robin Van Persie has suffered a back injury. Probably from having to carry the team again

Captain Justice I’ve just bought a 3D Kindle. Or a book, as it’s commonly known

Cornelius Ryan Giggs said his thoughts are with Gary Speed’s wife, For fuck’s sake Giggsy, he’s only been dead a few hours!

Virgil Jones

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The Unite official threatening legal action against Jeremy Clarkson should be sacked. Being offensive is not a criminal offence unless it’s a genuine incitement to violence or hatred. This clearly isn’t, and even the most conservative judge in the land would laugh them out of court. And comparing him to Gaddafi is just about as offensive as the original comment. People getting wound up by Clarkson is sooo boring. Simon Bradbury, via Facebook

JOIN THE CLUB RE: The off-duty pilot who got frisky on a long-haul flight and got into trouble. To be fair, it was a long flight, he can’t help feeling, ahem, amorous. What’s a man to do? I take it the woman didn’t get into any bother then? And no, I’ve not joined the Mile High Club ... yet! Suzette La Pierre, via Facebook

CAN’T BEAR IT I see the UK has bought some giant pandas from the Chinese. I hate the damn thought that their wonderful life will now be a cage. Would we be excited to know soon we were to be locked up! What was their crime?! I HATE zoos. Lorraine Phillips, via Facebook

NOT FUNNY That silly clip of Fenton the Dog was not funny! I was stunned when I saw it in the news, and even more stunned that a longer, more ‘in-depth’ segment

about how Hollywood is apparently now trying to find Fenton, but he is in hiding. How does one unfunny YouTube clip get much coverage? It’s not news! Kristeen Peake, via Facebook

JUSTIFICATION FOR THE RACIST The racist tram lady is one of many end products of Labour’s appeasement policy that has stripped her of her rights in her own country. The government can donate billions in aid to projects worthless because of corruption and allocate more billions to asylum seekers and immigrants and short change its own citizens. The system has failed these people, their parent failed them and the society condemns them when they can’t find jobs – what do you expect? Aziza al Busaidy, via Facebook LADIES MAN /32 ARUBA /76

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Nicole Waters: If I went to sex school, I’d be A+ student for sure!! I always was a teacher’s pet hahahaha Robbie Dee: What’s John Terry doing on a tram dressed as a woman? Christian Belucky: For Xmas I’m feeding the poor homemade soup that I’m going to be be making. It’s only a little thing but at least it’s giving something to those who don’t have a Xmas to share.

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A NIGHT OUT FOR YOU AND NINE FRIENDS! We’re back! Following a hugely successful, rafter-bursting season at the Roundhouse in 2009 and the sensational premiere at the South Bank Big Top in 2010, La Soirée is returning to the legendary Roundhouse in Camden for another awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping and downright unmissable season from November 2011; after all, it wouldn’t be Christmas without us. A theatrical phenomenon, a unique and inspirational night of live entertainment, La Soirée’s heady cocktail of cabaret, new burlesque, circus sideshow and contemporary variety has taken the world by storm.

With a line-up featuring old friends, lost friends, new faces and some of the cabaret world’s favourite stars, La Soirée is a rare and unforgettable treat. Showcasing the crème de la crème of twisted cabaret entertainers from around the world, La Soirée is an international sensation. Promising a night of thrills, shocks, tears of laughter and disbelief, it will banish the winter blues and leave you wanting to see it all over again. Win tickets for you and nine of your friends to see La Soirée!

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la-soiree.com Camden Roundhouse, NW1 8EH, until Jan 10, 2012. 0844 482 8008 Photos: La Soiree

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MO GOOD MOVEMBER PARTY The Star of Bethnal Green Saturday, November 26 Photos by: Laila Pacheco/TNT Magazine

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Starting another New Order: Bernard Sumner

ALASDAIR MORTON FOR THE RECORD News has filtered through this week that Green Day’s American Idiot musical is to tour the UK and Ireland in the new year (yes, we have skipped Christmas before it has had a chance to dull us into submission, and cast our minds new year-wards). While the show won numerous plaudits Stateside since its premiere in 2009, its imminent arrival over here reminds us all how successful Green Day have become, how far they have come from their punkinfused, dyed-hair origins, but also how much these origins are missed. Selling loads of records doesn’t mean selling out, and neither does the sight of almost-40 men dressed up like tweeny-emo kids, no matter how ungainly it is. No, what Green Day’s branching out and eyelinered-insistence highlights is how difficult it is to grow up and grow old in the rock business, either gracefully or disgracefully.

NEW ORDER The Roxy, 490 Commercial Road, E1 0HX SAT, DEC 10 | DOORS AT 7PM | £45

There were splits, and rows, with members going off to toil away and tour their own side projects, but then, in 2007, after numerous false starts, bassist Peter Hook announced that New Order were no more. Guitarist and singer Bernard Sumner and drummer Stephen Morris were left slightly stunned by the news, so too the fans. But now, five years later, they’ve reformed for their first London show in five years, minus Hook that is... New Order without Peter Hook is like “Sooty without Sweep,” the former bassist grumpily affirmed upon the announcement of the show. “Like Queen without Freddie Mercury...” His feelings towards the reunion, though, would go through a variety of changes, with Hook being “saddened and upset” by the band’s decision to reform without him, then going on to describe it as “disgusting” before adding – without a hint of bitterness – that he would do anything to fuck over his former bandmates. No wonder they didn’t ask him back! Two benefit shows in Paris and Brussels in October earned the band favourable reviews, so expectations are high. With a back catalogue stuffed full of the sort of classics that deserve devotion (Blue Monday, Temptation) later-career hits (Regret, Krafty), as well as the odd Joy Division moment too, the NME-crowned Godlike Geniuses’ appearance is one of the hottest tickets in town. Just don’t be expecting any ‘special guest’ bassists to be rolled out for an encore at the end of the show. ticketmaster.co.uk

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NEW BAND

THE VACCINES GIG THURS, DEC 8. 7PM. £17.50

2011’s breakout indie-garage-rock stars shot to fame with debut long-player What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, supported the Arctic Monkeys at their enormo-stadium gigs this summer and round out the year with this headline show. If they keep growing this quickly, they’ll be playing Wembley by spring. Brixton Academy 211 Stockwell Road, SW9 9SL o2academybrixton.co.uk Brixton

SKATE AT SOMERSET HOUSE: LOVEBOX

NEVER SAY DIE AND CIRCUS RECORDS

CLUB

CLUB

THUR, DEC 8. FROM 8PM £17

SAT, DEC 10. 10.30PM £15

House, disco, techno and skates, what more would you put on your Christmas list? The first of three consecutive late-night DJ-skate sessions, Loveboxmas, features classics to get you grooving courtesy of Jim Stanton and Severino (Horse Meat Disco) and Hot Blood (feat. Groove Armada’s Tom Findlay).

Brixton’s newly opened club – formerly the long-standing Fridge – sees the two dubstep labels face off, with label bosses Flux Pavillion and SKisM playing back-to-back sets. They’ll be joined by Circus’ Slum Dogz, Funtcase and NSD’s Dodge and Fuski and Zomboy, with the competitive edge sure to provide fireworks.

Somerset House The Strand, London, WC2R 1LA somersethouse.org.uk Charing Cross

Electric Brixton Town Hall Parade, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RJ electricbrixton.com Brixton

CSS

HEROES CHRISTMAS PARTY

DJ SHADOW

GIG

CLUB

GIG

WED, DEC 8. 7PM. £15

SAT, DEC 10 £13.50-£20

WED, DEC 7. 7PM FREE

Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above was the soundtrack to 2006’s summer – as funky a floorfiller as you’re likely to find. The Brazilian new ravers return to these shores to sex things up again with choice cuts from their genrehopping third album La Liberacion, which was released this year to critical acclaim.

Egg’s resident monthly night sees established acts and newbies alike combine to deliver an aural assault of deep house, tech house and dub techno. This winter-fest boats the likes of Spain’s Uner (above), Le Jockey (live), Geisha-project champion Lottie and JoJo De Freq, back from a year’s hiatus to reassert her authority.

Bursting on to the scene with 1996’s genrethrashing Endtroducing, DJ Shadow has since hit and missed with his mix of samples and styles. His live shows have always been raucous though, and this special gig sees the Californian spinning the samples that comprised his latest record, this year’s The Less You Know The Better.

Heaven Under the Arches, WC2N 6NG heaven-live.co.uk Embankment

Egg 200 York Way, N7 9AP egglondon.net King’s Cross

Rough Trade East 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL roughtrade.com Shoreditch High Street

GIOVANNA THE BUZZ SO FAR This singlename female vocalist had already notched up support slots with the likes of Mumford And Sons, King Charles and Noah and The Whale before the release of her first single Out In Bold. But she’s unlikely to be pigeonholed as just another emerging talent in the alt-folk scene. Darker, echoing the sombre mood of Bat For Lashes; spikier; and with a reflective intelligence at work, her unique presence marks her as one to catch now. THE CRITICS SAY “A completely new and independent sound in a class of her own” Zane Lowe THE PLUG 93 Feet East, 150 Brick Lane, E1 6QL 93feeteast.co.uk Shoreditch, Thurs, Dec 8, £5. Debut single Out In Bold is released Dec 5 through MI7 Records.

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MONDAY 5 Bombay Bronx DJ Nihal, Jagz Klimax, JP, Ameet Chana and We Are The Horsemen spin funk, Asian rhythms, hip-hop and R‘n’B, plus Shide Boss and The Burban Allstars perform live. Notting Hill Arts Club, Notting Hill Gate, W11 3JQ (020 7460 4459). 7pm-2am. £6, free before 8pm.

FRIDAY 9 The Boardroom Vs FuturistiX Leftfield’s Paul Daley, RadioActive Man and Jay Blatch spin house, techno, dub and disco, plus a live set from E.S.C. The City Arts & Music Project, City Rd, EC1Y 2BJ (020 7253 2443). 10pm-4am. £12, £8 before 11pm.

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Deadbeat Disco Phatphingers provides disco, funk, electro and house. Gigalum, Cavendish Parade, Clapham Common South Side, SW4 9DW (020 8772 0303). 8pm-midnight. Free.

Cuban Hideaway DJ Rich plays Latin, house, funk and R‘n’B. The Hideaway, Stanthorpe Rd, SW16 2ED (020 8835 7070). 9.40pm-late. £5. End Of Love Jack Beats, Busy P, Mickey Moonlight, Riton, 12th Planet, In Flagranti and Filthy Dukes supply house, dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass. Fabric, Charterhouse St, EC1M 6HJ (020 7336 8898). 10pm-6am. £15-£20. Popcorn Jonesey, Jamie Hammond, Harvey Adam and Terry T-Rex spin dance, electro, R‘n’B, pop and hip-hop. Heaven, Charing Cross Arches, Villiers St, WC2N 6NG (020 7930 2020). 11pm-5.30am. £8. Salsa Cellar Resident DJs play Latin funk, salsa and reggae. Downstairs At The King’s Head, Crouch End Hill, N8 8AA (020 8340 1028). 9pm-late. £7, concs £4.

TUESDAY 6 Balling The Jack Resident DJs spin R‘n’B, rock ‘n’ roll and retro hits. The Blues Kitchen, Camden High St, NW1 7JN (020 7387 5277). 7pm-midnight. Free. Bingo Night DJs spin indie, plus Mr David Nottingham hosts bingo. The George Tavern, Commercial Rd, E1 0LA (020 7790 7335). 8.30pm-midnight. Free. Movimientos Vince Vella, Arias and Cal Jader play Latin, electro, funk, reggae, ska and hip-hop, with a live performance from Palenke Trio, plus a film screening of Our Latin Thing. Notting Hill Arts Club, Notting Hill Gate, W11 3JQ (020 7460 4459). 7pm-2am. £5. Short Back And Sides Dubstep, electro, indie and drum ‘n’ bass from resident DJs. The Nest, Stoke Newington Rd, N16 7XJ (020 7354 9993). 9pm-2am. £5, free before 10.30pm. Tuesday Night Inn Feat World Series Of Pong DJs play chill-wave, folk, psychedelic soul, neo soul, alternative and Balearic sounds, plus foosball competition, world series of pong, vintage computer games, pinball and classic films for entertainment. The Queen Of Hoxton, Curtain Rd, EC2A 3JX (020 7422 0958). noon-midnight. Free.

WEDNESDAY 7

Feel My Bicep Presents Resident DJs spin electro, techno and house. Plastic People, Curtain Rd, EC2A 3QE (020 7739 6471). 9pm-1am. £5, free before 10pm.

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Ministry of Sound, Jan 1, 2012. £20-£22 Groove Armada (above) and Simian Mobile Disco are just two of the acts keeping the party going for those for whom sleep was sooo last year. SE1 6DP

ministryofsound.com

Madd Raff Wednesdays The Heatwave supply bashment and dancehall, plus a dance session with dancehall instructor Safwaan Shoshoni of Pineapple Studios. The Social, Little Portland St, W1W 7JD (020 7636 4992). 7pm-1am. £5, £3 before 10pm. Majestic Vibe DJ El Moreno spins funky house, R‘n’B and old skool classics. Diu, Greek St, W1D 4DJ (020 7025 7844). 9pm-3am. £5. Trannyshack Miss Dusty O, Tasty Tim and Lady Lloyd spin commercial dance and pop. Madame Jojo’s, Brewer St, W1F 0SE (020 7734 3040). 10pm-3am. £6, w/flyer £3, free before midnight. Work DJs on rotation including Niyi Maximus Crown, Tuomo Fox and Kingsley Jordan Wells spin pop and R‘n’B in the Show Room, while Marlon Goodaz and Big John Freeman play funky house, bashment and hip-hop in the Runaway Room. Area, Albert Embankment, SE1 7HD (020 7091 0080). 10.30pm5am. £6, w/flyer £5, £3 before 12.30am, free before 11pm.

THURSDAY 8 The After Work Jam TC Fords, Invasion Crew, Jag 1 Sound and Patrick J supply R‘n’B, dancehall, soca and funk. Euphoriom, High St, W3 6NG (020 8993 2915). 8pm-late. £5, free before 11pm. Balada House Brazilian and South American soul, funk and house from DJ Jose Luis, plus live music from Family Funk. Guanabara, Parker St, WC2B 5PW (020 7242 8600). 5pm-late. £5, free before 9pm. The Big Wheel Christmas Fundraiser Capracara, Duff Disco, Greenmoney, Chairman Kato, Semtek, Mr Beatnick, Clause Four, Deamonds, Okzharp, Andrew, Minkioni, Thick As Thieves, Ben Morris, Tedd Odwards and Lostbahnhof supply house, electro, funk, disco and techno. Horse And Groom, Curtain Rd, EC2A 3NZ (020 7503 9421). 8pm-2am. £5.

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Caribbean Thursdayz Resident DJs play Latin, funk, hip-hop, R‘n’B and reggae. Orleans, Seven Sisters Rd, N4 2HZ (020 72841 8482). 9pm-late. £5. Din: Launch Party Pinch, Gemmy, Kahn, Kowton, Simbad, Kashmir Kid, Crypt, 2nd Drop Records and Ouzo Beats play dubstep, house and techno. Corsica Studios, Elephant Rd, SE17 1LB (020 7703 4760). 10pm-3am. £7. Full Moon Resident DJs spin chart, dance, electro, R‘n’B, hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep. Cable, Bermondsey St, SE1 2EG (020 7403 7730). 9pm-3am. £5. Overproof: Don’t Watch That TV Xmas Party Footsie, R1 Ryders, Haus, Spooky, Dan Bean & Benjamin D, Joe Grime, Motive and Tim & Barry spin grime, dubstep, drum ‘n’ bass and hip-hop. East Village, Great Eastern St, EC2A 3HX (020 7739 5173). 9pm-3am. £8, £5 before midnight. Roller Disco Funk and disco for a wheeled audience. Renaissance Rooms, opposite Arch 8, Arches, Miles St, SW8 1RZ (0844 736 5375). 8pmmidnight. £10, £7.50 own skates. Throwdown 8th Birthday DJs Renegade, Herse and Lumo spin hip-hop and R‘n’B, with host Charlie Blue. Plan B, Brixton Rd, SW9 7AY (020 7737 7372). 8.30pm-2.30am. £6, guestlist £5. Vibe DJs on rotation including Anas, Spider, Prezedent, Ice, Commander B, Pioneer and DJ L spin hip-hop, R‘n’B, funky house, garage, bashment and reggae. Moonlighting, Greek St, W1D 4DR (020 7437 5782/cc 020 7287 3727). 10pm-3am. £7, £5 before midnight, ladies £5, free before 11.30pm. Xxtra Terry-James Lynch hosts a night of house, electro and pop, plus fashion. The Shadow Lounge, Brewer St, W1F 0RF (020 7287 7988). 10pm-3am. £5, free before 11pm. YoYo Seb Chew and Leo Greenslade spin hip-hop, dubstep, garage and grime, plus live music. Notting Hill Arts Club, Notting Hill Gate, W11 3JQ (020 7460 4459). 7.30pm-2am. £7, £5 before 11pm.

The Future Now Hannah Holland, Dexter Kane, Society DJs, Tim Hilton, Funkystepz, R1 Ryders and Widowmaker spin house, garage, drum ‘n’ bass and deep house. Egg, York Way, N7 9AX (020 7871 7111). 10pm-6am. £15, £10 before 12.30am. The Gallery Marcus Schossow, Menno De Jong, Claudia Cazacu, Orkidea, My Digital Enemy, Tania Von Pear and Plastic Fondu supply progressive house and techhouse, plus Mixriot plays live. The Ministry Of Sound, Gaunt St, SE1 6DP (0870 060 0010). 10.30pm-6am. £15, adv £13, £8 after 3am, mems free. Holic & Faith Xmas Party Dan Ghenacia, Terry Farley, Stuart Patterson and Lookleft & Bearight supply house and techno, with visuals by [.hek], Kohey and KAZ. XOYO, Cowper St, EC2A 4AP (020 7729 5959). 9pm-3am. £12. Legacy Marc Marzenit, King Unique, Alex & Filip, Stu Hirst, Seb Dhajje, Audiofreak, Neil Browne, Andy Woods, John O’Connor, Mark Ellison, Sam Hedworth & Darren Lee Fenton and Robin Thurston spin techno and house. Jamm, Brixton Rd, SW9 6LH (020 7346 8920/ cc 020 7274 5537). 10pm-6am. £15. Machine Presents Kevin Saunderson, Rolando, Ben Sims, Kirk Degiorgio and X-Press 2 spin techno. Corsica Studios, Elephant Rd, SE17 1LB (020 7703 4760). 11pm-7am. £15, adv £10 & £12. Soca Frenzy DJs Shaker HD, Tate, Tyrone, Ratty, Cold Chizzle, Mr Migz and Scooby spin reggae, dancehall and funk, plus a live performance from Lil Rick. The Scala, Pentonville Rd, N1 9NL (020 7833 2022/cc 0844 477 1000). 11pm-late. £8-£16. Talking At Me Presents Cobe1 and Rita Maia spin house, dubstep, breaks and UK funky, plus Naive Machine perform live. Notting Hill Arts Club, Notting Hill Gate, W11 3JQ (020 7460 4459). 7pm-2am. £8, £6 before 11pm, free before 8pm.

SATURDAY 10 Aphrodisiax Presents Deetron, Charles Webster and residents spin house and electronica. Plan B, Brixton Rd, SW9 7AY (020 7737 7372). 10pm-5am. £10, adv £5.

BBM Presents The Loose Cannons play electro, house and tropical. The Hoxton Pony, Curtain Rd, EC2A 3AH (020 7613 2844). 8pm-2am. £10, free before 9pm, concs guestlist £7 before 10pm. Disco Bloodbath Christmas Party Soft Rocks, Ben Pistor and Damon Martin supply Italo, house, dark pop and disco. Passion, Amhurst Rd, N16 7UN (07951 529479). 9.30pm-4am. £7, £5 before midnight. Fabric Raresh, Petre Inspirescu, Rhadoo, Tama Sumo, Steffi, Virginia and Craig Richards spin house, electro and techno, plus Falko Brocksieper and Phil Kieran perform live. Fabric, Charterhouse St, EC1M 6HJ (020 7336 8898). 11pm8am. £19, adv £18, adv £23 inc CD. Koolwaters Marc Vedo, Sugarshaker, Muzz Khan, Lady V, Thomas Armundsen, Peril, Simon Francis and Vesna Angeleska spin electro, house and techno. The Whitehouse, Clapham Park Rd, SW4 7EH (020 7498 3388). 9pm-late. £10, £8 before midnight, concs £6. Pacha’s 10th Birthday Party BodyRox, Stonebridge, Jason Phats, Sam Young, Romina Johnson, So Called Scumbags, Soulshakers and Mattia Fabbri supply house, techno and electro. Pacha, Terminus Place, SW1V 1JR (0845 371 4489). 10pm-6am. £20. Rindonkuloose Mickey O spins house. Gigalum, Cavendish Parade, Clapham Common South Side, SW4 9DW (020 8772 0303). 7pm-late. Free. Sancho Panza And Leftside Wobble Present Baubles Jonathan Moore, Jimmy K Tel, Matt Brown, Geddes and Sophie Lloyd provide house, funk, disco and electro. The Regent, Regent St, NW10 5LG (020 8969 2184). 9pm-4am. £15, adv £12. What If & Mutant Disco Gavin Herlihy, Mike & Dan Cos, Lewis James, Ollie Killick, Connor Benson and Andy Luff supply house, techno and deep house. The Rhythm Factory, Whitechapel Rd, E1 1EW (020 7375 3774). 10pm-6am. £12, adv £9.

SUNDAY 11 Dingwalls Xmas Reunion 2011 DJs Mouse, Little Carl, The Grinster, Simon Moon and Rudy spin rock ‘n’ roll and 1950s hits. Dingwalls, Camden Lock, Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 8AB (020 7428 0010/ cc 020 7428 5929). 2pm-10pm. £10. The Loft In London: Winter Party The renowned New York-based DJ David Mancuso plays a classic house, disco and dance set. The Light Bar, Shoreditch High St, E1 6PJ (020 7247 8989). 5pm-midnight. £23. Momentum Sundays DJ Luigi Rocca, Tobie Allen, So Called Scumbags, Tim Cullen and DJ Waity spin electro and house. Gigalum, Cavendish Parade, Clapham Common South Side, SW4 9DW (020 8772 0303). 4pm-11pm. Free. The Rickshaw Raise Presents Lex Darker & Fife spin indie, electro and funk, plus Gwenno Saunders and Granville Sessions perform. The Macbeth, Hoxton St, N1 6LP (020 7749 0600). 6pm-1am. £5.

Photos: Xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dance Nights Princess Karina and DJ Gary Baldi spin dance hits. EC3 Live, Crosswall, EC3N 2JY (020 7488 1766). 11.30pm-3am. £10.

WE LOVE CLOSING

Etiquette DJ L, Pioneer, Dboy, Celebrity Supa & Chino Money, Entertainment Family and Flymo spin R‘n’B, hip-hop, garage and funk. Moonlighting, Greek St, W1D 4DR (020 7437 5782/cc 020 7287 3727). 10pm-5am. £12, £10 before midnight, ladies free before midnight.

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MONDAY 5 4Minute Commercial pop by the Korean group. O2 Academy Brixton, Stockwell Rd, SW9 9SL (0844 477 2000). £65.

The Quireboys The band plays attitude-driven, upbeat hard rock. Relentless Garage, Highbury Corner, N5 1RD (0870 060 3777/ cc 0844 847 1678). £15.50.

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Uriah Heep, Snakecharmer Classic hard rock by the criticallyspurned veterans from London. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT (020 8354 3300/ cc 0844 477 2000). £21.50 & £25.

Gary Barlow Chart-topping pop from the Take That songsmith and X Factor judge, in support of The Prince’s Trust. Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP (0845 401 5045). £40-£95.

FRIDAY 9

Bell X1 The Dublin-based three-piece plays indie-pop and rock. Bush Hall, Uxbridge Rd, W12 7LJ (020 8222 6955). £15. Cynic Progressive metal by the Florida-based band. Relentless Garage, Highbury Corner, N5 1RD (0870 060 3777/ cc 0844 847 1678). £12.50. The Felice Brothers The New York-based five-piece plays folk-rock. The Macbeth, Hoxton St, N1 6LP (020 7749 0600). £15. Hard-Fi Indie-rock quartet. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT (020 8354 3300/ cc 0844 477 2000). £18.50. Paul McCartney The former Beatle and singer-songwriter performs his hits. The O2 Arena, Peninsula Sq, SE10 0DX (0844 856 0202). £55-£100. Jay Sean Pop and R‘n’B from the singer-songwriter and producer. HMV Apollo, Queen Caroline St, W6 9QH (0843 221 0100). £20. Whitesnake Hard rock hits from David Coverdale’s veteran outfit. HMV Forum, Highgate Rd, NW5 1JY (020 7344 0044). £39.50.

TUESDAY 6 Any Swing Goes Swing from the London-based big band and guests. 100 Club, Oxford St, W1D 1LL (020 7636 0933). £15. Arch Enemy, Warbringer, Chthonic The Swedish fivepiece plays melodic, brutal death metal. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT (020 8354 3300/ cc 0844 477 2000). £19.50 & £35. First Aid Kit Folk-pop by the Stockholm-based duo. Bush Hall, Uxbridge Rd, W12 7LJ (020 8222 6955). £11. The Charles Hazlewood All Stars The avant-garde ensemble performs Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells and psychedelia. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX (020 7960 4200/cc 0844 875 0073). £9-£22, concs £4.50-£11.

Photos: Xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Jedward Controversial 2009 X Factor finalists John and Edward perform pop and rock from their albums Victory and Planet Jedward. HMV Apollo, Queen Caroline St, W6 9QH (0843 221 0100). £26.50, family £96. Fionn Regan The singer-songwriter from Bray performs reflective folkpop. Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, N1 2UN (020 7226 1686). £14. Omar Souleyman The Syrian songsmith performs Arabic pop and folk. XOYO, Cowper St, EC2A 4AP (020 7729 5959). £15.

Amplifier Alt rock by the Manchester-based band. O2 Academy Islington, Parkfield St, N1 0PS (020 7288 4400/ cc 0844 477 2000). £12.50.

HARD ROCK CALLING: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STREET BAND Hyde Park, Sat Jul 14, 2012. £60 The Boss is the first act confirmed for this Hyde Park classic rock-athon. W2 2UH

hardrockcalling.co.uk

WEDNESDAY 7 AraabMuzik, Patchwork Pirates Hip-hop from the American producer. The City Arts & Music Project, City Rd, EC1Y 2BJ (020 7253 2443). £10. Tom Baxter Acoustic folk-rock from the Devon-based singersongwriter. The Slaughtered Lamb, Great Sutton St, EC1V 0DX (020 7253 1516). £10. CSS Indie-rock and alt pop from the Brazilian five-piece. Heaven, Charing Cross Arches, Villiers St, WC2N 6NG (020 7930 2020). £15. Daughter Indie-folk by London-based singersongwriter, Elena Tonra. St-Giles-In-The-Fields, St Giles High St, WC2H 8LG (020 7240 2532/ cc 020 7403 3331). £8.50. Lau, Left With Pictures The award-winning Edinburgh-based ensemble plays experimental folk. The Tabernacle, Powis Sq, off Portobello Rd, W11 2AY (020 7221 9700). £13.50-£16.50. Malcolm Middleton, Human Don’t Be Angry Alt pop by the Falkirk-based singer-songwriter. Shacklewell Arms, Shacklewell Ln, E8 2EB (020 7249 0810). £14.50. The Swellers Pop-punk band from Michigan. The Borderline, Orange Yard, Manette St, W1D 4JB (0870 060 3777/ cc 0871 231 0842). £11. The Vaccines The Londonbased four-piece plays anthemic indie. O2 Academy Brixton, Stockwell Rd, SW9 9SL (0844 477 2000). £17.50. Ashley Walters, Tyler Daley, Levelle London, Kieron Boothe, Lauran Alexandria, Steeze Kids Hip-hop from the London-based rapper and actor. Dingwalls, Camden Lock, Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 8AB (020 7428 0010/cc 020 7428 5929). £10. Xtatic Soul and funk outfit fronted by Vanessa Haynes. Dover St Restaurant And Bar, Dover St, W1S 4LQ (020 7629 9813). £8, free before 10pm.

Hyde Park Corner

Zebrahead, Army Of Freshmen, Attack! Attack! Pop-punk from the Californian fivepiece. O2 Academy Islington, Parkfield St, N1 0PS (020 7288 4400/ cc 0844 477 2000). £12.

THURSDAY 8 Bryan Adams The awardwinning Canadian singersongwriter plays acoustic rock. The O2 Arena, Peninsula Sq, SE10 0DX (0844 856 0202). £38.50-£45. Beardyman Beatboxing and hip-hop by the artist from Brighton. Electric Brixton, Town Hall Parade, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RJ (020 7274 2290). £15. Electric Six, Swound The Detroit garage-punks play Danger! High Voltage, Gay Bar and other indie hits. O2 Academy Islington, Parkfield St, N1 0PS (020 7288 4400/ cc 0844 477 2000). £12.50. Boy George, Hollie Cook Classic pop by the ex-Culture Club singer and DJ. HMV Forum, Highgate Rd, NW5 1JY (020 7344 0044). £25-£30. Justice Tonight: Mick Jones, Pete Wylie, The Farm The former Clash guitarist and Big Audio Dynamite plays punk and rock in support of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. Also appearing, members of Primal Scream. The Scala, Pentonville Rd, N1 9NL (020 7833 2022/ cc 0844 477 1000). £17.50. The Leisure Society And Heritage Orchestra The Londonbased indie-folk outfit performs music from its albums Into The Murky Water and The Sleeper, with accompaniment from the orchestra. Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS (020 7638 8891). £15-£20. Rory McLeod Folk singersongwriter and storyteller. The Green Note Cafe, Parkway, NW1 7AN (020 7485 9899). £14. Mull Historical Society Singer-songwriter and multiinstrumentalist Colin MacIntyre plays indie. Bush Hall, Uxbridge Rd, W12 7LJ (020 8222 6955). £14.

The Big Pink Electro-rock by the London-based duo. Shacklewell Arms, Shacklewell Ln, E8 2EB (020 7249 0810). £12.50. Melanie C, Parade Pop from the former Spice Girl. The Scala, Pentonville Rd, N1 9NL (020 7833 2022/ cc 0844 477 1000). £16.50.

SATURDAY 10 Corrina Greyson, Nathan Watson The vocalist sings soul and funk. Floridita, Wardour St, W1F 0TN (020 7314 4042). £10-£20. Guana Batz The outfit plays psychobilly. Relentless Garage, Highbury Corner, N5 1RD (0870 060 3777/ cc 0844 847 1678). £15. Hawkwind Ultimate spacerock pioneers. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT (020 8354 3300/ cc 0844 477 2000). £22. IQ The 1980s band plays progressive rock. O2 Academy Islington, Parkfield St, N1 0PS (020 7288 4400/cc 0844 477 2000). £18. KFT The Budapest-based fourpiece plays pop-rock. 229 The Venue, Great Portland St, W1W 5PW (020 7323 7229). £25, adv £19. New Order Electronica and new wave from Bernard Sumner’s reunited outfit. Troxy, Commercial Rd, E1 0HX (020 7748 2728). £32.50.

Coldplay, Emeli Sande Chris Martin’s world-conquering outfit performs pop-rock and indie in support of the album Mylo Xyloto. The O2 Arena, Peninsula Sq, SE10 0DX (0844 856 0202). £47.50-£65.

Alexander O’Neal Soul and R‘n’B from the American singer. Islington Town Hall, Upper St, N1 2UD (020 7527 2000). £32.50.

The Drums The New York-based four-piece plays post-punk. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT (020 8354 3300/ cc 0844 477 2000). £13.50.

Dan Reed Electroacoustica and rock from the American singer-songwriter and musician. Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, N1 2UN (020 7226 1686). £17.50.

Eddie & The Hot Rods, Members Pub rock and proto-punk by the Canvey Island-based combo. The Borderline, Orange Yard, Manette St, W1D 4JB (0870 060 3777/ cc 0871 231 0842). £15.50.

She’Koyokh The award-winning klezmer ensemble from London plays Jewish, Eastern European, Balkan and Turkish music. St Ethelburga’s, Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AG (020 7496 1610). £12.

Example Electronic hip-hop and grime from the London-based rapper. O2 Academy Brixton, Stockwell Rd, SW9 9SL (0844 477 2000). £19.50. Jowell & Randy Reggaeton by the Puerto Rican duo. Electric Brixton, Town Hall Parade, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RJ (020 7274 2290). £20. Manteca, Martha Acosta Latin and salsa from the Colombian-based singer and band. 606 Club, Lots Rd, SW10 0QD (020 7352 5953). £12. Melange Oriental Trio World music by cellist, Erich-Oskar Huetter and colleagues. St Ethelburga’s, Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AG (020 7496 1610). £12.

Under 1 Roof A showcase of contemporary music and comedy in support of the charity Kids Company, featuring Coldplay, Tinie Tempah, Emeli Sande, Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan. The O2 Arena, Peninsula Sq, SE10 0DX (0844 856 0202). £49.50-£75. Gordon Webber’s Rd Runners The nine-piece big band plays soul and Motown. Dover St Restaurant And Bar, Dover St, W1S 4LQ (020 7629 9813). £15, diners free before 10pm.

SUNDAY 11

Pentagram Classic and doom metal by the Virginia-based veterans. Relentless Garage, Highbury Corner, N5 1RD (0870 060 3777/cc 0844 847 1678). £20. PP Arnold The American vocalist performs her soul hits. Mass, St Matthews Church, Brixton Hill, SW2 1JF (07879 630674). £20. Michael Roach Blues from the American musician. Downstairs At The King’s Head, Crouch End Hill, N8 8AA (020 8340 1028). £12. Slim Chance Original members Steve Simpson and Charlie Hart from the 1970s band rejoin to perform folk-rock songs by frontman Ronnie Lane. Half Moon, Putney, Lower Richmond Rd, SW15 1EU (020 8780 9383). £15.

Front 242 Pioneer electronic music band from Belgium. Koko, Camden High St, NW1 7JE (0870 432 5527). £23. Mavado Reggae and dancehall from the Jamaican singer. O2 Academy Brixton, Stockwell Rd, SW9 9SL (0844 477 2000). £35 & £40. QuoFestive: Status Quo The multi-million selling veteran rock band undertakes its annual winter pilgrimage. The O2 Arena, Peninsula Sq, SE10 0DX (0844 856 0202). £37.50. T4 Stars Of 2011 A showcase of popular music featuring The Wanted, Jessie J, Wretch 32, Professor Green, Example, Ed Sheeran, Pixie Lott, Dappy, Cher Lloyd, Rizzle Kicks and Tinchy Stryder. Earls Court, Warwick Rd, SW5 9TA (020 7385 1200). £36 & £38.

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Pretty in pink: Von Teese


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Strip Teese She may be the Queen of Burlesque, but Dita Von Teese still has her shy moments – just not when she's shopping naked WORDS FRANKIE MULLIN

The dominatrix name, unnervingly polished look and fact that she’s a star of fetish porn leads me to expect a certain hardness from Dita Von Teese. She’s made her living as the pin-up girl of new burlesque; a raven-haired, ghostly faced strip artist whose martini glass routines took the movement to new levels of creativity. I’m braced for someone brash; the Dita I meet is anything but. Softly spoken and reserved, it’s hard to reconcile this demure but glamorous woman who tells me she’s “really shy” with the raunchy vixen I know her to be. Von Teese is tiny, a doll-like figure in her satin frock, making other women in the room look as though they lumbered in from Brobdingnag. She’s the most immaculate human being I have ever met. From her all-masking make-up to the chip-less manicured nails and shiny coiffed hair, it’s like looking at a painting. So does she always keep it up, this gloss? Surely she must bowl around in a baggy jumper sometimes, I ask hopefully. “I’m highly motivated by the fact that I don’t want to be recognised looking terrible and paparazzi come out when you least expect it,“ Von Teese says. “I have a trick. I always wear red lipstick and sunglasses and put my hair back in a chignon, but underneath I have no makeup on. And, sometimes, under my coat I have nothing on. “I’m notorious for going to the grocery store with nothing on under my coat, because I just don’t feel like choosing a dress. It’s too much trouble, I’ll just go naked under here.” Popping to the corner shop naked? That’s more in keeping with my image of Von Teese. This is, after all, the girl who began a career – under her birth name Heather Renée Sweet – working in the strip bars of Orange County, US. “I was performing in seedy strip bars for six people,“ she recalls. “I remember being in a small town called Fon Du Lac, Wisconsin, where I had an ad in the newspaper and I thought that was it. I was like, ’this is the height of my fame. This is my 15 minutes!’“ Von Teese was born in Rochester, Michigan, the daughter of a manicurist and a machinist. It was her mother who fostered her love of retro style and 1940s glamour. As a teenager, Von Teese says she didn’t get too involved in school activities. “I just kind of minded my own business, worked in the lingerie store, hung out with my best friend and my boyfriend,” she explains. Many celebrities claim they were ugly ducklings as teenagers. Not Von Teese. “Me and my girlfriend weren’t

‘popular’, but we were pretty cool and hot,” she says. This contrast between personal reticence and sexual confidence is the crux of Von Teese’s allure. She sits primly on her chair, talking in a soft voice; the model of gentle femininity. It almost feels wrong to question her about anything risqué and, in the event, I can’t bring myself to

Often, under my coat I have nothing on

ask about the hardcore fetish videos she made in her 20s. But her shyness does not extend to the realm of her sexual power; about this she is supremely confident. Von Teese’s performances are showcases of the female body; in this case, one that is damn near perfect. At 39, Von Teese is as firm-buttocked and perky-breasted as she was a decade ago, and her commanding, sexually charged stage persona seems at odds with the woman I sit talking to. It’s a contradiction Von Teese acknowledges. “I’m not shy about what I do for a living, making my ››

Confident: Von Teese likes to put on a show

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25


The famous martini glass routine

Von Teese on the road ... with just a few bags

show, and going on stage,” she says. “I created all of the rules for what I do. But I feel shy when I’m asked questions I don’t know how to answer. I feel shy that I’m speaking in my funny American accent that some people make fun of. I realise I built up an image, but I don’t have any interest in changing my persona.” She even claims to be bashful around men, however unlikely that may seem. “I’m not very aggressive when I see a guy I like. I’m still the girl that gets really nervous. I don’t have a plan on how to seduce someone that I don’t know,“ she says. I wonder if being Dita Von Teese, the rightly crowned Queen of Burlesque, is a huge pressure to live up to. Do men expect her to stay in femme fatale mode 24/7? How exhausting. Does she ever, I ask, just want to have boring sex and wear her manky period pants? “When I’m with somebody who really cares about me they like seeing both sides of me,” she says. “It’s funny because when you wear garter belts and stockings every day, it becomes old hat for men and then they’re just excited to see those manky period pants you were talking about!” The image of Von Teese in baggy, greying

underwear is not one I can conjure, but I’m grateful to her for making me feel better. Von Teese lives usually between her homes in LA and Paris. She is in London promoting the exclusive Piccadilly speakeasy she has co-designed, Cointreau Privé. “It’s a really luxurious bar where you can have dinner or a cocktail. I’ve chosen everything on the menu,“ she says. “It’s a really sexy place.“ The speakeasy is decorated by select objects from Von Teese’s LA home, a place she describes as being like a dollshouse, but with “good lighting“. Cointreau Privé is one of many sideline projects she works on: Von Teese also writes books, designs lingerie and dresses, just launched her first fragrance and has campaigned for AIDS awareness. She has been the global ambassador and face of Cointreau since 2007. But Von Teese’s heart belongs to burlesque and watching her perform – behind fans, feathered, nipple-tasseled, sometimes galloping atop a fairground horse, once naked save for £3million of diamonds – it’s hard not to be impressed by the artistry of it all. But is it really so different from straightforward, sliding-around-a-pole stripping? Burlesque has become a socially accepted stalwart of middle class nights out, while strip clubs are largely seen as seedy and morally questionable. Crazy, agrees Von Teese, who says she always tells people she’s a stripper when they ask her what she does. “If you were sitting here with Gypsy Rose Lee in the 30s and you asked her what the difference between stripping and burlesque was, she would be completely baffled. ’Stripping’ wasn’t a bad word back then. The trick is, can you change people’s minds about what it is to be a stripper?“ ❚ Dita Von Teese launches the Cointreau Privé, London’s exclusive speakeasy, open for a limited three-week period until December 17 215 Piccadilly, W1J 9HN cointreauprive.co.uk Piccadilly Circus

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Photos: Getty

Von Teese says manky pants can be sexy. We knew it

You can see the full interview with Dita Von Teese at tntmagazine.com/interviews


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Tony Hawks The author and comedian on being ‘nearly kidnapped’, novelty rap and why Shakespeare is pants INTERVIEW ALASDAIR MORTON

You get mistaken online for Tony Hawk, the skateboarder, with fans asking for skating tips – have you ever met him? I still get emails from people asking me to do flips, sign autographs and do other skateboard things. I did meet him once when we were both on The Big Breakfast together. I explained about the confusion his fans have and did a few gags about it. He was a nice enough chap and he’s good at skateboarding but I don’t think he’d win any awards for best sense of humour. He didn’t really get it. Tells us about your Random Fun show. It’s a comedy version of the early part of my life, that is, to some extent, an old-fashioned variety show: there’s stand up, storytelling, songs and music, even slides at one point. At the end of the first half, I invite people to write down any questions, which go in a bucket and get drawn out. So any heckles are very polite. It’s your first tour for a while – what tempted you back to the stage? I watched a DVD of a show I did and I suddenly got the feeling that I really wanted to flex those muscles again. You’ve been in a meeting at the House of Lords – what for? I run a project called Tennis For Free, and we had a meeting about getting politicians on board. There are huge amounts of money available for tennis but not enough is spent on the very bottom rung of the ladder. Where is the film of your book Playing The Moldovans At Tennis at? It’s in the can and the plan is to bring it out during the Wimbledon fortnight next year. Are there any differences between the book and the film? The only difference is that a scene in which I am nearly kidnapped has been changed. Nearly kidnapped…? Yeah, this guy wanted me to stay in his hotel and he wanted to charge me £130 for it. So I was nearly ‘extorted’ really. In the end, I drank a lot of whisky with him and told him I’d come

Guinness World Record holder for distance hitchhiked with a fridge

back and stay another time, but that I needed to go somewhere else to get my money and that persuaded him to let me go. But a week after we left, one of the guys we dealt with got shot in his car. He was seriously involved in pretty heavy gangster stuff! Was the Round Ireland With A Fridge film as unpredictable to make as the initial experience? Yes, but any film is an adventure to make. It is hard. I have done two now and that might be enough for me. What other suggestions have come up for books and challenges? Arthur Smith bet me that I couldn’t sleep with the whole Azerbaijan netball team, but I didn’t take him up on that. You had a hit in Australia with Beastie Boys spoof Stutter Rap ... Yeah, it was number one. I think its daft, irreverent and politically incorrect sense of humour appealed. I do a little pianoaccompanied version of it in this show; it’s stripped back, very classical. And you do a Shakespeare skit too? Shakespeare to me is gobbledegook. I perform a Shakespeare bit which starts off plausible and

then becomes nonsense. To me, Shakespeare is just words and sounds. Everybody fawns over it and yes, some of it is amazing – but some of it is unintelligible. And I don’t buy this ‘it’s relevant to today’ – it was written in the 17th century! What makes you grumpy? Christmas, which I think is an absurdity. I couldn’t be more grumpy at Christmas. It is a retail scam, an economics policy, and people are crippling themselves each year. It is nice that families get together, but it doesn’t mean we need to prepare for in November. And it’s not good for children, it turns them into greedy, grabbing materialists. I know people who when you go to their house and open the door, a load of toys fall out. We’ve used the world’s resources up making all of that – there are mountainsides missing because of it. But then again, I am going away for Christmas to Siciliy, and they are bonkers Catholics there, so I won’t really be escaping it at all. And another thing is it comes at completely the wrong time of year. This is where Australia has been very cunning, as they have it in the summer which really makes much more sense. Tony Hawks: Random Fun, Dec 5 Bloomsbury Theatre, WC1H 0AH thebloomsbury.com. His DVD Round Ireland With A Fridge is available at roundirelandwithafridge.com

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He was unsure, but doctors assured him it was a new, hi-tech medical procedure

LA SOIRÉE Review by Carol Driver UNTIL JAN 10 | £15+

VERY HAROLD AND KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS FILM STARRING: John Cho, Kal Penn | U | 90mins

Weed smoke billowing in 3D – Jim Cameron will be proud. The stoner duo’s third outing has them searching for a Christmas tree for Harold’s fatherin-law (a fearsome Danny Trejo). Cue epic spliffage, and Santa shotgunned in the face. (See tntmagazine.com for full review.) On general release

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Roll up! Roll up! Yes, it’s that time again. But just when you think you’ve seen all there is from the La Clique crew, they go and pull out something brand-spankingnew from their bottomless bag of tricks. Expect to be wowed by this fast-paced circus-meets-cabaret show as it blends nearly two hours of jaw-dropping entertainment and gravity-defying acts on a tiny circular stage. Back at Camden Roundhouse for its second festive season, the esteemed La Soirée performers have nailed a relentless barrage of thrilling, comedic and breathtaking acts in this burlesque, musical, theatrical show. Singing transvestite diva Le Gateau Chocolat hits killer baritone notes; aerial artists Hugo Desmarais (pictured) & Katharine Arnold provoke gasps with their mid-air stunts; ‘little and large’ Chris & Iris defy logic, as he flips and throws her as though she’s a rag doll; super-fit Hamish McCann makes pole-dancing look easy with his slowmotion airwalk, legs outstretched at a right-angle to the ground; and Yulia Pykhtina rotates hula-hoops, while contorting into painful-looking positions. Word to the uninitiated: don’t sit on the front row unless you’re an exhibitionist. We see an unsuspecting lad forced to play the part of leading man for Mooky, a quirky, overacting Canadian, whose lovers routine has everyone doubled-over. Then, a timid girl is grabbed by Freddie Mercury-obsessed Mario, who hoiks her up on his bare shoulders while he circles the stage on a unicycle. The biggest applause goes to the girl dragged up by The Skating Willers – they lock her between them as they spin around at unbelievable speed. When they stop, she can barely stand. Don’t miss it. Camden Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH

lasoiree.com

Chalk Farm


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GIVE US A

GREG PROOPS: SMARTEST MAN IN THE WORLD

GIGGLE!

COMEDY

This self-styled ‘Proopcast’ sees the American and former Whose Line Is It Anyway? star stripped back, with just a table and mic, and his wits and words for comfort, as he veers through a kaleidoscopic assortment of topics, serving up his own inimitable take on the world.

Ha ha!

Soho Theatre 21 Dean Street, W1D 3NE. Dec 7. £10 sohotheatre.com Oxford Circus

ANOTHER EARTH

THE KITCHEN SINK

FILM

THEATRE

What would you do if you were given a second chance to correct the mistakes you made in your life? This lo-fi science fiction flick by debut writer/ director Mike Cahill asks this very question as Earth 2, an identical copy of our planet, moves into our galaxy and a select few from the population are selected to pay it a visit. Watch out for a turn by Tom Cruise’s cousin, William Mapother.

Tom Wells’ touching new play (the first fulllength production at the Bush’s new home) is a gentle domestic comedy about the life of an ordinary Yorkshire family with all the joys and frustrations that involves. Tamara Harvey’s production is well-acted, often very funny and manages to spring an unexpected surprise.

On general release from Dec 9

Bush Theatre Uxbridge Road, W12 8LJ. Until December 17. £15-20 bushtheatre.co.uk Shepherd’s Bush

THE BOY WITH TAPE ON HIS FACE What makes you funny? It’s a small bone in the base of my skull with a tendency to shake the back of my brain in just the right way for me to think of funny things.

Photos: Manuel Harlan

What other things have you had on your face during your life? Eyes, nose and and a forehead. These are still with me.

CHRISTMAS PAST

MATILDA THE MUSICAL

EXHIBITION

THEATRE

PS3s, iPads, tech galore! Christmas morning today is a world apart from its celebration in the past. Spread throughout 11 festively decorated rooms, this exhibition shows how the day was spent in English family homes for the past 400 years, with a special candlelit opening, and music and activities too, on Thurs Dec 8.

This adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s story – featuring four talented youngsters as the book-loving, telekinesis-enabled schoolgirl who pits her wits against a sadistic headmistress and her vulgar family – is an irresistible treat. Tim Minchin’s music and lyrics, the astute script and inventive choreography ensure a great night out.

Geffrye Museum Kingsland Road, E2 8EA. Until Jan 2. Free geffrye-museum.org.uk South Kensington

Cambridge Theatre WC2H 9HU. Until Feb 21. £22.50+ matildathemusical.com Covent Garden

Tells us your best joke? I get a guy out of the audience repeatedly and at the end of the set I blindfold him and put on a pair of glasses that have a small basketball hoop attached with a small ball on a string attached to that. I then try to swing the little ball into the hoop while the guy next to me has no idea what is going on. You have to be there, really. Most embarrassing on-stage moment? I once pulled a black hole out of my bag that interrupted a space time continuum. Man, was my face red. At Waterloo Comedy Club, SE1 7XG. Dec 12. From £18 com

waterloocomedyclub.

Waterloo

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Merchant takes to the stage to find a wife, of course

[Caption] 32

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The reluctant stand-up Stephen Merchant takes to the stage for his first solo tour, to prove he can do it, to himself as much as anyone else WORDS ALASDAIR MORTON

Emerging from the shadow of Ricky Gervais, that has been the common misperception of Stephen Merchant’s debut stand-up tour Hello Ladies. Indeed, he jokes about this assumption in the opening of the show, which has toured the country to rapturous applause and critical acclaim. Merchant insists the best thing about the gig is not having to share any of the money “with you know who”. It may come as a surprise, then, the 37-year-old began doing stand-up ten years ago. It may come as even more surprise that he’s something of a reluctant stand-up. So why then did he decide to return to something he had, by his own admission, crossed off his ‘to-do’ list a long time ago? “Stand-up comedy is like malaria in that you think the urge has gone away and then it comes back again unexpectedly,” Merchant says when I catch a moment with the 6ft 7in man himself. “A couple of years ago, the malaria came back and I thought ‘should I try it again, I never quite nailed it?’ So I just started pottering around London like a hobby and these gigs are the result of it.” ’These gigs’, however, have been more than just some sort of side-project mini-tour. Instead, Merchant has played everywhere from the south coast to Glasgow, including two hometown shows in Bristol and a New York gig on December 20 as the tour’s full stop. That’s without mentioning his tendate residency at the Hammersmith Apollo. It is also feasible, though, that the focus of the show might have influenced his return to the stage as well. Merchant is single, geek-ishly inclined (and in appearance) and looking for love. Yes, Hello Ladies is his search for a wife, or rather, “an exploration of his failure to find a wife in the years since my puberty”. Originally intended to be an “active“ search for a “better“ half, the practicalities of such an endeavour proved more than a little disconcerting, with Merchant being put off by the “over-enthusiastic“ responses he received. “I started to get pretty weird letters from ladies, some odd proposals, with photos attached to what I can only describe as ‘love CVs’,” he says. “You know, ‘I was in a relationship that didn’t work out now I live with 17 cats’. I started to worry that they might start showing up at the gigs.” The crux of his ‘failure’, though, is hilariously played out over the course of the show, which focuses on his experiences thus far and the reasons, perhaps, for his continued single-

status. Long before The Office and Brent shot to global success, Merchant had been plying his trade on the live scene. He swiftly decided, though, that it was not his primary passion. Then, as other projects took off (a certain

I started to get some pretty weird 'love CVs'

Golden Globe-winning tale of a paper merchant in Slough in particular) he opted to leave stand-up behind, seemingly for good. “The TV stuff was time-consuming, and so I knocked it [stand-up] on the head. I never got enough of a kick out of it. I’m not one of those people who gets on stage and feels like they are alive, like they belong there. I don’t get that buzz from it.” However, if he doesn’t get that rush, as he claims, then it doesn’t show. Catching him on night three in London, he ››

Life's Too Short: Merchant, Johnny Depp, Warwick Davies and Ricky Gervais TNTMAGAZINE.COM

33


It is unclear how many boxes Cat Deeley is standing on

stalks and prowls the stage like a long-in-the-game natural. Holding back and releasing to dramatic and hilarious effect, his understanding of what’s funny and, more importantly, why and how it is funny, is a seamless fit for the live arena. Opting for a headset mic, he is free to move about and use his height to comedic effect, which he does superbly, his unruly stature and the pitfalls and predicaments it poses, forming the crux of the show’s opening salvo. Moreover, though, for someone who claims to have walked away from stand-up because they didn’t crave the buzz of performing, Merchant appears to be very much ’in the moment’ on stage. Meandering off-script and engaging with the audience, he not only looks comfortable, but it seemingly fires him up as well (an Argos jewellery aside is a particularly conspicuous example during this evening’s performance). And, despite his attention-craving denials, aspects of Hello Ladies point quite clearly to, or perhaps play on, the opposite, with several hilarious sequences detailing how he has been misrepresented during the course of his career –

34

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Hello Ladies is on at Hammersmith Apollo until Sat, Dec 10. 45 Queen Caroline Street, W6 9QH venues.meanfiddler.com/apollo Hammersmith

Photos: Ray Burmiston, Robbie Jack

Hello Ladies: Merchant woos the women

fact-checking at the Guardian coming under fire in particular. How much of this is part and parcel of the ‘Stephen Merchant persona’ as seen on Extras and the current Life’s Too Short, and how much is really fuelled by others’ oversights not giving him his due rewards, remains up for debate. We’d hazard a guess though there’s real desire to get what’s his, even if only to prove it to himself. He also jokes there are parts of the tour that have made him miserable – although by his own admission, if he is on the road he’d rather be at home, and if he is at home then he would rather be on the road. “The travel, the hotels, I thought it would be a lot more glamorous and it isn’t,” he confesses. “I would like to say that I am throwing TVs out of hotel windows and sleeping with prostitutes, but I am far less exciting than that; there was no riding motorbikes up the corridors like Led Zeppelin.” Something he seemingly isn’t joking about though is the fact that this return to stand-up might not be particularly long-lived. “This is probably going to be my debut tour and my final, farewell tour too,” he says, suggesting it is an itch he might now have scratched, or perhaps it is just the strain of an elongated stretch on the road starting to show. “I feel like I have done it and proved it to myself.” So what would the future hold in store? With an eclectic career that has taken in radio, writing, directing and acting, and counts a feature film to its credits in the shape of 2010’s Cemetery Junction, there seems little end to his ambition. He talks of wanting a more dramatic acting role – it’s “much less stressful than stand-up, just remember your lines and don’t fall over“ – rather than the comedic roles that have dominated. Despite this proclamation, though, there is hope this might not be just a one-time deal, as the self-confessed mercurial Merchant could, maybe just, be persuaded to go through the whole thing again. “The grass is always greener for me,” he says. “Whenever I am doing something I am always itching to do something else.” Maybe he’ll get that itch again sometime in the future. ❚


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MARKETWATCH THE SPITALFIELDS VINTAGE FAIR Having visited every town from Brimingham to Brighton, and swelling with retro goodness along the way, the Vintage Fair is finally stopping in the hip East End just in time for Christmas. In an imposing Georgian church, you can expect stall upon stall of clothing, accessories and homewares from a bygone era, plus handmade jewellery and clothing inspired by it. Scuffling for that unique item is going to take up some energy, so make sure you visit the tea room for some cupcakes and a cuppa – served in fine vintage china, of course. And if your hair becomes dishevelled digging for finds from the 1940s, then duck into the hair salon for a beauty touch up. You’ll emerge looking not unlike your vintage icon. OPEN Sat, Dec 10, noon-5pm COST Free facebook.com/spitalfieldsvintage Christchurch, Commercial Street, E1 6LY. Liverpool Street

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LIFESTYLEFASHION CLASS OF THE WEEK

SEXY IN THE CITY This one’s especially for the girls – a ladies-only bootcamp that’ll give you pounding fitness sessions and body toning, but also nutrition advice to complement your workouts. You’ll get expert tips and targeted classes from celebrity trainers Tim Drummond and Phil Hawksworth. But it’s not for girls who’d rather not get sweaty – the “warrior-style” regimes are fast and intense. With just two 30-minute sessions per week, the aim is to achieve the best results in as little time as possible. Expect free weights and tug-of-war regimes as well as medicine balls and more traditional strength exercises, which focus on tough spots like the waist, thighs and arms. Nutrition plans with daily menus and extra exercises focused on a specific area are emailed to members three times a week, to make sure they stick to the program – so if you need to have someone on your back at all times, this is the regime for you. Sessions are at 8am on Tuesdays and Thursdays and at 5.15pm on Monday and Wednesday. The programme costs £99 per month. And we thought it was too late to get in shape before Christmas ...

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Xmas fashion Instead of looking like a Christmas tree, follow these tips on festive style for guys and girls WORDS CLARE VOOGHT

Party season has well and truly arrived, so to help you fix up your festive wardrobe, we’ve enlisted some of London’s stylists. Here’s how to not look like a sequined mentalist, and how to pull off the most notorious of Christmas jumpers ...

Novelty items can work if worn right – stylist Katie Rose says Christmas jumpers can be cool, if paired with a mini-skirt, beaten-up Chelsea boots, bed hair and tons of mascara. Pull off tacky Christmas tree earrings with a tasteful black dress.

The girls

XMAS STYLE FAILS Sequins always come out for Christmas. But to sparkle well, less is more. Never match sequined shoes to a sequined bag unless you want to look like a disco ball. A shocking 18 per cent of 18-35-year-old women who have spotted someone in the same Christmas party outfit have admitted to sabotaging the other person’s ensemble, according to a survey by clothing retailer TK Maxx. But the spoiled-child look never works. The biggest Christmas party getup disaster Alise Trautmane has seen, was a woman dressed as Santa’s elf. The founder and head designer at Narciss, Westbourne Grove, says costumes should be kept for Halloween only.

THIS YEAR’S TRENDS 1940s glamour helped by faux fur and feather embellishments will be out in force. As will brash prints, bright cocktail dresses, black leather and suede, plus jumpsuits for the brave. XMAS STYLE HITS Keep legs toasty with patterned tights from stores like Asos (asos.com). Statement shoes are a must-have, says Louise Kenny, owner of fashion boutique Loula Creates (loulacreates.com). Her top tip is to break in new heels with some chunky socks so you don’t hobble through the night.

Unit 12, The Concourse, Liverpool Street Station, EC2M 7PY Liverpool Street sexyinthecitybootcamps.com

Wrap up, stylishly 38

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But don’t spill the champers on your dress


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XMAS GOODIES

Australian essence oral spray For the mistletoe snog £10.16 yourhealthfoodstore.co.uk

Super hyper hydrator A coconut treat for the face £29.50 boots.com

Accessorise your look with a tiny festive horn The boys THIS YEAR’S TRENDS Chunky, preppy knitwear is big but so are fun patterns and flashes of colour – think bright-purple socks poking out from dark shoes. Thanks to TOWIE, bow ties are also where it’s at for the boys this year. XMAS STYLE HITS Keep it relaxed but smart. Shirt buttons should be done right up or casual T-shirts and chunky knitted tops teamed with dapper suit jackets this Christmas. If you’re man enough, pick up some pointed leather patent party shoes. Dune (dune.co.uk) and Topman (topman.com) are good places to look.

Katie Rose’s top tip for boys adamant on rocking their Christmas jumper is to dress it up with a pair or suit trousers. XMAS STYLE FAILS To avoid looking like a festive drag act, ditch anything with sequins. No joke is that funny. Be careful with Tuxedos. Too big and you’ll look like Macauly Culkin in Richie Rich. Too small and you’ll pop buttons when you hit the mince pies. It’s also a pretty bad idea to match your NEXT WEEK outfit with your Different ways to girlfriend or family spend Xmas day member – you will look stupid.

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MONTHLY SPOTLIGHT on working abroad

On yer bike: scoot around Ho Chi Minh City

Living in Vietnam Ditch London for some real hustle and bustle in this vibrant country that’s smoothing out its rough edges WORDS REBECCA KENT Have you ever thought about trading in your Western lifestyle for something a little more exotic? Vietnam might be making steady improvements to its infrastructure, but it is far enough from full-blown development to make living there an experience to challenge your perceptions and tickle your senses.

Mingle and get work If hijinks and busy streets appeal, it might be a good time to explore ways to call Vietnam home. Affordability is the country’s biggest draw, so if you don’t have a company willing to send you for work, it’s possible to live decently while teaching English, which is probably the easiest method of employment. For something better paid, turn up 40

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on a three-month holiday visa and get networking. That’s how Kathy Peters, 29, a Kiwi expat of two-and-a-half years who works in Ho Chi Min City (formerly known as Saigon), landed her job as an event co-ordinator for the British Business Group Vietnam. “There are a lot of jobs that are just not advertised, so it’s really important to meet people,” she says. “Luckily, there is a really social element to being an expat here. There are balls, networking events, food and wine festivals and cultural celebrations.” The continuous growth of the tourism, construction and IT industries have provided foreigners plenty of career opportunities, especially in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. But the growth

is not limited to larger markets. For example, there is also demand for foreign managers and workers in the leather, shoe and printing industries, plus the rag trade. And Vietnam’s push to develop its natural resources means there are also jobs in mining, manufacturing and water generation.

Get paid, live cheap Rates of pay are not comparable to what you might be used to, but the cost of living is low. You can earn a salary of anything from £8000 to £23,000, depending on your education and position level. Bear in mind, sharing a home with one other person can cost as little as £330 month (expats in Ho Chi Min gravitate to District 2, 3 or 7). Eat


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ON THE JOB NEIL ARMISHAW CAREER Drag queen AGE Between 30 and death LIVES Herts FROM Yorkshire How did you get into your line of work? A cabaret act I booked in my restaurant many years ago didn’t show, so I donned a wig and did a show, fortified with a bottle of vodka!

Vietnam is rapidly developing locally and food is dirtcheap: a steaming bowl of pho (noodle soup; the local breakfast) can be found for 50p.

Assault on

Photos: Getty

the senses

Mekong River: a natural treasure TIPS FROM EXPATS Kathy Peters: “Visit the Mekong Merchant, the Deck, or the Boathouse in District 2 for a good night out. Also, hire a motorbike and travel along the Mekong river. Be sure to visit the floating markets.”

there’s a certain flow,” says Fiona Nichols, an Irish expat of 15 years. After absorbing all that, get your head around the fact the Indo-Chinese country trades in three separate currencies: gold is used to purchase land and housing; US dollars are used for luxury items; and Vietnam Dong is used to buy day-today items.

Duncan Forgan: “The challenges Vietnam’s bigger cities – are being away from loved ones and friends, the crap music, and Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh living in a country with a fairly – have the modern narrow view of the outside world.” amenities you need to set up a life there. But Fiona Nichols: “Make an effort to according to Scottish learn the language. You don’t have expat, Duncan Forgan, A vibrant collage to be fluent, but the locals find it 33, who now lives in Ho Chi Minh, a dizzying very amusing if you’re trying.” Vietnam might not city of commerce and be big, but what it culture will always lacks in size, it makes throw up a few surprises. up for in enthusiasm. Beyond its sleek It’s the “complete randomness skyscrapers and malls is a country that of things” that keeps the freelance has everything from alluring alleys to writer’s interests keen. ancient pagodas and teeming markets. “It’s getting invited to join drinking Plus, as Forgan says: “Where else will games with Vietnamese; not having you get called handsome on an almost a clue what you are ordering in a daily basis, or ride a motorbike into restaurant and ending up with snake; your front room?” or going out for one drink and ending There are now flights direct from up on a street bar until 6am,” he says. the UK with Vietnam Airlines. Then once you’ve come to expect See vietnamairlines. the unexpected, you’ve got the com. For jobs see NEXT WEEK seemingly lawless streets thronging vietnamworks.com Surviving your with motorbikes to contend with. and vn.job street.com work Xmas party “It’s certainly chaotic, but you realise for jobs.

What do you do day-to-day? I own and run Globestar Management, which has six worldclass acts under its belt – The Globe Girls being one of them. So, I’m dealing with corporate clients, VIPs, and celebrities for their parties, then getting into the dragmobile and driving the performers to events. Every Wednesday we’re at Floridita on Wardour Street. What is the best part of your job? I never know who is going to pick up the phone or what bizarre job we are going to get asked to do. What’s the most challenging? Dealing with divas and difficult people.

HOW TO...

NETWORK • Don’t eliminate possible

networking channels; family friends, old colleagues and university friends can make excellent contacts.

• If your field has a professional organisation, join it and attend events. You will meet people who can hire and fire.

• Do not ask for a job off the

bat. You’ll get a door in the face. Rather, ask questions like, “If I were looking for a position where I could use skills x, y and z, where might I start?”

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41


COMPUTERS IN THE CITY

2nd & 3rd Line Support Analyst - Windows Server 2003/2008, Exchange, Active Directory, VMware, Cisco Exciting opportunity to join a City based IT consultancy, providing high levels of IT support to organisations throughout the City and West End. Working in a team of 8 (helpdesk through to 3rd line) you’ll provide 2nd and some 3rd line support to London based customers. This company is vibrant and fast paced and the successful individual must have the ability to multi task and demonstrate excellent client facing and communication skills. A “can do” attitude and a willingness to provide technical support at all levels, regardless of complexity based on demand.

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You’ll need proven ‘hands on’ technical skills with Windows Servers 2003/2008, exchange, Active Directory, VMware and Cisco. Any relevant qualifications, such as MCSE/MCIT, CCNA or VCP would be preferred.

Please apply with cover letter and CV to: barbara@citc.it COMPUTERS IN THE CITY 50 Leadenhall Street, London EC3A 2BJ www.citc.it

for TNT Spotted (see page 19) One shoot a week FRI/SAT/SUN Must have own equipment Good rates email: pictures@tntmagazine.com with some examples of your best shots

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CASH-SAVING TIPS

HOW YOU SPEND IT!

Our thrifty ways to Xxxxxxxxx save your change...

If I can’t be bothered making the effort to go down to the shops in person, then it probably isn’t something I should be buying.

XXXXXXXXX Xxxxxxxxxxx SHARE XMAS GIFTS

If you can’t stretch to getting family or friends XXXXXXXXX exactly what they want Xxxxxxxxxxx this year, visit group gifting site Shareagift. XXXXXXXXX com to pool money with Xxxxxxxxxxx other people and get the present they really want. XXXXXXXXX Xxxxxxxxxxx

SAVE ON CALLS HOME Phone charges change regularly, so make sure you’re still saving. Right now, £5 (on top of line rental) gets you unlimited calls to landlines abroad with BT or calls to UK landlines and 20 international destinations including Australia from SkyTalk. For £7.99, call 40 countries free with Skype.

Last big blow-out? A dark-khaki Parka for winter, which cost me £139.

MUHAMMED SHAKEEL, 20 JOB Customer services at 247Moneybox.com FROM Pakistan LIVES Poplar How do you budget? I keep a record of the hours

Photos: Getty

Any money-saving tips? I don’t do any online shopping because it’s way too easy to make silly buys.

HOW THEY SPEND IT! Blow it ‘til you’re bankrupt Kerry Katona famously blew all her money on drugs and surgery, but now she’s been officially in the black again. Some stars just don’t know how to budget ...

FREE RAIL TRAVEL Now, if you have a Tesco Clubcard, every time you shop for groceries, you could be racking up points to spend on rail travel. The deal is valid on tickets bought from Redspottedhanky.com, by redeeming Tesco vouchers on the site. Free travel for shopping? Win. VIETNAM /40 ARUBA /76

I work so I know how many zeros will be on – or missing from – my pay cheque.

What non-essential items do you spend money on? Tube travel and assorted whims like an acoustic guitar when I had no intention of learning how to play, and ordering (and paying for P&P) Lucky Charms cereal all the way from the US.

❚ Ex-Bond girl Kim Basinger wouldn’t settle at buying a house in 1993 … she bought an entire town in Georgia. When a film company sued her after she dropped out of a film soon after, she had to file for bankruptcy and sold Braselton at a big loss.

Katona: eating well again

❚ When Mike Tyson went bankrupt in 2003, he was in £19.57 million debt. His pet tigers cost £4000 each.

❚ Michael Barrymore’s work dried up after someone died in his swimming pool 10 years ago. He filed for bankruptcy in 2004 after getting a “surprise” tax bill for £1.4m. ❚ Bitchy blogger Perez Hilton, real name Mario Lavandeira, filed for bankruptcy in 2005 after he ran up a nice portfolio of about £32,000 worth of debt in college.

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Christmas: time to make your pad look festive

XMAS

STYLE

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Deck the halls

Telephone box lights London up your pad for Christmas ltmuseumshop.co.uk

95 £2.

How to decorate your pad for Christmas on the cheap WORDS CLARE VOOGHT

Magic 2012 towel Time to start getting into the Olympics shop.london2012.com

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We all love a bit of festive cheer, and Christmas is the time for adorning your place with brash and bold decorations. But if you’d rather spend your hard-earned on presents and booze this party season, here’s how to decorate your pad on a shoestring.

The tree It definitely wouldn’t be Christmas without the tree. And the choice here is whether you want a real or a fake one. For bargains on real firs, head to your nearest London market – you’ll find plenty at St Ely’s Yard car park, off Brick Lane, ranging from one to 12ft high and costing from about £15. For realistic fakes try department stores like Marks & Spencer (marksandspencer.com) which does a 3ft tree – perfect if you live in flats – for £15. It comes in traditional green, or if you’d rather some obscene fakery, go for the pink and silver option. If you’re after a smaller, and even cheaper faux tree, Poundland (poundland.co.uk) has some £1 trees in white (pictured bottom, second from right) as well as fibre optic ones. The lights

Telephone box cushion A gift for lovers of London grit digetex.com

44

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Christmas lights should be sparkling inside and outside your pad. Play.com has some cool white indoor snowflake lights, £4.95, which you can weave in and out of decorations on your tree or drape up the stairs and over furniture. Hit Tesco (tesco. com) for some more cheap lighting, with icicle microlights, £8, star-shaped, £6.99, and lit-up holly, £3.33. Pick up some

colourful “Happy Chistmas” lights, £3.33, to hang in your hallway to welcome people in for a Christmas party. Poundstretcher (poundstretcher.co.uk) also do lights from £1.99, like the ones pictured above, far right. Candle holders for a warming winter glow are also a good way to cosy up your pad for Christmas. Dunelm Mill (dunelmmill.com) has some cute ones, such as the Santa’s grotto tea light holder, £2.29, and the red cut out tea light holders, £1.49 (both pictured top, second from right).

As for outside, light up tastefully with a blue LED string for £5.99 from Xmasdirect. co.uk or you could go out in a blaze of Christmas glory with light-up solar-powered colour-changing Santas, £15.99, from Brightlightz.com. But don’t blow the power by plonking a huge Santa with his sleigh on your roof.

The walls Now you’ve got your lights up, plaster any remaining space on your walls with all things


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XMAS DAY CHECKLIST Whether you’ve bravely decided to host Christmas yourself this year or opted to visit family and friends, there’s a lot to remember besides the decorations... Turkey Obvious, but you really don’t want to forget it. Avoid an offal disaster by remembering to take out the giblets before cooking. Brussel sprouts Love or hate them they have to make an appearance on the festive dinner table. Crackers It’s definitely not Chrimbo without paper hats and bad jokes. festive. A good start, just to remind you what time of year we’re in, are knitted “XMAS” letters (below, left), £2.99 per letter from Notcutts (notcutts.co.uk). If you’re in the market for some wall art, Poundland has some classy-looking pictures (that look like they’re worth more than a quid) sporting Christmassy designs including snowflakes and messages of Christmas joy. Walls and windows can also be decorated with vinyl stickers, like the white snowflake designs – £12 for 30 stickers that come in various sizes from Bouf.com (pictured above, second left).

WHERE TO SHOP TREES

johnlewis.com amazon.co.uk STOCKINGS

debenhams.com LIGHTS

lights4fun.co.uk TABLE DECORATIONS

tesco.com

– you can get two glittering reindeer in bright blue for 99p. Remember, if tree, lights and decorations are bright and garish, less is more. But having said that, what’s Christmas without a lashing of tinsel? The cheapest you’ll find will be in markets and supermarkets.

Get crafty

Given five minutes, anyone can make a paper chain hobbycraft.co.uk from coloured paper or cut out some snowflakes FINISHING TOUCHES partydelights.co.uk to hang up. With a bit festive-lights.com more time, you can fashion jingleballs.co.uk tree decorations using buttons and beads tied up with ribbon. If you’re The decorations feeling really creative, make your own snowglobe with a rounded jam jar and Again, Poundland is great for cheap and some dirt cheap festive cake decorations cheerful decorations, like the red glittery from Thecookskitchen.com (mini reindeer, butterfly pictured above, second right. christmas trees and santas are 65p). Then For some silly anti-Christmas baubles for glue the decorations to the inside of the anyone fed up with festive fuss, go to lid, fill the jar with water mixed with Homegardenliving.co.uk for some shiny glitter and glycerin, which you black, red pink and white decorations can buy from the (pictured above left) emblazoned with supermarket. Finally, phrases like “ho bloody ho”, “fill my NEXT WEEK screw on the lid stocking”, “merry whatever” and “Santa’s and you’ve made bitch”. The silly 4-bauble sets are £12. Living in yourself a white Poundstretcher is the place to go for Greenwich Christmas (sort of). more cheap decorations, which start at 99p CRAFTY STUFF

Booze Let it flow freely. Why? Because it’s Christmas. Presents Or you’ll be unpopular for the rest of year. Wrapping paper Because all good things come in well-presented packages. Don’t forget bows and ribbons either. Stockings Where presents belong. Christmas tunes Wham!, Mariah Carey, Chris Rea ... Make sure every classic is covered. TV So you don’t miss the speech from Queenie. And so there’s something to do while you’re vegging from the inevitable facestuffing you’ll be doing. Games Be armed with an arsenal of games – Charades, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, even Ring of Fire (depending on your company). Christmas pudding And don’t forget lashings of brandy and a charm to go inside. Mince Pies For you, your guests, and Santa (plus a carrot for his reindeer) if there are kids around. TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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WORLDVIEW

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Geometry is often referred to as the ‘sexy maths’

PUPILS SIGN UP FOR HANDS-ON LESSONS AUSTRIA The world’s first sex school has opened in Vienna, charging students £1400 per term to learn how to become better lovers. Headmistress Ylva-Maria Thompson, a porn star and presenter on an erotic TV station, said anyone aged over 16 could enrol. “Our core education is not theoretical, but very practical,” she said. “The emphasis is on how to be a better lover. Sexual positions, caressing techniques, anatomical features. And we teach people hands-on.” Already, TV adverts showing a couple having sex have already been banned. One protester said: “This is wrapped up in a very stylish way – but it is just selling sex.” TWEETS OF THE WEEK @David_Scameron What has going on strike ever achieved? Apart from child labour laws, safer workplaces, pensions, paid holidays & the abolition of slavery. @ConanOBrien Not gonna say what I bought, but Amazon just reviewed my order and said: “You might also be interested in therapy.” @warne888 Just finished a very hot shower with the best aromatherapy body wash – Now in bed with a hot water bottle on my stiff back – old or cool?

PUNCHING PREACHER TO FIGHT FINAL BOUT NEW ZEALAND Invercargill cage-fighter Hiriwa ‘T-Man’ Te Rangi will retire from combat sport after his final bout this weekend, before heading off to Bible school to become a pastor. 46

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The face of 21st-century feminism: Members of FEMEN, a Ukrainian women’s rights group, made life uncomfortable for police by staging a topless protest at the draw for next year’s Euro 2012. The football tournament will be held in Ukraine and Poland but FEMEN insists it will promote sex tourism, with thousands of fans expected to hire prostitutes

Te Rangi, who has been fighting for 25 years, will defend his New Zealand heavyweight MMA title against Wellington’s Pete Aberdeen at Wallacetown Stadium, and then switch his boxing gloves for a preacher’s collar. “If you asked me a year ago, that I’d be training to become a pastor, I’d have told them to shove off,” Te Rangi insisted. “Being a pastor is going to be unreal. I’m prepared for whatever the man upstairs has ready for me.”

SHIT HAPPENS TO CHEATING GIRL UNITED STATES When Rossie Brovent’s boyfriend discovered she’d been cheating on

him, he exacted revenge by getting her drunk and then tattooing a pile of poo on her back. Brovent, from Dayton, Ohio, is seeking $100,000 (£60,000) in damages, claiming Ryan Fitzjerald ‘tricked’ her into getting the body art. She claims to have drunk a bottle of cheap wine and several shots of tequila before signing the consent form. She was, however, expecting to be inked with a scene from the Narnia series. “Actually I was passed out for most of the time, and woke up to this horrible image on my back,” Brovent said.


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THIS WEEK

IN NUMBERS 96 ‘This is what happens when you make me watch Made In Chelsea’

Pounds former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff complained about having to pay to watch his daughter’s school play

MAN HAS TO PAY WIFE FOR NOT SEXING HER FRANCE A French court has ordered a man to pay £8830 in damages to his longfrustrated ex-wife because he failed in his marriage “duties” by withholding sex from her for years. “The wife’s expectations were legitimate in the sense that sexual relations between married people are an expression of their mutual affection and part of the duties that proceed from marriage,” the court said. It dismissed the husband’s argument that health problems and long working hours had reduced the opportunities for the couple to have sex and ruled that he had not proved “any health problems that would make him completely incapable of having intimate relations with his wife”.

DEAF COUPLE EVICTED FOR BEING TOO NOISY

Photos: Getty, Thinkstock

GERMANY Mike Dumrose and Natascha Neitzel have been deaf from birth, but it didn’t stop the couple making such a racket that they were booted out of their apartment in North Rhine-Westphalia. The couple, aged 34 and 25, communicate through sign language but also enjoy turning music up full blast to feel the vibrations in the walls and floor of their home. “They’re too loud. The other renters have constantly complained,” the couple’s landlord, Achim Hengesbach, said. The couple were so upset when they learned of their neighbours’ complaints that they packed up their belongings and set up a tent in a local park.

Toads who abandoned their homes in Italy before an earthquake, prompting suggestions they can predict them

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Wingspan, in inches, of a giant weta, a cricketlike creature, found in New Zealand, making it the world’s largest insect

Value, in pounds, of a rare original edition of Action Comics, which is famous for containing Superman’s first appearance

Fact: turtles have magic powers

PSYCHIC TURTLES SET TO ENSLAVE HUMANS AUSTRALIA Scientists believe baby turtles can communicate with each other before they hatch and can arrange to emerge from their eggs at the same time. A study of Australia’s Murray shortnecked turtle found the embryos synchronised their hatching to prevent smaller turtles emerging alone and being attacked by predators. It is believed the unhatched turtles, may be able to sense each other’s heart vibrations or detect gases emitted from the breath of other turtles. In this way, more-developed turtles can send signals on their growth status to less-developed ones to encourage them to increase their growth rates. “I am pretty sure they’re not sitting there chatting to each other but no one really knows,” said Dr Ricky Spencer, a co-author of the new study.

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1.4M

QUOTE OF THE WEEK The first thing I saw when I got on stage was Simon. I sang about four lines and he looked at me and did this [rolls his eyes] and that was it, I was done. It killed me Canadian crooner Michael Buble has a little cry about Simon Cowell’s response to his act


tntjobs.co.uk SHERPA www.eventsherpa.co.uk

JOB OF THE WEEK: Events Crew Location: London Salary: £6.50 - £10 per hour

SHERPA is the leading supplier of intelligent, articulate and professional porters, drivers and crew to the UK event industry. We work at some of the UK’s biggest events; from F1 at Silverstone and new product launches, to bigbudget private and corporate events.

We are looking for reliable, hard working, well-presented team players with excellent spoken English who are not afraid of manual labour. SHERPA work is ideal for but not limited to Antipodeans in London on their working holiday visa as it is a great way to see London, meet new people and the hours are flexible.

FLIGHT CENTRE UNBEATABLE T: +61 7 33302555 www.au.flightcentre.jobs

JOB OF THE WEEK: Flight Centre Travel Sales Consultants Location: Sydney CBD and Surrounding Suburbs Salary: Base salary + UNCAPPED commission structure

Flight Centre Limited is a leading travel organisation with a host of successful brands covering the retail, corporate and specialised travel markets globally.

As a Flight Centre Travel Sales Consultant, you will work in a dynamic retail environment, booking customers their dream holidays. An enthusiasm for travel and a belief that you’ve got the edge when it comes to sales is essential. This is a fantastic opportunity to earn BIG rewards and join a leading global organisation.

Send a CV and recent photo to: john@eventsherpa.co.uk

Complete our online application form: http://applynow.net.au/jobs/f148225

JOB OF THE WEEK:

Trainee Female/Male Goods In/Stock Handler LEON JAEGGI & SONS LTD T: 0845 618 0104 E: natalie.alden@jaeggi.co

Location: London Salary: Basic £13,000 - £13,500 PA (Salary increase when fully trained) Successful applicant must have a good command of the English language with good administrative skills. Responsible for checking goods in, assemble orders for senior staff and re-stocking of the showroom. Will be trained in all company’s admin regarding short deliveries, breakages etc. Must have a helpful personality. Please send a full up to date C.V to natalie.alden@jaeggi.com

CHEZ BRUCE www.chezbruce.co.uk Multi award winning, Michelin starred restaurant (part of the small group which includes Michelin starred establishments La Trompette and The Glasshouse).

JOB OF THE WEEK: Chef de Partie Location: Wandsworth Common Salary: On experience Chez Bruce is recruiting its kitchen brigade. We are looking for a CHEF DE PARTIE. This is a rare opportunity to join a team of like-minded professionals with excellent working conditions. Experience is essential. Salaries are very competitive and dependent upon experience. Please send CV to: mattchristmas@chezbruce.co.uk

T: 07813085761 www.itkrecruitment.co.uk

JOB OF THE WEEK: Assistant Manager Location: Various London Locations Salary: up to £25,000 per annum

Recruitment agency working exclusively on behalf of a vibrant , fresh food concept for several openings in Londons

Looking for Managers full of personality and enthusiasm, with a real passion for great service and fun. There are flexible working hours and an opportunity to help develop this exciting brand.

itk RECRUITMENT

Anouska Cohen | 07813 085 761 | anouska@itkrecruitment.co.uk

SHAD T: 020 8675 6095 www.shad.org.uk Providing independent living support to disabled people. P/A’s needed for up to 12 months. Free accommodation and personal allowance provided. Friendly, supportive team.

JOB OF THE WEEK: Personal (Care) Assistant Location: London (Wandsworth, Lambeth, Islington) Salary: FREE ACCOMODATION plus allowance You will have an interest in providing wide ranging independent living support and assistance with day-to-day tasks to people with physical disabilities living in their own home. Free accommodation, allowance and training provided! Job satisfaction guaranteed! Vitalis Nnebue | 020 8675 6095 | volunteering@shad.org.uk


TNT puts the world to rights

OURVIEW

COMMENT: ALASDAIR MORTON alasdair.morton@tntmagazine.com

Clarkson considers career change to postie after his strike comments

Freedom of speech is both a beautiful and ugly right But our right to it is disappearing day by day

Photos:

This week has been tough for freedom of speech, that proud emblem of the free world that gives us the right to say what we want without fear of persecution. Only, that is what freedom of speech should be but, as the last seven days have all too amply demonstrated, it is slowly, piece by piece, incident by incident, being eroded. If its importance is forgotten, and our dedication to upholding it allowed to fall by the wayside, a time will come, not too far from now, when we’ll look back and wonder wistfully what happened to it. A busy tram in south London was the setting for an astonishing demonstration of free speech as a young woman launched a tirade against the ethnic minorities she blamed for turning ‘her Britain’ into “fuck all,” proclaiming, “you’re black, you ain’t British.” Then BBC loudmouth Jeremy Clarkson upset people – again – by telling the BBC’s earlyevening light-entertainment chat show The One Show that he thought all striking public sector workers should be shot, stating that he would “take them outside and execute them in front of their families”. A woman has been charged with a public disorder offence in relation to the tram incident, and there are calls from all corners, including Unison, for Clarkson to be sacked. Both expressions of opinion are utterly repugnant and abhorrent, but the reaction they have provoked is worrying. We live in a country where we should be allowed to say what we want. Expressing this is a key part of our freedom, but the reins on this freedom when it affects others – or is perceived to do this – have been drawn tighter and tighter. So is the woman on the tram inciting hatred? Yes, but towards herself, not an ethnic minority. Should Clarkson be sacked? Perhaps, but for making generally terrible and irrelevant television. It is time to worry about how tight these reins are getting before it is too late. » Agree or disagree? Is freedom of speech in danger? letters@tntmagazine.com

HUNGRY AND LAZY, NOT SEX-OBSESSED Every six seconds was the traditionally held estimate on the frequency men think about sex during the day. A new study has shown the amount of time men spend staring in to space thinking about you know what is actually far lower – 19 times a day to be exact. We think about food 18 times and sleep 11 times, while women think about sex an average of ten times a day. So men are less sex-obsessed as traditionally upheld thinking has stated, and women more so. This new study, which blames experimental inaccuracies in the last approach (asking test subjects how often

Men are not sexobsessed, just lazy

they thought they thought about sex) for the misguided thinking, comes as a ready tool for men accused of having their minds in the gutter. It is just as likely that their thoughts are in the bedroom, only they’re on their own, catching twenty winks. See, we’re not sex-obsessed, just hungry and lazy. Or does science lie again? TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Soldiers of fortune After his African coup backfired, British mercenary Simon Mann faced a lengthy prison sentence WORDS TOM STURROCK

By 2003, Simon Mann had become the “go-to guy for military coups” and “the most notorious and best-paid mercenary of his generation”. The ex-SAS officer had led private forces in Angola and Sierra Leone but then, hours before he was to launch a coup in Equatorial Guinea, a tiny oil-rich country in west Africa, everything went horribly wrong. In his new autobiography, Cry Havoc, Mann tells how he was intercepted by Zimbabwe’s secret police and thrown into Chikurubi maximum security prison. Three years later, he was extradited to Equatorial Guinea, where he was sentenced to 34 years in the notorious Black Beach jail. His ordeal ended in November 2009, when, after much wrangling behind the scenes but for reasons that remain opaque, he was pardoned and released. “The most frightening was when I got kidnapped from Zimbabwe and taken to EG – I remember thinking that I would certainly be shot on arrival,” Mann says. “And then, in EG, I was tried again, sentenced and thrown into solitary confinement. I remember wondering, ‘maybe they’ll keep me here like this for the next 30 years’. It wasn’t good.” Mann’s crime was to plan, with the clandestine support of some foreign governments and international oil interests, the overthrow of Teodoro Obiang, the dictatorial president of Equatorial Guinea. It was to be, in Mann’s words, ‘Wham Bang, Thank You Obiang’. “We land at night, with a crack unit. Our weapons are speed and surprise. We smash and grab the palace, with Obiang inside, then Army HQ, Police HQ, communications centres, banks, media centres,” Mann writes of his plan. “We seize power in a lightning strike. We mug Obiang of his personal fiefdom. A blitzkrieg smash and grab.” Although Mann’s coup was rumbled at the last minute, while his troops sat, waiting to fly into battle, on the runway in Harare, he insists his only regret was getting caught. “If faced with all the same factors, I’d end up doing it 50

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all the same again. Obviously, if I knew it was going to fail, I wouldn’t go through with it,” he says. “I had cold feet. I knew things were wrong. But there was so much time and willpower invested. I suppose it’s a bit like serious mountaineering – you don’t succeed by quitting easily. “I had signals that the South African and Spanish governments both wanted it to go ahead, almost telling us to get on with it. And it was also my experience in Angola and Sierra Leone, where we’d been in weird situations before, but by pushing on and being excessively ballsy, we’d won. I thought we could do it again.” Mann’s motivations for the ill-fated coup were complex but he maintains it was, fundamentally, a humanitarian mission. “If I hadn’t thought Obiang was a rank tyrant, I wouldn’t have done it,” he says. “I was invited to do it by the leader of the opposition, Severo Moto – he was chucked into prison after being elected mayor and later exiled. If you say, ‘Fuck off, I don’t care’, I don’t think that’s right. “I didn’t need the money – I had plenty of money already. But after spending so much time in Africa, I felt quite strongly about all this crap government. There are millions of people whose lives are ruined because they’re governed by arseholes. I thought, ‘We can do this – why not?’” Mann’s detractors, however, suggest his real objectives were less philanthropic, that he was driven by cold-eyed capitalism; as a mercenary, Mann was taking his skills to market, hoping to get paid. Certainly, Mann is not disingenuous enough to argue that money wasn’t part of the pay-off – instead, he writes openly about the spoils of war, about the “supertanker-loads of petrodollars to be made”. “If the Brothers-in-Arms put Moto in power, Moto will see to it that the Brothers-in-Arms benefit from EG’s great wealth,” Mann writes. “Quid pro quo.” But, perversely, for Mann, the thrill was seemingly as much an incentive as the financial reward: “My thinking was


Photos: Getty

Clockwise: Simon Mann during his trial; Gerard Butler has been cast in a biopic; president Teodoro Obiang

that we could bring him down and also make a lot of money. There was also an adrenaline aspect – it was a mountain that needed climbing. And I was flattered – I had been retired but these people came to me and said, ‘You’re our man’. So yeah, I wanted to make a lot of money and I wanted another adventure. In the end, I thought it was worth doing. “People might think, ‘Who the fuck are you, Simon Mann, to go charging around Africa doing this?’ But after seeing what a basket case the country was and seeing lives ruined by a criminal government – what’s the difference morally between going to help them and stopping someone being mugged? What if there are no police?” Surviving jail in Zimbabwe and then Equatorial Guinea required, Mann says, “a balancing act between hope and despair”. But then, five-and-a-half years after first being taken prisoner, he was released, almost out of the blue, for reasons he still does not fully understand. “When they told me, I didn’t believe them, I went into a kind of shock,” he says. “I still thought it wouldn’t happen, because so many things had gone wrong, but then I realised it must be true and after that it all happened very quickly. “There are many aspects about it where I simply don’t know and I don’t think I’ll ever find out. Who knows? And are those people ever going to tell me? It’s a shady world where nothing is quite as it seems.” It is a world Mann seems happy to have left behind. Away from the theatres of war, he hopes to forge a career as a novelist and there is already a film planned about his misadventure, with Gerard Butler pencilled cast in as the lead. “I’d quite like to get into writing some fiction and there’s a film that’s looking quite likely,” Mann says. “We’ve done the deal. Gerard Butler is a good guy – I’ve met him a few times and I’m very happy he’s attached. “But, no, there are no more coups planned. All those tyrants can relax.”

A mercenary in Sierra Leone

MEN OF WAR MANAGING MERCENARIES Mann’s business brought him into contact with hundreds of men inured to violence, and he concludes some are simply addicted to the fighting. “There’s a few – certainly in the minority – who quite clearly are people who just want to go on fighting, who just relish the fighting and who I regard as bonkers,” he says. “It’s undeniable – some people are a little disposed that way and you end up with crazy creatures.” Mann relied heavily of former South African Defence Force personnel and admitted that managing these battle-hardened soldiers was at times challenging. “One thing on my side was that I’m half South African and that means something to these guys,” he says. “The other thing was the SAS passport. If you’ve got that badge, even if you’re a complete tosser, it helps you deal with these people. Some of those South Africans are unmanageable by anyone but one of their own.”

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51


SPORTNEWS

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Beaten but unbowed: Danny Green

GREEN DREAM DENIED BY MONSTER PUNCH BOXING Danny Green is in no hurry to decide his boxing future but remains proud that he was four minutes away from beating Krzysztof Wlodarczyk for the WBC world cruiserweight title. In the 11th round, Green was well clear on all three scorecards when the Pole landed a huge left hook. “With that last punch, not many men would have been able to regain consciousness within a minute let alone stand up within 10 seconds,” Green said. “I prepared absolutely perfectly for this guy and we dominated the world champion for 10-and-a-half rounds and then … he took me out with a shot that would have knocked out a cow.”

ALL STARS GAME A TRIBUTE TO BEETSON

Picture me rollin’: Great Britain’s Anna Sharkey of Great Britain trains ahead of the London International Goalball Tournament. It’s a team sport designed for blind athletes, with two teams on opposite sides of pitch. They take it in turns to try to roll a ball with bells attached from one end to the other, while the other team tries to get in the way

RUGBY LEAGUE Following the death last week of indigenous league legend Arthur Beetson, the trophy for the annual NRL All Stars match will be named after the superstar forward. “We might just go out in honour of Artie and do other things, we just might go on a bit more of an attacking approach than probably we have in the past,” said Wayne Bennett, who will coach the NRL All Stars against a side made up of indigenous players. Bennett admitted it was difficult enough already to get a win over the determined indigenous team without them having any added motivation. “When they come together that’s family to them and they just don’t want to let each other down,” he said. “So it’s hard enough without adding Artie’s name to it.” 52

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GOODES READY TO ‘BEAT DOWN’ GWS

BIG WEEK FOR ...

AUSTRALIAN RULES

Kiwi flyhalf Nick Evans may have missed out on the All Blacks’ World Cup triumph but it must be some comfort to be over here, established as one of the Premiership’s top players, starring for its form side. Harlequins have got off to a flier this season but this weekend’s Heineken Cup clash against French giants Toulouse, who are one of the competition’s heavyweights, looms as a real litmus test for the London club.

Sydney Swans co-captain Adam Goodes has welcomed the arrival of “little brother” Greater Western Sydney and is looking forging to establishing a rivalry with the new club. The Swans are not accustomed to having to share the limelight but Goodes insisted he was happy to see the Giants drawing the focus in the off-season. “I think it’s great they’re getting the attention,” Goodes said, predicting the 2012 first-round Sydney derby would be heated. “We are sort of the big brothers up here in Sydney. I’ve got two younger brothers and as a kid you always used to beat them in the games you play in the backyard.”


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QUOTES OF THE WEEK We need Shane Warne’s teeth out there ... we could play until midnight Cricket commentator Kerry O’Keeffe after play between Australia and New Zealand was interrupted by failing light

‘I have too much gel in my hair?! Take it back, you monster.’

PREVIEW Sparks will fly in El Clasico BARCELONA V REAL MADRID

SATURDAY 8.30PM, SKY SPORTS 3 Barcelona are the world’s most admired football team – they’re the reigning Champions League winners and have won the past three La Liga titles, playing elegant, spectacular football all the while. But so far this season, Barca have been outshone at home by their bitter rivals, Real Madrid. There’s not much in it and it is, of course, still early days, with no titles likely to be properly decided until well into the

new year. But still, Real sit top of the table and Barcelona’s loss to lowly Getafe two weekends ago left observers scratching their heads. It would be absurd to write off Barcelona, but this El Clasico should provide further insight into how the two clubs are travelling with Christmas approaching. Both teams boast superstar strikers in rich form – Barca have Lionel Messi, Real Madrid have Cristiano Ronaldo. But Real’s supporting strikeforce, including Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema, have been among the goals recently, while Messi has had less back-up from his Barca teammates.

THE CHAT | USA to bid for Rugby World Cup

It’s not over. I don’t exactly know where it will bounce. The only thing I know is it’s not over yet Football Federation Australia boss Frank Lowy reckons the 2022 World Cup is not yet assured of being held in Qatar

I was brought in for a three-year project. When you set out on a contract you believe in the evolution of a philosophy Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas insists his job is guaranteed. He’s either a master negotiator or very naive

TV HIGHLIGHTS

Photos: Getty

FOOTBALL USA are considering bidding for the 2023 Q The tournament. Is it realistic? What would it mean for the sport? are beginning to position themsleves to host A Countries the World Cup 14 years down the track and the Yanks are seriously weighing up a bid which could see them join forces with Canada. The tournament will be held in England in 2015 but will then go to Japan in 2019, the first time it will be held outside a traditional rugby country. If the IRB now insists on using the World Cup to grow the game, a North American bid might appeal. There are two obvious stumbling blocks. What would it mean for TV times elsewhere? And will the tournament USA’s Takudzwa Ngwenya be diminished if the hosts don’t make it past the group stage?

Manchester City v Bayern Munich City’s Champions League run could end Wednesday 7.30pm, Sky Sports 2

CRICKET Australia v New Zealand The second Test starts in Hobart Thursday 11pm, Sky Sports 1

BOXING Klitschko v Mormeck Hard to see the champ getting beaten Saturday 8pm, Sky Sports 1 TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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SPORTVIEW

TNT puts the world to rights

COMMENT: TOM STURROCK tom.sturrock@tntmagazine.com

‘Andy Murray? Is the award for Least Likeable Re-animated Corpse?’

Ladies, it’s crazy to get sand in your vaginas over BBC list

Why politicise a meaningless award by demanding a quota system?

» Agree or disagree? Is the BBC’s all-male shortlist sexist or not? letters@tntmagazine.com 54

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Imagine being a White Sox fan when it emerged they threw the 1919 World Series. Or a Saffa cricket fan when Hansie Cronje’s match-fixing was rumbled. Now, diehard fans of kabaddi face a similar crisis of faith. What do you mean, ‘what’s kabaddi?’ It’s massive in Asia. Two teams of seven face off on a field about the same size as one side of a tennis court. The teams take turns for one of their players – a ‘raider’ – to run into the other team’s half and try to tackle one of his opponents before returning to his own half. The catch is that,

Give it a whirl at your next barbecue

the entire time, the raider must be holding his breath and chanting ‘kabbadi, kabbadi, kabaddi’. Sounds fun, huh? Maybe give it a whirl at your next barbecue. Problem is, at last month’s World Cup in India, doping was revealed to be rife, with more than 50 players now implicated. Will the enigmatic sport of kabaddi ever recover? Don’t hold your breath.

Photos: Getty

The shortlist for the BBC’s Sports Personality Of The Year award, compiled by a male-dominated panel of sports editors, has been criticised for not including a single female. A parade of commentators and MPs, thrustingly and rabidly outraged on behalf of all women, want to introduce a quota system. Quotas are a recipe for tokenism and farce but, more importantly, why does anyone care? The problem with quotas is that, like Pringles, one isn’t enough. If women are guaranteed representation, who else is similarly entitled? There were no footballers on the shortlist – should we have a new rule that there has to be at least one each year? The absence of openly gay sportsmen also reeks of bias. So a guaranteed spot for them too? Facetiousness aside, an examination of the award’s criteria, ambiguous to the point of redundance, reveals the absurdity of the foot-stamping. Apparently, “this prestigious award will be given to the sportsman or woman whose actions have most captured the public’s imagination”. Can Sarah Stevenson, Britain’s taekwondo world champion, claim to have “captured the public imagination” when so few people know who she is? That does nothing to diminish her achievements – it merely reflects this award’s emphasis on name recognition. It might be fun for drive-by feminists to grind their teeth and insist women’s sport should be just as widely watched as men’s sport. And some days, men wish they had two dicks – reality can be unfair. Should we compel people to watch women’s sport by insisting it’s sexist not to? Of course not. And it’s equally erroneous to cry sexism when, in a one-off, female athletes are overlooked for an award determined largely by contenders’ visibility. Surely there are more pressing concerns for those campaigning for a better deal for the sisters. Did anyone really burn their bra in the Sixties so Rebecca Adlington could be parachuted onto the shortlist for a televised popularity contest? This non-issue merely confirms that the only thing worse than phoney outrage is misplaced phoney outrage.

KABADDI: A NOBLE SPORT NOW TAINTED


Saturday 17th December (Kick-Off 3pm)

Tickets from £30 Adults and £1 Juniors*

Buy online at fulhamfc.com or call 0843 208 1234 (option 1) * Prices apply to tickets in the neutral Putney End. Terms and conditions apply, junior prices rise to £5 on matchday. Under 12s must be accompanied by an adult.

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Rowing solo Kiwi adventurer Shaun Quincey relives the adventure of a lifetime WORDS TOM STURROCK

From an early age, Shaun Quincey was convinced he would row the Tasman on his own and, early last year, he became the first person to complete the solo crossing from Australia to New Zealand. This Friday, a documentary, Alone Against The Tasman, tracing Quincey’s epic journey, chronicling his struggles against the elements and, just as gruellingly, against his own emotions, will be broadcast in the UK. The opening scenes show Quincey at one of his lowest points, on the verge of surrender, after his small boat had been rolled three times in ferocious midnight surf. “I thought it was over. It was dark and there was too much of a storm,” he says. “I thought I’d lost all my oars and that the boat was partially cracked. It was terrifying.” Upon reflection, though, Quincey, now 27, insists emerging from his trial by fire – or by water, at least – was the turning point that fortified him. Among the messages of concern and support received the next day, one in particular rebooted Quincey’s approach. “One guy sent me a message saying, ‘Heard you got rolled three times – you lucky bastard’,” he recalls. “And that caused a bit of a shift for me. It changed my attitude – if I can survive that, I can survive anything – and it just adds to the experience I had. It was a pretty crazy time, definitely a good challenge and a good adventure.” Quincey made the crossing in a modified surf-boat, 7.3m-long and 1.8m-wide, with room to row and a cramped cabin where he slept and stored his food. He can relive the tough times at sea, having overcome them and looking back through the prism of triumph but the documentary shows that, for much of the 54 days, Quincey was a broken man. “The rowing was OK but the loneliness and the boredom were rough. The psychological part of it was horrific,” he says, recalling the effort required simply to keep going. “The hardest part was just the monotony, the repetition. You wake up and you know straight away that you’ll be rowing 56

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for 15 hours that day. When the weather’s bad, that’s pretty tough. You never have an easy day – there’s never a break. You have to be on your guard the whole time. You’re always stressed out.” Every day, Quincey considered quitting. Every day, he sat at his oars and felt he couldn’t continue, often breaking down before having to build himself up again. It was, he says, a miserable experience. “I probably gave up a few times. I threw down my oars and decided I’d had enough. But what do you do? You’re out there anyway and it’ll take five days for someone to come and get you and by that time you could be another few hundred miles closer to New Zealand. So the logical solution was always to keep going, but there was a constant debate in my head. “At about 10am every day, by the time I’d rowed for about two hours, so at pretty much the same time every day, I would start to feel really rubbish. I didn’t want to be there and would get upset about the smallest things. I’d pick up the oars and last about 20 minutes and just feel completely broken, completely depressed, but you had to push through. I’d row again for another 30 minutes and realise I was making progress. But it was a real rollercoaster.” Aside from the emotional toll extracted by his journey, Quincey was acutely aware of the fate of the last man who attempted the crossing – in 2007, Australian Andrew McAuley disappeared while within sight of New Zealand. His kayak sunk at sea and he is presumed dead. This sobering reality was never far from Quincey’s mind – that the last bloke who tried to cross the Tasman on his own didn’t make it back to dry land. “It was a reminder every day – it doesn’t matter how close you get, you can still just disappear,” he says. “I was very conscious of the fact that I could die any second I was out there but I had strategies to guard against that, so I learned


Clockwise: Quincey rowed 15 hours a day; slept in his cramped cabin; and eventually came ashore at Ninety Mile Beach

some lessons from his expedition. I was always aware of it, so stuck to certain rules and routines.” Despite being exhausted and depressed, and unravelling quickly, Quincey was forced to steel himself further in the final days of his trip, when it became clear that, if he didn’t accelerate, the current would carry him north so rapidly that he would overshoot New Zealand completely, condemning him to an extra 10 days at sea. It meant Quincey had to row non-stop, through the night, getting by on only snatches of sleep while hunched at his oars. “You don’t know where the waves are coming from – you can’t see anything. You get hit on the side and the boat partially rolls – it’s rubbish,” he says. “It was a real race against time because I knew that I was losing 10 miles north for every mile I was rowing towards land. I was running out of water, so that was a big factor and I just got by on No-Doz and as much coffee as I could drink. It was do or die. I’d had enough.” Eventually, though, Quincey made it in one piece, landing at Ninety Mile Beach, near Kaitaia on New Zealand’s North Island, where he was greeted by a throng of supporters. Quincey, originally from Auckland, now lives in London, working as a motivational speaker, but plans to get behind the oars again, although he’ll make sure he has some company for any future expeditions. “I’m looking at taking a four-man crew around the world – that would be over three years with stop-offs along the way – and I’ll be rowing the Caribbean Sea in March,” he says. “It’ll be great to do it with a crew, although there are some different challenges, managing the personalities, but it’s just shit being out there by yourself.” Alone Against The Tasman will be broadcast on Friday, December 9 at 8pm on Eden (Sky 532, Virgin 208). Follow Shaun Quincey on Twitter: @tasmanrower

A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY Quincey had a unique motivation to row the Tasman – his father, Colin (above), remains the only other man to have done so, crossing in the opposite direction, from New Zealand to Australia, in 1977. “It was a huge factor – dad was the last person to do it and I had to be the next one. That was imperative for me, for us to be the first going each way,” he says. “It wasn’t a big competition between us about how long it took us, though, because, on the Tasman, it’s really up to the weather. It was just about completing it.” During the two years of planning, this family connection, Quincey insists, convinced him that no setback was terminal and compelled him to keep going. “There were a few speed bumps, but once I started putting everything on the line, committing everything to seeing it through, I put myself in the position where I couldn’t back out,” he says.

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TRAVEL LATE DEALS | HOTSHOTS | TRAVEL TIPS | TOP FIVE | TOURS | BIG TRIP IMAGE OF THE WEEK

A WOOLY TALE Indian vendor Rupaben Gaikwad relaxes amongst yarns of wool as she waits for customers at Laldarwaja area in Ahmedabad. Woollens are in great demand during the winter months in India, where temperatures can fall below zero.

Photos: David Andre; Getty

INSIDE

PARTY LIKE IT’S 2011 /62

FINDING THE FLOW /70

EXPLORE ARUBA /76

Don’t let December 31 become a damp squib. There are plenty of party options throughout the UK, so start planning your big night

Learning to balance on two planks while sliding down a mountain can be difficult. Maybe a Meribel ski instructor can help

Shun the honeymooners and discover a wilder side to this absolutely beautiful, often untamed island in the Caribbean. TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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TRAVELDIARY Laura Chubb

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‘I’m spinnin’ around, move outta my way’

ACTING TRAVEL EDITOR

THE REAL DEAL It’s easy to be cynical about the trend for so-called ‘immersive’ travel experiences. I’m writing this note from Brufut, The Gambia, in a hotel that has a website proclaiming it is set “in the heart of a real African village”.

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WHIRLING DERVISHES FESTIVAL Konya, Turkey This festival is known locally as Mevlana, after the 13th century Sufi poet who is revered in the Islamic world as a near-saint. He believed 7-17 union with god was achievable through dance. On the final day of the festival, the dancers put on the celebration’s most spectacularly elaborate routine to commemorate Mevlana’s ‘wedding night’ with Allah – ie, his death in 1273. DEC

WHY: After Mevlana died, his followers formed a brotherhood called the Mevlevi – or the whirling dervishes. The dance is intended as a remembrance of god – but it also looks fantastic, as the dervishes whirl at breakneck speed, dressed in white flowing robes. Make sure there’s room on the camera.

BURNING OF THE DEVIL

Guatemala City, Guatemala In a bid to ensure all is suitably Christian in time 7 for Christmas, Guatemalans perform a kind of ‘spring clean’ to banish the devil – who, according to tradition, lurks in dusty corners, beneath beds, and in the rubbish – from their homes. To make doubly sure he doesn’t muscle in on the turkey, an effigy is placed atop the piles of garbage amassed in the streets and the whole lot is set alight. DEC

HONOLULU MARATHON Honolulu, Hawaii DEC

11

Turn tropical paradise into hell on earth with a punishing long-distance run.

DO IT BECAUSE: More than a million people come to Konya to see the ritual, which is far more complex than merely spinning around a lot. It’s an almost eerily spiritual sight, veering on trance-like and you’ll feel privileged to have seen it. gototurkey.co.uk

KING’S BIRTHDAY

Thailand

The world’s longest reigning monarch turns a sprightly 5 84 years old, for which there is a public holiday and thousands of bright marigolds fill the streets. Bhumibol Adulyadej has reigned since 1946, but doesn’t seem to tire of the birthday-boy fuss. DEC

thailand.com

KLAUSJAGEN

Kussnacht, Switzerland

In a bizarre rejection of the paradigm for earning nice 5 presents, the Swiss in this town on the shores of Lake Lucerne chase Santa through the streets with whips and cowbells. Let’s hope Mr Claus forgives and forgets. DEC

klausjagen.ch

Photos: Getty

Remembering stories from fellow travellers – about the communities living on the reed islands of Lake Titicaca, where the houses all sport state-of-the-art satellite dishes; about staying with a tribal family in Vietnam’s Sapa, which means being given a room in a family home but never actually meeting the family – I had been a little dubious about what exactly Hibiscus House meant. Would it be just another “authentic” experience created solely for tourists? However, when the taxi turned off the tarmac and began bumping down a dirt road, where kids ran along rolling rubber tyres and scrawny goats skipped within inches of our bonnet, it dawned on me that this may just be the real thing. You could find the set-up a little jarring; the hotel is a private paradise of verdant shrubbery and sunloungers, next to a home fenced by sheets of ugly corrugated iron and with chickens scratching around in the yard. And yet there is an unforced friendliness between visitors and villagers. Tourism has been good to Brufut, and Brufut is good for tourists. Away from the beach resort strips, there’s the opportunity to find out what life is really like in The Gambia, and even make a contribution to it – the local school warmly welcomes curious travellers, and even taking along a few pens and notebooks helps out. Here, the advantages of a truly immersive travel experience have chance to shine: I’m engaging with The Gambia and its people, rather than merely observing – or, worse, not looking at all.


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THAI TOURIST DRIVE

Thailand: open for business

Thailand is launching two major tourism drives to lure back travellers after its worst-ever floods. Beautiful Thailand aims to show the world the country is open for business. The Tourism Authority of Thailand will also be teaming up with hotels to offer two-for-one deals. More than 400,000 international tourists have stayed away from the country during the past four months. The floods, in which 603 people were killed, cost the country more than £3.2bn and affected 2.3 million locals. Suraphon Svetasreni, TAT governor, said: “For those who plan to come during the high season, they will enjoy all the country has, especially Beautiful Thailand.”

Photos: Thinkstock

ARE YOU A TOURIST? If the answer to the above question is no, there’s a competition which could be right up your alley. You’ll Never Forget It, from G Adventures, will award three winners an unforgettable trip, as well as the right to be the face of the firm next year. To participate, submit a photo, prose or an image of an unforgettable travel moment. The G team said: “The winners will be joined by a videographer and photographer who will chronicle their adventure, which will be featured in print and online as part of the G Adventures 2013 campaign. We’re looking for the face of a movement. Is it yours?” See gadventures.com

PILOT’S MID-AIR ROMP A Qantas pilot is under investigation after allegedly joining the Mile High Club during a flight from London to Sydney. First class passengers were shocked by the man’s antics with a woman while in the luxurious seating, which has privacy walls. The off-duty pilot, who wasn’t in uniform, was sitting on the woman’s lap during the flight, but things became more heated. After complaints to cabin crew, the pair shifted to economy. The woman left the flight at Singapore at which point the pilot returned to his first-class seat. He now faces an inquiry, with his £153,000 a year job at risk.

VIETNAM EXPRESS If you’ve avoided heading over to Vietnam from the UK because of the stop-offs along the way, as of Wednesday, there’s no excuse. Vietnam Airlines is launching the first direct route to the country from London Gatwick. The non-stop service will fly twice a week each to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It will cut journey times by more than seven hours for passengers who would otherwise change in South East Asia or the Middle East. The airline plans to increase to seven the number of direct flights by 2014. Return ticket prices start from £660. See vietnamair.co.uk for more details.

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Going off: Propaganda at 02 Academy, Leeds

New Year’s Eve UK & IRELAND

Cardiff will host Oceana

Dublin: a welcoming city 62

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UKTRIP

Party town How to avoid yet another disappointing NYE and see in 2012 in style – without breaking the bank WORDS AZZAM ALKADHI

Is every year the same old story? You talk about where to spend New Year’s Eve, but never actually book anywhere. Then, before you know it, the big day arrives. You end up relegated to an overpriced club with a suspiciously sticky floor (the only one with tickets left) or doing shots by yourself on the sofa. Save yourselves! Plan ahead and make a trip of it, thus avoiding London prices – then party like it’s 2011. Because it will never be 2011 again …

of the New Year. Entry costs £8.50, or, if you feel like splashing out, you can get admission for four people, a reserved table and a bottle of spirits with mixers for £155. Fact: In the past, Elysium has played host to celebrities including basketball legend Michael Jordan and former Miss World Rosanna Davidson (oddly, the daughter of Lady In Red ‘musician’ Chris de Burgh). See: clubm.ie

Classic Grand, Glasgow

O2 Academy, Leeds

Why: If you’re not up for the traditional Hogmanay celebrations, head to Club Noir at the Classic Grand for an alternative way to see in the New Year. The club will host two burlesque shows – Scotland- and New Year-themed, whatever that might mean – as well as playing some ‘vintage’ sounds. The 800-capacity club is designed like a Twenties Chicago speakeasy, with palm trees lining the stage. Tickets cost £20. Fact: After starting life as a warehouse, the building later became a picture house before the swinging Sixties arrived and it turned into a porn cinema. See: classicgrand.com

Why: Propaganda is holding its weekly night of indie, electro and dubstep in this lively Yorkshire city, but with one difference: it’s extraterrestrial themed. And while the students may be home for the holidays, there’s no reason the cheap prices need go with them – it’s just £10 to get in, and you’ll be given a wristband for free entry to any Propaganda event in January. Pints are £2.85 all night. The New Year’s Eve spectacular will be taken to 10 cities in total, so if you don’t fancy Leeds, you can enjoy the very same in Sheffield, Bristol, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham and Oxford. Fact: The Grade 1-listed Gothic building was opened in 1885 by Prince Albert, and hosted a series of circus shows in the early 20th century. See: o2academyleeds.co.uk

Photos: Andrew Hazard, Getty, Thinkstock

Oceana, Cardiff Why: Not just another Oceana. With nine themed rooms – from Tahiti and Icelandic ice house to New York disco and Parisian boudoir – this 3000-capacity club is one quirky place to bid farewell to 2011. And with that many people, you’re bound to find someone to kiss at midnight. What’s more, the rich sporting heritage of the city means it is often frequented by celebrity rugger buggers, so who knows, you could nab yourself a star. Entrance costs £15. Fact: Olly Murs once played two gigs in the same evening at Oceana in Swansea – that’s how much the Welsh love him. See: oceanaclubs.com/cardiff Club M, Dublin Why: Dublin’s reputation as a welcoming city is exemplified here. Fashionable yet unpretentious, Club M, along with Elysium Bar, covers two levels and includes two chill-out rooms if you need to take a break from the dancefloor. Every year it hosts a massive party to celebrate the dawn

Bowlers Exhibition Centre, Manchester Why: After a break of 10 years, Bowlers’ legendary club nights return with a bang. Clubbing doesn’t get much bigger than this, with drum and bass, hardcore, old skool and hardstyle music spread across four massive rooms. The unlikely venue for this mad New Year’s Eve bash is an exhibition and conference centre that includes an extensive outdoor compound and a fairground. Tickets cost £36.50 and you won’t get kicked out until 5am. Fact: The Bowlers Exhibition Centre plays host to Manchester’s largest indoor car boot sale every Sunday, attracting about 2000 bargain hunters. NEXT WEEK So stick around and you might find yourself some treasures to ’shrooming in the New Forest take home. See: slamminvinylnye2011.co.uk TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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LATEDEALS

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DEAL OF THE WEEK NEW YEAR IN TURKEY

£224

A nine-day tour of Turkey is £224pp with Travel Talk – (0208 099 8852; traveltalktours.com). Includes 4- and 5-star accommodation, eight breakfasts, guide. Departs Dec 25. Book by Dec 15.

< £250

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NEW YORK Return flights to the Big Apple are £299pp with cheapflights.co.uk. Flights depart from London Heathrow, to travel between Feb 1-15. TENERIFE A seven-night trip staying at a three-star hotel in Playa de las Americas is £294pp with lowcostholidays.com (0800 111 6271). All-inclusive holiday, also includes flights. Departs Dec 14. MADEIRA A seven-night break is £339pp with easyJet Holidays (0843 1041000; easyjet.com/ holidays). Includes flights and fourstar accommodation on a B&B basis, based on two sharing. Departs Dec 9. SCOTLAND A four-day trip for Hogmanay is £284pp (save £32) with Contiki (0845 0750990; contiki.com). Includes three nights in multi-share hostel accommodation, New Year’s Eve party, Winter Wonderland rides. Departs Dec 30.

> £500 JAVA TO BALI A 15-day trip is £664pp (was £829pp) with G Adventures (0844 272 2040; gadventures.com). Includes hotel accommodation, breakfasts, excursions, all local transport and guide. Departs Jan 1. EUROPE An 18-day tour visiting nine countries is £987pp (was £1185) with Topdeck Travel. (020 8987 3300; topdeck.travel). Visit France, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands & Belgium. Includes accommodation in hostels, hotels and bunglaows, English Channel ferry crossings, sightseeing, trip leader. Departs Dec 10. MOROCCO A 10-day tour is £795pp with Archers Direct (0800 668 1892; archersdirect.co.uk). Includes B&B accommodation on shared basis, flights, five dinners, sightseeing, tour guide. Departs Dec 20.

DAILY TRAVEL DEALS GO TO tntmagazine.com/travel/latedeals where new travel deals are updated daily. There are more than 30 deals live at any time. Also sign up for TNT’s weekly travel newsletter, which will be emailed to you every Wednesday with the most up-to-date deals and guides to over 170 destinations. Sign up at tntmagazine.com/travelemail.

FLIGHTS 23 WELLINGTON RD. LONDON, NW8 9SL ST JOHN’S WOOD

TRAVEL INSURANCE £7 Accra Auckland Bangkok Bogata Bombay/Delhi Cairo Cape Town Caribbean Chicago Dubai Harare Havana Hong Kong Jo’Burg Kinshasa Lagos Las Vegas Los Angeles Manila Malaysia Miami New York Nairobi Rio Santiago Shanghai Sydney Tokyo

£110 £360 £160 £390 £145 £95 £195 £310 £125 £125 £295 £295 £175 £140 £190 £155 £275 £275 £220 £220 £180 £110 £115 £195 £435 £170 £370 £299

Excluding all taxes & subject to availability

CHRISTMAS SPECIALS, PLEASE CALL

avel CLASSIC Trra

020 7586 1234 www.goclassic.co.uk

Photos: Xxxxxxxxxxxxx

PARIS A three-night Christmas Paris trip is £268pp (save £47) with Contiki (0845 0750990; contiki. com). Includes twin-share hotel accommodation, three-course Christmas dinner, River Seine cruise and return coach from London. Departs Dec 24. RUSSIA An eight-day Classical Russia New Year tour is £199pp (saving 50 per cent) with Travel Talk (0208 099 8852; traveltalktours. com). Visiting St Petersburg, The Bronze Horseman, Winter Palace, Red Square and more. Includes three-star accommodation, excludes flights. Departs Dec 25; book by Dec 15. PRAGUE A three-night break at the 987 Hotel is £125pp with easyJet Holidays (0843 1041000; easyjet.com/holidays). Includes B&B and flights from Stansted. Hotel located between Wenceslas Square and Old Town. Departs Jan 25. BERLIN A two-night trip to Berlin to visit its Christmas market is £235pp (was £263pp) with Dertour (0207 290 1111; dertour.co.uk). Includes two nights in three-star hotel on B&B basis and return flights from Heathrow. Departs Dec 16. HOLLAND & BELGIUM A threeday visit is £175pp with Anderson Tours (0207 436 9304; andersontours.co.uk). Includes two nights’ B&B, return coach and ferry travel and tour manager. Departs Dec 9.

£250 – £500


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HOTSHOTS

LAILA PACHECO

Talks travel photography

WINNER

WINNER

THANK YOU MADIBA Mirna de Hart, South Africa

WHY IT WORKS A superb portrait that instantly draws us to the girl’s eyes; the whites almost glowing. Her cheeky smile and sideways gaze are fun and intriguing. Her props remind us of our own childhood. A great choice of backdrop: simple, so we are not distracted from the main subject.

RUNNER-UP CAUGHT IN THE RAIN James Martin, London

WHY IT WORKS Having left plenty of foreground in the shot, it appears as though the street extends forever, only hampered by the parked cars on either side of the street. The image feels narrow, even claustrophobic. The bright sunlight light hitting the floor brings the hope that the rain will stop.

RUNNER-UP

HOT TIPS: Portrait I am sure that if you have ever picked up a camera, you have more than likely shot a portrait. Whether that was of a friend or family member or even a travel-related snap, the basic approach remains the same. The key is for your subject to be strong and well lit. What is more important is that it’s evenly lit – if the light is patchy, this will appear on the subject’s face – so incorporate

either full sun or full shade. The background of your portrait should be simple and not too busy, as this will distract from the main subject. Blurring the background will draw focus to the subject. Remember, the eyes are the focus and are important to get sharp, to create a focal point and engage with the viewer. You can have the rest of the face a little soft, but it’s good to get that punch.

A THREE DAY TOUR OF SCOTLAND AND A PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

WIN

Upload your images to tntmagazine.com/hotshots First prize is a three-day tour of Scotland for two worth £218 from Haggis Adventures (haggisadventures.com). Must be taken within three months of receiving prize letter. The runner-up wins a £60 photography course voucher from Nigel Wilson Photography (photographycourses.org.uk).

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TOP FIVE

ANCIENT RUINS

CHECKING IN

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THE LOST CITY OF STONE, JORDAN

Estonian grandeur

HOTEL TELEGRAAF OVERVIEW Though the postal service today doesn’t elicit much excitement from the general public, there was a time when sending and receiving messages was regarded as a glamorous pursuit. At least, this is what we can surmise from Tallinn’s Hotel Telegraaf, an early 19thcentury post and telegraph centre that is now one of the Estonian capital’s more luxurious abodes. It boasts an Elemis Spa and Restaurant Tchaikovsky, a throwback to the glitz and charm of imperialist Russia and one of the country’s best-rated restaurants. WOW FACTOR Couples come dressed to the nines at Restaurant Tchaikovsky, where a tux-clad duo pluck strings and fill the fine-dining establishment with classical music. Those wishing to bring the romance back to their rooms can order bath butler service, whereby a staff member will set up a luxuriant bubble bath. ROOMS The post office theme continues in the rooms, decked out with warm orange walls bearing framed vintage postage stamps. Beds are blissfully soft, and the bathroom boasts Elemis products. BILL PLEASE Rooms start at £112pn, including breakfast and spa access.

Carved intricately into the rock face in Jordan, Petra is one of the most aweinspiring ancient ruins on the face of the Earth. The city was forged by the nomadic Nabatean people who settled there around the 6th century BC. It was soon turned into a hotspot for silk, spice and other trade routes that linked the Eastern and Western worlds. Archaeologists keep discovering more of the vast city, which was once described by poet John William Burgon as a “rose-red city half as old as time”. Although many houses were destroyed by earthquakes, intricate rock-cut tombs survive along with the Treasury – the most famous facade in

Petra. Going into the site is humbling enough – the entry is a narrow milelong gorge called a Siq, which was created by a geographical fault. It’s more than 180 metres high in some areas and three metres wide in others. Once you’ve made it through the passageway, you emerge into the Lost City, ready to explore even more. Because of its sheer size, you’ll need at least two days to roam the ancient city streets. If you’re feeling lazy, rent a camel, donkey or a horse-drawn carriage, complete with a handler. Then reward yourself with a pint in Cave Bar, right outside the city gates. visitjordan.com

Angkor Wat Tours - Cambodia y 1-6 da tours 99 from £

Vene9, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia telegraafhotel.com easyJet flies to Tallinn from London Stansted starting at £25.99 one-way. easyJet.com

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GREAT WALL, CHINA

Though there’s no truth to the old adage that you can see the Great Wall of China from space, it’s still a pretty impressive sight. Building began around the 5th century BC and continued through to the 16th century, and the wall runs for 5500 miles. The oldest surviving stretch, in central Henan Province, is from about 221BC. Try a sweaty trek atop it, as the wall snakes through scenic, undulating hills and mountains. greatwall-of-china.com

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ANCIENT RUINS

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BAGAN, MYANMAR

One of South-East Asia’s less-travelled ruins, Bagan’s 16 square miles of breathtaking spires and stonework are well worth the trek. The ancient site – on the long list of previous Burmese capital cities – is best for discovering beautiful temples and pagodas that are etched with stone inscriptions and filled with frescoes dating as far back as the 11th century. It’s also fairly central, so it avoids the constraints of the rainy season, unlike southern Myanmar and Thailand. ancientbagan.com

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TOP FIVE

TIWANAKU, BOLIVIA

Tiwanaku is the black sheep of South America’s pre-Hispanic public architecture with its boxy stone sculptures and faces etched into the walls of buildings. Standing as highest city in the ancient world of the southern Andes, Tiwanaku had 40,000 inhabitants before it collapsed in 1100. The city, which is 45 miles west of La Paz, is one of the most important forerunners to the Inca Empire. unesco.org

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POMPEII, ITALY

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD, much of the once-hectic Roman city of Pompeii was sealed with ash and pumice. Head around the bay from Naples to see what was preserved in the volcanic matter – including an amphitheatre, houses, restaurants, erotic wall art, Latin graffifi … and even bodies. And for a panoramic view of the Amalfi Coast, Naples and the ruins, climb up the now dormant Vesuvius.

NEXT WEEK Gourmet getaways: Where’s heaven for food-loving travellers

pompeii.org.uk

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TRAVELTIPS

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Northern Lights: worth waiting for

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AIRPORT LOUNGE VOUCHERS WORTH £60

If your tip is printed, you’ll win vouchers (worth up to £60) for entry for two into one of No.1 Traveller’s airport lounges at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted. With complimentary food and drinks, free Wi-Fi and newspapers and magazines, your trip will get off to a flying start. See No1Traveller.com Tweet your tip to @tntmagazine.com Email traveltips@tntmagazine.com Text TNT and your message to 81707* *Messages cost 25p each + standard network rate. 18+ billpayers only. Send STOP to end. Number may show on bill. A2B 08700460138

READERS’ TIPS

YOU ASKED FOR IT... LAURA LINDSAY FROM LONELY PLANET

planning to go to Brazil next year Q I’m and I’m interested to know about off-the-beaten-track trips which I can do by myself. Could you give me any suggestions? Eva, via email important consideration is whether A An you speak Portuguese. You’ll find it difficult

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to visit. Their tourist board is currently marketing the country as a great place to view the Northern Lights (which I would love to experience) but is it as good as the experience in Northern Scandinavia? At this time of year are the limited daylight hours going to affect visiting the main attractions? Since I am always travelling on a budget, how expensive and readily available is budget accommodation? Ross, via email is a great option to view the A Iceland Northern Lights, however there is no guarantee; part of the appeal of the Aurora Borealis phenomena is their elusiveness. While September to April is the best time to visit to spot them, this time year does not lend itself well to experiencing the rest of the country. Campsites and many attractions are closed, snow may close some hiking routes and public transport doesn’t run a full timetable. My suggestion would be not to try and force activities that are in the wrong season – instead, embrace the conditions! Head to frozen waterfalls, snow-lined steam pools and crossing country skiing. Reykjavik is also a year-round destination, so spend a few days here. Admittedly, Iceland is not the cheapest – but with the opening of easyJet’s new route to Reykjavik, you should be able to drive down the cost of your visit.

CATHEDRALS FOR FREE To visit big cathedrals, which normally charge an entrance fee, on the cheap, pop in just after the service (or go to the service if you feel inclined). You’ll be able to look around most areas of the church for free. This has worked for both St Paul’s Cathedral in London and the York Minster in York. Naomi Langdon, via email

A LONELY PLANET GUIDE

WIN

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Photos: NWT Tourism

to really get off the beaten track without some language to get you by. It might be wise to invest in some lessons before embarking on an adventure in Brazil. My top suggestion for a big adventure would be to visit the Pantanal; the world’s largest wetland. Though it isn’t as well known as the Amazon, the Pantanal is a better area to spot wildlife, including jaguars, capybaras, toucans and anaconda. Nestling against the western border with Bolivia and Paraguay (and spilling across into these neighbouring countries), the Pantanal is best visited in dry season (April to September) when it is much greener, and should be avoided in the rainy season when most of the floodplains are under water. Such a large area has a number of entry points, the main towns being Cuiabá and Campo Grande. You can arrange tours from these towns (or go it alone), but be aware tours can vary tremendously. Our Brazil guide recommends Focus Tours, a US-based organisation trying to preserve the region (focustours.com). There is also the Pantanal Express train, which takes 11 hours between Campo Grande and Miranda (erraverdeexpress.com.br).

really keen to visit Iceland but Q I’m am not sure when is the best time

GET CAMERA HAPPY TIP This tip is just in case OF THE you become one of the WEEK unfortunate few who lose their camera while travellling. Make sure you take a photo of a piece of paper with all your contact details on it, with the heading ‘If camera is found, please return to’, in the event an honest soul finds your camera. You can hope! Rebecca Clarke, via Facebook


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WHERE IN THE WORLD?

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A TRIP FOR TWO TO BATH & STONEHENGE

Been somewhere good lately? Send us a horizontal photo of yourself with a copy of TNT from anywhere around the world and, if we print it, you’ll win a trip for two to Bath and Stonehenge with Anderson Tours, valued at £104! » Email your pictures to ontheroad@ tntmagazine.com along with your name, where you’re from and where the photo was taken, or see tntmagazine.com/world. Files must be at least 500Kb.

SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA Rafael Castro from Cuba

BEST / WORST TRIP

THE TRAVELLER

JENNI DENNIS, 26

TALIA BECKETT, 27

Mansfield, UK

Vancouver, Canada

BEST Nepal. It was just a different world. When I got out of the taxi at Durbar Square, it was like walking on to a film set. There were monks everywhere and kids flying kites; it’s a really special, spiritual kind of place. Monkey Temple was amazing – you can see over all of Kathmandu. WORST My worst experience was realising I needed a cash machine as I was just about to catch a bus in Bolivia. It meant I had to run up a massive hill while incredibly hungover – and La Paz is the world’s highest capital city!

Most memorable travel experience? I loved Lapland, especially the reindeer. I liked Oslo too – just the history, and the mountains reminded me of home. Worst travel experience? When I went to Cancun, I stayed in a really bad resort. It was not the same as the brochures. The food made me sick – and we’d paid for all-inclusive. It was bad. Essential travel item? Good walking shoes. I’ve learned my lesson trying to be fashionable on holiday!

» Tell us your best/worst trips, email laura.chubb@ tntmagazine.com

Photos: TNT

SPLASHING OUT

SECRET BALI Billed as Bali’s best-kept secret, this secluded seaside resort is set in a coconut grove, flanked by the sea on one side, and the sacred Mount Agung on the other. All rooms guarantee a sea view. It’s especially known for its cooking school. Alila Manggis costs from £93pn, including breakfast. (alilahotels.com/manggis)

THE INSIDER

DAVID TAYLOR, General manager, The Hoxton Hotel

My most challenging travel experience was my first trip to Moscow. While I had been booked into a fantastic hotel, trying to get around the city was a nightmare as I was unable to decipher the cyrillic alphabet. My favourite place in the world is Jumby Bay in Antigua for out-and-out luxury. I love the combination of being on a private island and the charm of the Antiguan locals. However, you can’t beat exploring the UK countryside. The next trip on my travel wishlist is South America. It may be easier to persuade my wife to move there for a couple of years, given that we would like to visit pretty much every country there. My guilty travel pleasure is a burger at the beach restaurant at lunch. Heavy on the french fries. Light on the salad! I always pack some basic clothing in my hand luggage, in case the airline loses what I’ve checked in. TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Breathtaking: Meribel is among the most picturesque places to learn to ski

[Caption]

Meribel FRANCE

PARIS

Geneva

SWITZERLAND

FRANCE Meribel & the Three Valleys

GETTING GETTING THERE THERE Fly Fly into easyJet Geneva from(135km London Stansted away form toMeribel) Geneva from form£29.99 and Stansted then and get athen transfer get a(about transfer two to the hours resort. to Meribel) from between €40-65 (£34-£56).

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Finding the flow Who would have thought sliding down a hill on two planks could be so difficult? Perhaps a Meribel ski guru can provide help WORDS JAHN VANNISSELROY

When learning to ski, the most crucial thing to absorb is how and when to apply the ‘snowplough’. Instead of simply leaning one way or the other in order to fall over as a means of stopping, the snowplough allows a more dignified way of coming to a halt. It doesn’t come naturally, as in order to perform it one must become almost knock-kneed and pigeon-toed; a rather ungraceful look when striving for the elegance exhibited by the more experienced skiers. The pristine mountains of Meribel, where 150kms of snow-kissed slopes yields 73 different runs in the centre of the Three Valleys (Courchevel to the left; Val Thorens to the right), are the perfect place to learn the snowplough. It’s here my first taste of the importance of the manoeuvre arrives in the form of Richard, my instructor. Richard (pronounced Reeshard) is the embodiment of the Meribel life. At 6ft 3in, with the deep alpine tan and fit confidence of one for whom the mountains are his office, he is also a third-generation local. His grandfather, so the tale goes, used to chop trees to make skis when he arrived among the first settlers in the Thirties. Now Richard, when he’s not searching for powder off-piste in the back country or teaching rich Americans how to flyfish near his log cabin with no electricity in summer, takes people like me under his wing for a few days. He likes to get them going early. So, not long after I demonstrate that my balance is of a sufficient standard, Richard decides to let me ski the softest slope, one with a decline so gentle even children are handling it with ease. However, soon after teaching me the snowplough, he’s unimpressed by my dependency on it. Rightly so. Sliding down a hill with your skis pointed in to a V is hardly skiing. “Open your snowplough,” he bellows as I lose momentum. And then, as I gain it: “Use youuur snoooowwplough!” It works. Richard nods in approval as he skis alongside me. I’m glad. He’s the sort of guy you want to impress; a majestic skier who is giving up time he could be using to launch himself from the top of the resort’s steepest ridges, to attain the state he calls being “at one with the mountain”. I soon learn, however, that application of the snowplough isn’t only the initial skill to be learned. Richard wants me to now understand how to turn; how to get near the edge of a steeper slope and, at the last minute, contemptuously slide away from it until I’ve reached the other side where I will

repeat the prescription, ultimately achieving a fluid, flowing routine all the way to the bottom of the run. Varying degrees of the snowplough are to be employed throughout. “I weel push you,” he warns. ”That eez the way to learn. Do not be afraid of the side. It is only soft snow down there. You will land az eef on a pillow.”

I careen into the icy bank, a blur of limbs

It proves a struggle, though. My distaste for the edge becomes ever more apparent and frustration increases as I tumble two, three, four times, rather than face it. But Richard is determined to cure my weaknesses. “Let the edge become your friend,” he orders. ”If you lean towards it, you will go away from it. It is not possible to fall off then.” He proves a tough taskmaster during the following two days, taking me higher up the mountains, seemingly ›› subscribing to the theory of birds who push their

The writer finding his snow legs

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young from the nest in order to get them to fly. He leads me down a higher run, laughing uproariously when I forget my snowplough and careen into the icy bank of the piste in a blur of limbs, rather than try to turn away from the edge. As I glare at him, he reassuringly lets me know, “It is coming, I can see it,” before gliding off in front, his exaggerated movements showing me how I would look if only I listened. And then, on the third day, ‘it’ arrives. The flow I’ve seen exhibited by everyone from children to pensioners takes over my body and I perform turn after turn without even thinking of failing or falling. As exhilaration increases, my mouth breaks into a wide smile. Richard looks thrilled, like a proud parent. “That is the face of a happy skier,” he nods as he reaches into his jacket and produces a hip-flask of Juniper berry liquor, offering it to me as a welcome to the club. As I sup from it, Richard is already making his way to the lift. “Ok. Now we go higher … and faster,” he says. “Remember to bring your snowplough.” ❚ Learn to ski in Meribel with esf-meribel.com. Ski lessons, including packages of five half days, from €124 (about £106) per person. For more information on the resort see meribel.net

Pristine: the air is clear in Meribel

NEXT WEEK The best short-haul breaks for New Year’s Eve. Don’t miss it!

MIDRANGE

LUXURY

EAT

Le Refuge in Méribel Centre serves up an excellent range of steaks, salads and pizzas for €10-€20 (about £8-£17) per head. (Facebook: Le Refuge Meribel).

Don’t leave Meribel without a meal at Chez Kiki, where the owner, Kiki, cooks his trademark fillet de boeuf (€31, or £26) over an open fire. You think he’ll burn it but it’s perfect every time. (chez-kiki.fr)

Take your friends to the stylish surroundings of The Allodis: a fourstar hotel with one of the resort’s top restaurants, which is open to non-guests as well. A degustation menu starts at €55 (£47), drinks not included. (hotelallodis.com)

DRINK

Meribar is the place to head if you want to catch up on sports. Four TVs and a huge sound system will make sure you don’t miss a moment of the action. Meribar serves a full English breakfast if you want a cheap meal after a big night out. (Facebook: Meribar Meribel)

You’ll have a great night at Jack’s, the bar of choice for those in their 20s. Jack’s has been hosting apre ski parties for 15 years and serves up jugs of beer, cocktails, live music, pizzas, free pool tables, stand-up comedy and live sport. (jacksbarmeribel.com)

Le Poste De Secours is the most sophisticated, chic bar in town. It offers a full range of international beers, wines and shots, plenty of champagne, and a tempting menu of cocktails. (Facebook: Le Poste De Secours)

SLEEP

Hotel Le Roc is right in the centre of the resort, 50 metres from the nearest piste. (£61 a night in low season; £105 in high season). Comfortable, cosy and with a bar below, so your day doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down. (hotelleroc.com)

A stone’s throw from the slopes, L’Eterlou has timber furnishings, a luxurious feel throughout and a wellness centre including a swimming pool, steam-bath, spa and sauna from €240 (about £206) per room for two, including breakfast. (inghams.co.uk)

Hotel Helios has 18 suites across three floors decorated in three themes: contemporary, Nordic and chalet-style. The restaurant offers a gastro menu (£70) and a beautiful 150sqm spa. From £245 per person per day, half board. (lhelios.com)

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Photos: TNT

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BUDGET


SKI GEAR - RENTAL & RETAIL

Open 7 days a week or book your gear online www.alp-attitude.com EXPERT BOOT-FITTING SERVICE AND RARE BRANDS SUCH AS

STÖCKLI SKIS, BERN HELMETS, ELM & IGNITE BEANIES, CELTEK GLOVES

FUN TO BE HAD FUN TO BE SHARED

MAGIC IN MOTION MERIBEL From that very first contact - till you hang up your boots, we aim to surpass your expectations

ALL LEVELS / ALL AGES / ALL WELCOME FREE JUMP ON THE MAGIC BIG AIRBAG FOR ALL MAGIC CLIENTS

To contact us by telephone : +33 (0)4 79 08 53 36 To contact us by email : meribel@magicfr.com

www.magicfr.com TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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TRAVELWEEKENDER

Slovakia calling This is Bratislava in 48 hours WORDS CLARE VOOGHT

DAY 1: 08:00 Start the day with a sweet croissant and a hot fresh coffee from Coffee & Co (coffeeco.eu), before you begin exploring the Slovakian capital. 09:00 First, hit the city centre’s main attraction, Bratislava Castle, which has been a major settlement since 3500 BC. What you can see today dates back to the 13th century and houses weaponry, antique furnishings and clocks, plus historical portraits. Climb the castle’s biggest tower, which used to house the Hungarian crown jewels, to get views over the Danube plus the Old Town contrasted with Bratislava’s more recent architecture and the Carpathian hills. 13:00 Eat on the terrace of Primi (primi.sk), which is heated in the winter. Do battle and win with a “diet killer” fried meat or cheese dish, from £6.90, or a salmon steak, £13. 14:30 If going on an adrenaline-fuelled whitewater canoe slalom has always been on your to-do list (and why wouldn’t it be?), head out to Cunovo Water Sports Centre (canoeslalom2011.com/info/course-cunovo) on an island in the middle of the river Danube. Previously host to the Slalom World Cup, the Olympic-standard course’s best-known and most hair-raising drop is called Niagara. 18:30 Sample some typical Slovakian food at Prasna Basta (prasnabasta.sk), serving cheap and hearty meals like sheep-cheese dumplings with bacon, £5, or veal with porcini mushroom sauce, £10. Make sure you get yourself a cold Slovakian beer to go with it. 20:00 Hit the bars for the evening. Start with drinks at UFO Club (u-f-o.sk), which is set 85 metres above the ground at the top of Novy Most (New Bridge). It may look bizarre from 74

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the outside, but the view over the city more than makes up for its dodgy-looking exterior. There’s also a sightseeing deck, which was closed under communist rule to stop people looking over the border to capitalist Austria. 22:00 Then, when you’re done being sophisticated, head north-east of the Old Town for Hysteria Pub – a hilarious drinking den, with wall art depicting drunk cowboys knocking back tequila. If you’re out for a late one, this is the place to go, as it stays open until 5am on weekends. DAY 2: 09:00 Wake up to bright graffiti murals in the Patio Hostel (patiohostel.com). It’s clean, right in the centre of the city’s Old Town and costs from £8.20 per night. 10:00 Satiate your hangover with breakfast in the friendly Old Market. Upstairs you’ll find a cheap cafeteria where you can come round with a coffee before heading down to shop for crafts and mementos. 11:00 Overdose on culture in the mazes of winding cobbled streets in Bratislava’s historical centre, The Old Town, with its close mix of pastel 18th-century rococo buildings and communist edifices. Keep an eye out for some quirky bronze statues around the area, like the paparazzi man hiding round the corner from the main square or Schone Naci, made in tribute to a poor mentally ill man from the early 20th century who was well known to the community. There are also statues of a soldier from Napoleon’s army and author Hans Christian Andersen. 12:30 Professing to offer the largest pizza in town, Pizza Mizza (pizzamizza.sk) is the place to grab a bite to eat at before you pick up on an afternoon adventure.


Photos: Alexander Vojcek/Slovakia.travel; Dominik Bugár

Bratislava’s Old Town

14:00 After a slow morning, you’ll be ready to blow away the cobwebs with some forest hiking. Head to Zelezna Studienka Park via the 212 bus from Hodzovo Square and walk up into the park, which is at the foothills of the Little Carpathians. Then walk (or get a cable car) up the Kamzik Hill to explore further into the legendary forests of the Little Carpathians. 16:00 Then get strapped in for a high-rope course at Lanoland in Bratislava Forest Park at Koliba (lanoland.sk). Among a group of trees that are between three and eight metres from the ground, you’ll be able to swing Tarzan-style (but obviously with protective headgear). Choose from different circuits – red for average adults, yellow for couples and black for sporty, agile types who fancy showing off their upper body strength. Costs £7 per hour. 18:30 If you’re hungry for more culture, follow the hip crowd of smoking hipsters standing around the Old Town, into the contemporary art centre A4 (a4.sk). Spend the evening watching arty movies, modern dance or live music. 20:00 Have one last Slovakian foodie blowout at Modra Hviezda (modrahviezda.sk), meaning Blue Star, just below the castle. Deer steak with rosehip sauce and apple puree bread dumplings, £16.30, or wild boar with orange sauce and mashed potatoes, £12.90, should do the trick. Fly from London Luton airport to Bratislava with Ryanair from £70 return (2h10) ryanair.com For other travel options and tourist information visit the Official Tourism and Travel Guide to the city visit.bratislava.sk/en

It’s pretty swanky inside the UFO Club

Head straight for the canoe slalom for an adrenaline fix TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Aruba CARIBBEAN

C AR I B BE A N SE A

A.B.C ISLANDS

Aruba

Curaรงao Bonaire

VENEZUELA

Off the beaten track: the Chapel of Alto Vista in Arikok National Park 76

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GETTING THERE KLM flies from London Stansted to Aruba, via Amsterdam, from ยฃ722 return. (klm.com)


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BIGTRIP

What’s love got to do with it? The paradise island of Aruba in the Caribbean is a honeymoon hotspot. We shun the smug couples and discover a wilder side WORDS SARAH WARWICK

WHEN TO GO: Aruba has a steady climate of about 28-30ºC Aye Carumba!” As his head bangs against in these waters, or a secret spot for a every day, with a strong breeze the ceiling of the 4x4, our driver, Jonathan, passionate love affair. The beaches on this and low rainfall. starts channelling Bart Simpson, with a flood side of the island are only safe for swimming of inventive exclamations. From the rest of when it’s calm, but they’re loved by the local CURRENCY: £1= 2.86AWG the car comes similarly creative language, surfers, who grab their boards and off-road (Aruban Florin). as the tough, rocky terrain has us bouncing their way over here by jeep or quad bike ACCOMMODATION: about like Mexican jumping beans on a (the only way to access the park). Camping is Brickell Bay Beach Club & Spa bouncy castle. I grab the door handle, grit my (brickellbayaruba.com) is located permitted here too, so some stay overnight, teeth and try to concentrate on the dramatic paying just a £15 permit per group – well on stunning Eagle Beach. Rooms landscape out the window, instead of the worth the freedom from the usual hotels from £557 per person per week. impending whiplash. of the island’s more built-up areas. Camp at the Arikok National Park The scrubby desert landscape, textured As we continue our drive past the (arubanationalpark.org) for £110 with dark volcanic rock and replete with wild scenery, it’s not surprising the island per group per week, plus US$12 cacti fingers jutting menacingly from the has become a draw for surfers, with its (about £7.50) daily entry fee to ground, could be the sci-fi movie setting great waves and chilled-out culture. A big the park per person. for another planet – it looks so wild and Caribbean stew pot of influences, from SEE: aruba.com forgotten. It’s hard to believe just 20 local Arawak Indian, nearby Venezuelan minutes’ drive away there is civilisation, and colonial Spanish and Dutch, means the complete with white sandy beaches, high-rise people are laidback and friendly with an “anything goes” ›› hotel complexes and snuggling couples. This is Aruba: an island of two contrasting halves. Known as a honeymoon destination, its paradise beaches are some of the Caribbean’s best. But away from the developed north-west, it’s quite a different place – one with great surf, rugged terrain and bags of potential for an off-road, off-grid adventure. I’ve come for a week to the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao – in search of something different from honeymoon heaven. And, here, on a jeep tour to the other side of the boomerang-shaped island, in the heart of Arikok National Park, I think I’ve found it. As Jonathan maneuvers our 4x4 down a track that’s barely discernable from the rocky ground around it, we approach the coastal landmark of Dos Playas (“Two beaches”). A far cry from the island’s manicured Eagle Beach, here, massive waves crash down on a godforsaken stretch of white-hot sand, between two jagged rocky walls, giving the place the air of a forgotten frontier. It might not be a Caribbean idyll but it’s beautiful in a powerful, primal way. It’s easy to imagine this as a landing Rugged: the raw nature of the south-east spot for the buccaneers who once did their dodgy dealings TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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The less manicured side of Aruba

Take an active catamaran tour

Aruba boasts world-class conditions for wind-surfing attitude. For them, life can be summed up with a five-letter word – “dushi”, which means ‘sweet’ in the local Papiamentu creole (a mix of Spanish, Dutch, English and African languages), and is liberally sprinkled into conversation to describe anything positive, from people to food. Our small group of explorers soon picks up the lingo: ‘mi dushi’ means my darling, and is applied to anyone and everyone, while the bumper-sticker legend ‘dushi yiu’ (literally ‘sweet child’), is used to mean ‘awesome’. Jeep safari over, it’s time to try out some of the other excitements on offer. Aside from the honeymooning, the ABCs are known for their wind- and kitesurfing, so the next morning I head to the wide bay known as Fisherman’s Huts,

off and running. Bam! My face hits the water with serious velocity. I get up, I fall off again. I go about two metres before falling once more. Then I get into a rhythm ... of falling. Tumbling headfirst into the ocean, then popping straight up out of the water and steadying my board before it can float away. “Stay there,” I growl through gritted teeth after a while, no longer wondering who’s watching me talk to myself, just filled with grim determination to conquer this sport. I don’t though,

I get into a rhythm of falling into the water

near the northern end of the island, where – even by 9am – the sky is filled with 30 or so adeptly manipulated kites, the horizon with brightly coloured windsurf sails. The island’s stiff and steady trade winds mean it’s firmly on the radar as a destination for enthusiasts, and every June, it plays host to the Hi-Winds contest, where many of the top athletes in both disciplines compete for prizes. Inspired by the uplifting sight of people zipping along in the wind, I rent a windsurfing rig from the local surf shop, and pretend to them and myself that I don’t need a lesson. I’m certain it can’t be that hard; in my mind I’m already 78

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Jet-skiing will get the pulse racing


and eventually I get sick of trying, and sadly tug my rig back into shore, before sitting down to watch the other people during a slightly sulky sunbathe. Determined to be successful at something, the next afternoon I jump aboard a catamaran and go snorkelling over the Antilla Wreck – one of the largest wrecks in the Caribbean. This German freighter was deliberately sunk by its captain in 1945 (when the Germans invaded Holland during World War II) in order to avoid the ship falling into Dutch hands. It’s massive, lurking like a huge, sinister shadow under the shiny, white sunbathing deck of our craft. Fuelled by the island’s trademark cocktail, the Aruba Ariba, which contains a crazy amount of 150-proof rum, vodka and banana liqueur, snorkeling feels more like flying than swimming. Ah, this is the life. A bit of ‘me’ time – something those smug couples are definitely missing out on. Bonaire, diver’s paradise I never thought it possible to get bored of seeing turtles but by the time I’ve counted 16 in the space of half an hour, I stop counting. The largest of the ABCs, Bonaire, is also the quietest, with a population of just 16,000 to Aruba’s 100,000. Its lack of development is due to the fact that – unlike on Aruba and Curacao – no gold was found here. Instead its natural treasures lie off shore, on a huge reef that hugs the north shore of the island, making it among the best dive destinations in the world. My turtle spotting was part of a snorkeling excursion out to the off-shore island of Klein Bonaire, but most divers are drawn here for the 50+ shore-dive spots, marked with yellow stones, which make it easy to dive (or snorkel) straight from the beach. Empty utes line the tree-lined coast road, abandoned as their owners hoist on heavy tanks and weight belts and waddle out into underwater paradise. Even from the land, the views are sensational – bleached coral beaches give way to turqoise shallows and then a rich, dark blue, as the sloping reefs drop away. The island is the tip of a submerged mountain, so beginners (and snorkelers like me) can stay close to shore, near the summit, while more experienced ››

Exploring the colonial past

The Insider's guide Jonathan Boekhoudt is a guide with the Aruba Tourism Authority “The ideal Caribbean vacation used to mean hours of tanning on the beach, Margarita in hand. Today’s travellers, however, seek engaging and enriching activities as an alternative to simply lounging around the hotel. The trend towards active vacations can be seen in the growing awareness in eco-tourism and interest in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and climbing. “Aruba has much more to offer than Caribbean sun and sand. The island, 20 miles long by six miles wide, is the right size for convenient exploration off the beaten path while the semi-arid topography and geological formations offer a wealth of activities distinct from other Caribbean isles. With an incredible marine life as well, Aruba’s diversity provides adventure for water babies and landlubbers alike. “Constant breezes make Aruba one of the best windsurfing sites in the world, while parasailing allows you to enjoy Aruba’s picturesque scenery. Last year the first skydiving became available on the island, too – soaring from 11,000ft, jumps are made out of a Cessna plane with trained professionals, allowing you to take in all the beauty of the southern Caribbean. Only tandem jumps are available, and the equipment features state-of-the-art fail-safe devices. (See skydivearuba.com.) “Apart from diving and snorkeling, sailing is a must while on Aruba, as almost all of the different water sport companies on the island offer daily snorkeling trips and sunset trips on their comfortable catamarans. Another popular activity is the Sea Trek (sea-trek.com), where you wear a headmask filled with oxygen and can actually walk underwater in a spectacular underwater park.”

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Curacao: postcard pretty

divers have the potential for some proper exploration. Bonaire’s stubborn lack of development – no theme parks, no neon lights (or even traffic lights) – gives the island the air of a remote paradise, which visitors to Aruba’s high-rise area can only dream of. There aren’t any pumping bars and nightclubs, but a handful of excellent restaurants in the island’s tiny capital, Kralendijk – the cerviche at It Rains Fishes is to die for – can offer a glass of wine in bars overlooking the harbour. When you’re there, I assure you, you’ll wonder: ‘who needs more than this?’

Snorkel a World War II wreck in Aruba’s clear seas

Curacao, time to meet the locals

Willemstad has a bustle and hum that speaks of a well-loved and busy city. In the evenings, many of the local rum bars in the city are filled with burly looking Curacaoans nursing glasses of luminous drinks or hunkering down over dominos. My favourite spot was the live music haunt Pampus, a new venue in the town centre, perched atop a pier on a lake. It crams in local salsa and cha cha enthusiasts, until the place is shaking with hip-swinging. Wild Aruba, remote Bonaire, swinging Curacao: three islands, so different, each of them delightful in their own way. After a week’s island-hopping between them, you might choose a favourite, you might love all three. One thing is certain: you – like me – will go away knowing that three islands are definitely better than one.❚

NEXT WEEK Smiling Coast of Africa: we explore The Gambia Horse-trekking the untamed terrain is a highlight 80

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Cairn-like

Photos: Sarah Warwick, Getty, Thinkstock

Everyone knows this island from its famous export – the blue-coloured, orange-peel-based liquer found in cocktail bars the world over. But, as I discovered, the third island of the ABC trio has far more to offer than its eponymous spirit. It has to-die for beaches, especially Blue Bay – a stunning curved stretch of white – and Santa Cruz, where Captain Goodlife (as much of a character as the name suggests) will take you out to the ‘Blue Room’, an underwater snorkelling cave. Away from the coast, the island is lusher and greener than its neighbours. Christoffel Park’s jungle-covered hills were a must-visit, both for the eerie plantation-house-ruins and for a hair-raising jeep tour around the park. Willemstad, on the island’s south coast, is surely a candidate for the prettiest capital city in the Caribbean, with its waterfront rows of pastel-painted Dutch hausen, which give the place a toytown feel, and its Unesco World Heritage-rated old town, with crumbling colonial casas to rival Havana. Peering down the narrow back streets here, I was delighted to find local life on show: middle-aged ladies with their heads full of curlers, children and dogs running past, people chatting in the street. Unlike other Caribbean capitals, which can be run down and empty of tourists,


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2 WEEK XMAS SALE! FESTIVE Egyptian Express 9 days - now £254 FESTIVE Pyramids & Beaches 14 days - now £364

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TRIPLE AWARD WINNERS

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Scotland & Ireland

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EDINBURGH HOGMANAY £335 EDINBURGH 29 DECEMBER - 5 DAY

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HAGGIS HOGMANAY £335 DEPARTS LONDON 30 DECEMBER - 4 DAY

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www.topdeck.travel/deals

WARM UP IN

www.topdeck.travel/festivals

2012FESTIVALS %DS 15 PSTTIVO SHATOVPDEECU AL REWAR K FE

WIT

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9 DAY EGYPT EXPRESS Dep. 17 Dec 2011

WAS £330

www.topdeck.travel/rewards

4 DAY

4 DAY

Venice - 17–20 February

Dublin - 15–18 March

Venice Carnival

INCLUDES USD$135 LOCAL PAYMENT

£189

FROM

FROM

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Pamplona - 4–15 July

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Pamplona

£169

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£179

4 DAY

4-7 DAYS

Fa Middle East Operator As voted by you!

Valencia - 27–30 August

Munich - 20 Sep – 9 Oct

NER WIN vourite

13 DAY NILE & BEYOND Dep. 18 Dec 2011

WAS £698

La Tomatina

£159

Oktoberfest

£109

NOW

£643

UK Golden Backpack

FROM

EGYPTUPGRADE

FROM

INCLUDES USD$270 LOCAL PAYMENT

INCLUDES USD$240 LOCAL PAYMENT

UK Golden Backpack

NER WIN vourite

Fa erator Festivals Op As voted by you!

facebook.com/TopdeckTravel trips for 18 to 30 somethings

twitter.com/TopdeckTravel L8291 / Y2992

Flights not included. Egypt trip price includes local payment based on $1 = £0.635, which must be paid locally in USD. Exchange rates correct at time of printing, and subject to currency fluctuations, depending when payment is made. Discount taken from the trip price and doesn’t include local payments.


www.topdeck.travel/winter

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR

EuroClub

24 DAY

Winter Spirit Dep. 15 Mar 2012

PRAGUE NEW YEAR

WAS £1505

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CALL US 0845 257 5210 Prices quoted are for specific departures only. All trips subject to availability. Discounts are off trip prices only, and do not include food funds, sailing funds and local payments. Flights not included. Topdeck Festival rewards available for Topdeck Festival past passengers. Maximum 15% discount only available for festival passengers who have previously travelled on three Topdeck festivals and are booking a fourth. See online for full terms and conditions.

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IN WINTER


HURRY

BOOK EARLY

TO SAVE Check out contiki.com/festivals

2012 FESTIVAL & EVENT LINE UP LAUNCHED Dont miss being a part of the world’s biggest festivals F -0#!&-'!#Q!+.',%A&-12#*9&-2#*!!-++-"2'-,-.2'-,1@ F 0#)$12"'*7@ F 6.#0'#,!#"9.0-$#11'-,*-,2')',Q0-"9,Q1'2#2#+1@

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St Patrick’s Day 4 Days March 15 - 18 From £229 SAVE £40 contiki.com/dublin

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Enter/Quote Promo Codes l  Sl lklmFo  So lklmFp  Sp lklmFq  Sq lklmFr  Sr lklm *Valid only on 2012 festival tours listed. Discount does not include Pamplona & Bilbao BBK Live tour, NYE in New York, Miami, Las Vegas & Sydney.

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Paris Christmas 4 Day Departs 24-Dec-11

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Ski Austria Ski Europe’s Top Resort the Austrian Welt Region

XMAS & NYE DEPARTURES SELLING FAST!

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Ski Plus

(meet us there) (return coach from London) 7 Nights Dec 24 – Dec 31 8 Nights Dec 23 – Dec 31

£735 (all inclusive)

£775 (all inclusive)

Includes: F Accommodation in Contiki’s traditional Gasthof guesthouse. F Hot buffet breakfast daily. F Free pick up available from Innsbruck or Worgi Station. F Free Salzburg day trip. F Access to Contiki’s legendary bar & themed parties. F Awesome Xmas & NYE celebrations. F 6 Day Ski pass & Equipment hire F 3 Day 4hr Ski Lessons

Book at contiki.com/ski

1 OR 2 WEEK DEPARTURES STARTING 09-DEC TO 25-FEB 2012

contiki.com | 0845 026 8900

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thing do some head Why not and r a e y is th mas – different for Christ ly to Egypt o from n trips start

£535

01963 363 400 www.oasisoverland.co.uk

HOGMANaY 2011/2012

(30TH DEC - 2ND JAN) EDINBURGH 2011/2012 - EUROPES BIGGEST NEW YEARS EVE PARTY ✔ Hostel Accommodation Only FROM £249 ✔ Hotel Accommodation Only FROM £269 ✔ Coach Tours FROM £309 ✔ Hi Speed Trains Tours FROM £359 WOW - LOOK WHAT’S INCLUDED

accommodation ✔ Our Famous Aussie/Kiwi New Year Party ✔ Superb top class city centre n to Stirling excursio art Bravehe ✔ ✔ Choice of room configurations ✔ Street Party Pass options Only Accomm or Coach Train, ✔ ✔ New Years Day party

ANZAC DAY 2012

SUPERB VALUE TO URS TO ANZAC CO VE

2 Day Tour 4 Day Tour 5 Day Tour 9 Day Tour

Just £99 From £159 Only £199 Only £329

– 25 APRIL

96

all start and finis

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LLING: E S W O N S R U O T 2012 cot Day Tours yal As - March 17 • Ro -23 • St Pat’s Day, Dublin c Ladies Day) June 21 (in 14 ril Ap l na tio 10 Na 3d ly an Ju Gr • • Pamplona Holiday 29 • Amsterdam Bank • La Tomatina - Aug 5-9 ril tours - Easter Ap - Munich • Oktoberfest

PLACE YOUR TRUS PROFESSIONAL TO T IN THE MOST URS TO GALLIPOLI Land based tours

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EST! THE B D N A GEST E BIG H T , L A RIGIN THE O . . . T S s SKIFE christma

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XMAS & NYE COMBOS

NYE – COACH TOUR

■ SKIFEST XMAS + PARIS NYE

RISOUL, FRENCH ALPS

£769

(all-inclusive) 23 DEC-2 JAN ✔ 7 Nights Risoul ✔ 2 Nights Paris ✔ Coach London-Risoul-Paris-London

■ SKIFEST XMAS & HOGMANAY NYE

£689

23-29 DEC & 30 DEC-2 JAN ✔ 4 Nights Risoul ✔ 3 Nights Edinburgh ✔ 4 Days skiing & Hogmanay’s NYE celebrations!

@ Skifest Xmas Day

£599

■ 9DAYTOUR 30 DEC-7 JAN (all-inclusive) ✔ Depart London Friday evening ✔ 6 days skiing

NYE – FLIGHT TOUR ■ 8DAYTOUR 30 DEC-6 JAN ✔ 6 days skiing ✔ Book early!

£719

l! ies! Ris rtou

t Pa esin SkNifYE

(all-inclusive)

NYE – MAKE YOUR OWN WAY

£499

XMAS – FLIGHT TOUR RISOUL, FRENCH ALPS ■ 8DAYTOUR 23-30 DEC

£719 (all-inclusive)

■ 8DAYTOUR 31 DEC-7 JAN ✔ Self-drive or train/bus to Risoul

SKIFEST PRICE INCLUDES XMAS – COACH TOURS RISOUL, FRENCH ALPS

£529

(all-inclusive) ■ 7DAYTOUR 23-29 DEC ✔ Depart London Friday evening ✔ Gets back Thurs 29 ✔ 4 days skiing

£599

(all-inclusive) ■ 9DAYTOUR 23-31 DEC ✔ Depart London Friday evening ✔ Gets back Sat 31 ✔ 6 days skiing

UNBEATABLE GROUP ATMOSPHERE! ! TOP QUALITY SNOW

✔ Return transport from London ✔ Optional b’fast & dinner daily in resort £80 ✔ Ski lift pass ✔ Ski/Snowboard hire ✔ Skifest merchandise ✔ Legendary Skifest parties & theme nights ✔ Amazing Xmas & NYE celebrations

Unbeatable skiing

OUR SKI RESORT & ACCOM ✔ Self-contained apartments (sleeps 4-6) ✔ Balcony, kitchen, ensuite bathroom & WC ✔ High altitude resorts 1,850m-3,500m ✔ Top quality snow & over 300km of piste ✔ Ski runs literally at our door step ✔ Funky resort bars, shops & restaurants

Our apartments

Know before you go..... ✔ All Fanatics tours stay in self contained apartments ✔ We DO NOT use complexes designed for schools and youth groups ✔ We only use high altitude resorts with outstanding snow records

BOOK ONLINE NOW!

www.thefanatics.com

www.skifest.co.uk or call 0207 240 3223

COVENT GARDEN OFFICE 1st

Floor, 15 New Row, Covent Garden, WC2N 4LD Mon-Fri 9am-6pm TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Post your message at tntmagazine.com/seeking or email seeking@tntmagazine.com. Text TNT and your message to 81707* Indian restaurant by Twickers, didn’t we?! Thanks for the good times. From the artist formerly known as Slim White Duke. A message for Mick from Limerick: You were coaching some football kids at Clapham Common on Tuesday, November 29. I was jogging and slipped in the wet grass – very ungracefully. You bolted over to help me. My heart swooned! Can we make babies? Amy S, your damsel in no dress.

out to the window cleaner at Whole Foods Market in Kensington. I love watching you do your job in your tight dungarees, and with your wet sponge. I wish you’d do something with my wet sponge. Paloma, just across the road. A spontaneous party: To all the guys who came to view the room in our houseshare in South Acton. Having lived there for several years now, I’ve been through the rigmarole several

THINGS THE QUEEN SHOULD DO BEFORE SHE DIES

#456 Work the sausage bar at the German Christmas market on Southbank

To the knob from Windsor on the train to Waterloo on Saturday, November 6: You gallantly drank your mate’s piss out of a beer bottle, then hit on me as I was getting off the train. “Hello treacle” usually works for me, but there was something about your fake tan and shirt undone to your navel that made me uncomfortable. Or was it your blonde-tipped bouffant? It’d make a drag queen jealous. Anyway, your mate, who looked like Elvis, was hot. Was he single, treacle? Ellie. Squeaky clean: This is a shout-

times. Inevitably, you get a few stinkers you failed to vet properly through the door. But a couple of weeks ago, we had seven amazing potential candidates come to view the room at about the same time. You were all so amazing, we ended up sharing a few cans and having something of a party. We wished we could have given the room to you all. Thanks for a totally surreal moment! The gang from Friars. Whiffo goes large: It’s the circle of life, isn’t it? Or the circle of working life, anyway. Congratulations on the new job.

You’re a force to be reckoned with in travel – and an all-round great girl. All the best, from your mates. Sizzle sizzle: To the East London grill team. Who burnt the SNAAAAAAGS? Jilted bells: Fucking hell, Raffles! I also had plans, but I will cancel them because of the fucking CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CHRISTMAS PARTY. I know you didn’t want me to find out, turd. Skin unrubbed: To the guy at the Skin screening at Prince Charles Theatre on Wednesday, November 30, wearing a black T-shirt with a face on it, a baseball cap and tattoos all over your arms. The venue that night night was pretty choc-full of sausage, but you are the only one I had dreams about. I was the tall, long-limbed, raven-haired girl in the animal print trousers and black top. I had to bail unexpectedly without uttering a word to you and now I’m full of regret. Gutted Mags. Broom broom: Beau Diddy, sad you’re off home and that London didn’t work out for you – not before you bought the electric scooter, anyway. Thanks for donating it. I’m going to get it pimped up big time. Stephen Hawking – eat my dust! Safe flight, buddy. The twins of Tootenanny: You’ve been a screaming double act to have around the pad. Thanks for the laughs, the psychic sessions and ‘four-hands-are-better-thanone’ cook-offs in the back garden. What a hoot! Go give Tassie back their terrible two. Love, Bircho.

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Photos: Getty

Animal out: Attention all London blokes: you can go into mourning now, the Animal is leaving us – after a bloody long time – for Sydney’s fairer shores. The streets of south west London will no longer be her stomping ground, She Bu Walkie will no longer have her to “introduce” so many new Aussies and Kiwis to London life, London’s pubs will probably go into receivership without her drinking all our weight in booze. It’s a sad day for everyone ... though if this ‘real life’ thing doesn’t work out, we’re sure she’ll be back in no time. Love from all of us. It’s been legen-wait-for-itdary: After five years, it’s time to go. Thanks to all ex-Castilians for making my time here so awesome. Special thanks to my brother-fromanother-mother and sister-fromanother-mister! So many trips/ concerts/ castle moments to cherish forever. Remember: there’s no crying in baseball! For the last time, El Capitan out. Missing Miss J: I’ve dich vermisst! Still so grateful you took me in to shelter from the crazies at the hostel and abrupt shock of the weather upon arrival. Happy birthday, hope you have a great sunny Xmas back on the other side of the world with your whanau. I can’t wait for your return (already started planning things we can do in London town). Cat (who slept by your bed just like one, haha). A shout-out to Major Tom: This is ground control. We put away a few papadums, bowls of rice and Cobras last Saturday night at that


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TNT Magazine / Issue 1475