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February 13-19 2012 Issue 1485 tntmagazine.com

DESERT DREAMS Argentina’s amazing Catamarca region

THE WOMAN IN BLACK Daniel Radcliffe’s new lease of life

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Meet the love industry experts

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CAROL DRIVER EDITOR carol.driver@tntmagazine.com

EDITOR’S LETTER If you don’t consider yourself a fashionista, you might think London Fashion Week is reason enough to leave the capital. But don’t forget that cocktails and parties go hand-in-hand with the event. Flick to P8 for our guide to the best. Or, if you do want to escape, why not try camping in Scotland with a date? See P62 to see how our writer got on. Single? Turn to P66 for our top five places to pull. Good luck!

THIS WEEK LONDONDIARY

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LONDONNEWS

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MY LONDON

12

DRINK & EATS

14-15

@TNT

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LONDON SOUND

20-21

LISTINGS CLUB & GIGS

22, 25

SPOTTED

17

COMPETITION

26

CHATROOM THE TOPP TWINS

27

LONDON SCENE SPARE TIME

Photos: Graeme Green, TNT. Cover: Getty

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28-29 34

LIFESTYLE

35-45

SHOPPING

35

FEATURES A PASSION FOR FASHION

8

Get the lowdown on London Fashion Week and its associated events

HEALTH & BEAUTY

36-37

CAREERS

38-39

LIVING

44-45

IN GOOD SPIRITS

NEWS & SPORT

46-57

Daniel Radcliffe tries to escape the ghost of Harry Potter with The Woman In Black

TRAVEL

59-80

DIARY

60

NEWS

61

LATE DEALS

64

HOTSHOTS

65

A DATE WITH DESTINY

36

Get all the goss about our hot blogger Coni’s date with lucky reader Clayton

LOVING THAT LOVING

38

TOP FIVE

66-67

Reach your orgasmic potential with help from some ‘love industry’ professionals

TIPS & STUFF

68-69

PITCHING A TENT

SHORTBREAK

70-72

Snuggle up and romantic on a sexy hiking weekend in the Scottish Highlands

48 HOURS IN... MANCHESTER 74-75 CLASSIFIEDS

110-113

DESPERATELY SEEKING

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30

30

A LOST WORLD

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Get adventurous and explore the amazing beauty of Argentina’s Puna Desert

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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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Carnival: Don’t skimp on the glitter

DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Head of design and production Jon Cooke Graphic design manager Justine Mackay Acting picture researcher Ruth Board 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 , 16 Brune St, London, E1 7NJ tntmagazine.com General enquiries Phone 020 7953 8469 Fax 020 7953 7957 Email enquiries@tntmagazine.com

Shhh... SECRET LONDON BRAZILIAN CARNIVAL GUANABARA

Rio comes to London, with six days of Brazilian bands, DJs, samba dancers, capoeira performers, great happy hours and free dance lessons. It all kicks off on Thursday night at Guanabara, with a performance from the 25-strong team of Ritmos da Cicade. At the tail-end of a London winter, the temptation to immerse oneself in Brazilian frivolity is irresistible, so cover yourself in feathers and sample the kibes. But, if you have to work the next day, maybe go easy on the cachaca; in commercial quantities, that shit is lethal. £5

SALES ENQUIRIES

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PICASSO AND BRITISH ART

MASLENITSA

AN EAST END LOVE AFFAIR

Spanning more than 150 works, this exhibition examines Pablo Picasso’s lifelong connection with Great Britain and the way he influenced this country’s most celebrated modernists, such as Francis Bacon and Duncan Grant. The Tate, of course, does an unfailingly brilliant job curating these kind of highprofile exhibitions.

It’s a great time of year to be cherrypicking parties from around the world – if Brazilian Carnival isn’t your thing, then get involved in the Russian Sun Festival, which celebrates the start of spring. It all culminates on Feb 26 in Trafalgar Square, but there’s a week of food and folk music leading up to the grand finale.

Cramming in films guided walks, live music, cabaret shows and a market bristling with food, fashion and tidbits, this bitesized festival packs a punch. There’s a waft of Valentine’s Day, with themed walks and workshops, but the love’s contained to all things East London, so if you don’t know much about the area, go broaden your horizons.

Feb 15-Jul 15 Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG Pimlico tate.org.uk

Feb 19-26 Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN Charing Cross maslenitsa.co.uk

Sat, Feb 18 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA Shoreditch High Street richmix.org.uk

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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Twister gets weird

ORPHANAGE VALENTINE’S BALL Adam Street Club

If you’re licking your wounds after an uneventful Valentine’s Day, get along to this lavish, Bacchanalian party, just round the corner from Trafalgar Square. It’s madcap decadence at its most alluring, with a chocolate fountain and DJs spinning everything from chaotic Gypsy tunes to big-band classics. Dress code stipulates finest attire and masks, but clothing becomes optional later on. £25

Sat, Feb 18 9 Adam St, WC2N 6AA

Charing Cross

thelasttuesdaysociety.org

ARCHITECT OF THE IMAGINATION

VOLUPTE’S VINTAGE BALL

British architect Nicholas Hawksmoor was born in 1661 and his style exerts a massive influence over parts of the capital today. He’s most famous for his six dramatically Baroque churches, including the brilliant Gothic Christ Church in Spitalfields. Great fun for anyone who likes cool buildings.

You can’t go wrong with an evening of cabaret and overall indulgence at this opulently underground inner-city venue. It’s all lushly vintage, with a dress code that harks back to the 1920s and 1940s – long dresses for the ladies and smart waistcoats for the gents. The ticket includes a cracking selection of food, booze and live music.

Feb 4-Jul 17 Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, W1J OBD Piccadilly Circus royalacademy.org.uk

Sat, Feb 18 9 Norwich St, London, EC4A 1EJ Chancery Lane volupte-lounge.com

FREE

£68


LONDONNEWS

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158 GANG SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN LONDON Police last week carried out 300 raids and arrested 158 people as part of a new crackdown on gangs by a specialist police unit. The suspected gang members were picked up last week, as Met Police officers siezed “significant amounts of crack cocaine, heroin and cash” during the raids. The new 1000-strong Trident Gang Crime Command, is the biggest unit of its kind in the country and was created to keep tabs on gangs following the London riots last August.

“You just knew the Tory party was riddled with it, like everywhere else is.” Ken Livingstone, on homosexuality in politics. He refused to apologise, saying the Conservatives used to be “horrendously homophobic”.

NO ENERGY PLAN FOR ‘GREEN’ OLYMPICS Despite claiming that London 2012 would be one of the greenest games yet, organisers still haven’t come up with an energy saving strategy. Organising committee LOCOG missed their original target of 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources and efforts to cut CO2 might not be met either. The Commission for Sustainable London has urged LOCOG to come up with a suitable plan as soon as possible.

ON THE TUBE

London-bound: Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei’s ambitious art Chinese dissident to design ‘floating’ structure in London Every year since 2000, a selected designer has built a new Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in Kensington, with the intent to create an entirely different feat of architecture to the last. This year’s is set to be the most ambitious structural attempt of its kind, as Chinese artist and human rights campaigner Ai Weiwei teams with Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. Their previous collaborations include the Bird’s Nest – aka Beijing’s national stadium – which was built for the 2008 Olympic Games. London’s edifice, which will be unveiled in June, will feature twelve columns protruding from the foundations of a previous pavilion, along with a floating platform roof and a water hole.

The designers said: “It floats some five feet above the grass of the park, so that everyone visiting can see the water on it. “For special events, the water can be drained off the roof as from a bathtub, from whence it flows back into the waterhole. The dry roof can then be used as a dancefloor or simply as a platform suspended above the park.” Weiwei and Herzog & de Meuron were picked to design the structure this year as a gesture to link the 2008 Beijing Olympics with London 2012. Chinese authorities imprisoned Weiwei for three months last year for alleged tax evasion. His family insist police targeted him for political reasons and he reported being interrogated more than 50 times.

THIS WEEK IN LONDON...

Nudity, for art’s sake

THIS WEEKEND’S CLOSURES/WORKS

CIRCLE: No service all weekend. DISTRICT: No service eastbown from Embankment to Upney and westbound from Barking to Embankment on Saturday. DLR: No service between Stratford International and Canning Town.

HAMMERSMITH & CITY: No service between Moorgate and Barking.

METROPOLITAN: No service between Wembley Park, Northwood and Uxbridge and between Aldgate and Moorgate. Camden Town and Kennington via Bank.

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Photos: Getty

NORTHERN: No service between

Londoners get the chance to see the work of iconic British painter, Lucien Freud. Featuring his uncompromising nude portraits, the exhibition – at one of the biggest exhibitions in the capital this year – will leave little to the imagination. Remember the one of a pregnant Kate Moss? More than 100 pieces by the artist will line the walls of the National Portrait Gallery, spanning his work from the 1940s up to his death in July last year. Next to self-portraits hang Freud’s impressions of his lovers, friends and family – his mother Lucie, artists Francis Bacon and David Hockney, and Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles (Camilla’s first hubby, before Charles).


AN OPEN LETTER from James Nathan (Managing Director of Topdeck Travel) Growing up in Australia, I always had a great desire to experience the Dawn Service at Gallipoli. Coming together with your fellow Australians and New Zealanders at ANZAC Cove to remember fallen soldiers and commemorate the founding of the ‘ANZAC Spirit’ is an incredibly moving experience. I have been lucky enough to experience the Dawn Service in Turkey on several occasions.

»

All Topdeck passengers have the comfort of knowing that their trip payments are 100% guaranteed by Topdeck’s ABTA bonding. In these uncertain times it’s comforting to know your funds are 100% secure. In addition, Topdeck are members of ETOA, WYSE Travel Confederation and USTOA and preferred partners of such big names as Flight Centre, Harvey World Travel, Jetset and Escape Travel.

Being at Gallipoli has also given me the chance to observe the performance of my own company as well as our competitors. Through my experiences, we have constantly fine-tuned our ANZAC programme and I am now sure that our Gallipoli product is second to none in terms of quality and value for money.

»

We have over 30 years experience of group travel, and have been running trips to Gallipoli for longer than any other festivals operator, so we know what you want!

»

Finally, all Topdeck passengers will be given my personal phone number in Turkey, hence, in the unlikely event that there is a problem that can’t be resolved by our experienced staff members, I will personally attend to it.

For our 2012 Gallipoli program I can assure you: »

»

»

»

All Topdeck passengers will stay in 3 to 4 star hotels, all of which in Istanbul are located within walking distance of the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar as well as the restaurants and nightlife of Sultanahmet. All Topdeck trips will be accompanied by experienced Turkish Guides who have been to Gallipoli. Topdeck Turkish guides are paid above the industry average, are highly experienced and have an excellent command of English. We do not cut costs (as some companies do) by supplying a guide who has never visited Gallipoli. In addition, all Topdeck trips will also be accompanied by one of our own European trained Australian or New Zealand Trip Leaders. Only Topdeck Trip Leaders undergo a rigorous 7 week Training Trip renowned for its quality within the travel industry.

As you can see, at Topdeck we are committed to giving all our passengers superior quality trips. As a preferred supplier to some of the most respected names in the travel industry worldwide, this is our charter. So, if you are thinking of travelling to Gallipoli this year make sure you talk to us. You have my personal guarantee that we have left no stone unturned to ensure you will have a truly memorable ANZAC trip. This is a once in a life time experience, make sure you do it right. I invite you all to experience Gallipoli in 2012 the Topdeck way. Cheers,

All Topdeck passengers will travel in style in some of Turkey’s most modern air conditioned and video equipped coaches.

James Nathan

trips for 18 to 30 somethings

L8291 / Y2992

www.topdeck.travel


In the front row: catch a catwalk show

Going the extra style You don’t need to be on the list to get some London Fashion Week action – the weekend’s full of exciting events for those in the know WORDS CLARE VOOGHT

London’s premier fashion event is all about exclusive parties and glamorous catwalk shows, and this Saturday, the next installment from the fashion industry kicks off. But if you’re not an insider, you probably won’t be able to get in. Fashion hounds needn’t throw their Mulberry handbags down in a huff yet, though – there are tons of fashion events for civilians, too. The biggest is London Fashion Weekend, which takes place just after Fashion Week, on February 23. The four-day event will host more than 100 designers – Antipodium, French Sole and Twenty8Twelve included – selling pieces with up to 70 per cent discount. It’s a chance for stylistas to get their hands on designer trends for this season and next, at high-street prices. Events manager at the British Fashion Council, Caroline Reader, advises getting in quick. “Stock is mostly limited and some pieces are one-offs,” Reader says. “So, if you see something you love, grab it immediately.” There’s an area dedicated to vintage clothing, plus the Weekend Boutique will be satiating any British-brand needs. Stylish boys will find a menswear 8

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area with heavily discounted names, including DKNY, Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs and plenty of new labels. The catwalk shows throughout the weekend will be for both menswear and womenswear, and they’ll take place in exactly the same spot as the industry runway shows did during Fashion Week, showcasing the trends for spring/ summer 2012. London Fashion Weekend isn’t just about the shopping, either. There’ll be DJs, pop-up bars and eateries from the likes of Chambord and Frae. You’ll find fashion and beauty booths all over the place – book hairstyling at the Toni & Guy stand (londonfashionweekend. co.uk), and hit The Cowshed Spa for mini-treatments and up to 50 per cent off products. Keep an eye out for competitions and free samples, too. Fashion site shopstyle.co.uk, and celebrity stylists Rebekah Roy and Fiona Doran (aka Mrs Jones), will be on hand to share their fashion know-how. They’ll be picking outfits for people to try from their pop-up styling booth’s hand-picked wardrobe – filled with pieces from designers at the event. They’ll also give tips on how to wear

what you’ve already bought, and be taking glam pictures. The ladies will also be sharing the big trends from Fashion Week, and giving tips on how to spend your cash wisely on the designer pieces. “London Fashion Week is great for seeing what’s coming out,” Roy says. “But if you want to shop, it’s all about London Fashion Weekend.” When she clocks off work to shop, Roy will be checking out Kirsty Ward’s jewellery and the super-high shoes from Finnish brand Finsk. While there’s enough to do this Fashion Week to make up for not getting into the exclusive parties, if you’re still after a spot on the list, Doran suggests social networking. “My party-girl assistant Naddy’s tip is to look the events up on Facebook,” she says. “Then just get in touch, say you’re a fashion bod and ask to get put on the list. It works, apparently.” LONDON’S TOP FASHION EVENTS ›› The Vodafone London Fashion Weekend, February 23-26. Tickets from £12.50 Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA Temple londonfashionweekend.co.uk


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CATWALK TO COVER LONDON BRIDGE

NEW FASHION: INTERVENTIONS IN MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES MARYLEBONE

Putting what happens between the catwalk and magazine covers under the spotlight, this talk covers what goes into haute couture. Examine designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Marc Jacobs. £7

Until Sat, Feb 25 83 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF London Bridge ftmlondon.org

BOURJOIS BOUTIQUE AT THE GALLERY SHOREDITCH While you watch screenings of the LFW catwalk shows, get your hair styled, nails manicured and make-up perfected for free, while also enjoying some super discounts on cosmetics (about 65 per cent off) and limitededition products. There’ll also be macarons, and fashion illustrator Zarina Liew will there to sketch your new look. FREE

February 16-20. Thurs 12-5pm, Fri 12-6pm, Sat-Mon 12-8pm Beach Blanket Babylon, E1 6LA Shoreditch High Street beachblanket.co.uk

CATWALK SCREENINGS AT THE MAY FAIR HOTEL MAYFAIR

SWAP IN THE CITY UK BLOOMSBURY

Instead of being stuck behind some tall model at the runway shows, or worrying about a rude fashionista stealing your seat, watch live catwalk screenings in the classy surrounds of The May Fair Hotel. The official LFW hotel will broadcast the shows in its Quince Restaurant & Bar, where you can eat pink candyfloss with your cocktails. On Sunday, February 19, they will launch a clubnight hosted by DJ and singer-songwriter Sunday Girl (aka Jade Williams), which is set to be one hell of a stylish party. Who says you need tickets to appreciate couture?

Skint fashion lovers: unite for a swish (aka clothes swap). As part of the oh-so-ethical Good Fashion Show, this is one decent clothes-swapping event, where you’ll not only be helping the environment by recycling old clothes, but also save some cash by trading in your unwanted items for someone else’s. The rules are: bring 5-10 quality vintage or designer items (clothes, shoes, handbags or coats), then take the same number of pieces home. It’s basically a new outfit for £6. For your entry fee, you’ll also get a goodie bag. Treatments including minimanicures and massages will also be available at the swishing event.

Live screenings take place throughout LFW Stratton Street, W1J 8LT Green Park themayfairhotel.co.uk

Sat, Feb 18. 3pm-6pm London House, Mecklenburgh Square, WC1N 2AB Russell Square eventbrite.com

FREE

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Why sit around watching established designers’ clothes trotting down the catwalk when you can be one of the first to see the ‘next big thing’? This exhibition showcases bright, young talent in the design, illustration and photographic realms of fashion. New and exciting designers such as knitwear specialist Derek Lawlor, and Fashion Fringe awardwinners Fyodor Golan, Vogue’s ‘one to watch’, Una Buke, and Felicity Brown, who cut her teeth at Mulberry and Lanvin, will show their experimental, but wearable, pieces. FREE

FRONT ROW COCKTAILS WEST END

February 16–April 7. Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-4pm. 20 John Princes Street, W1G 0BJ Oxford Circus fashionspacegallery.com

£6

If you can’t get in the front row, at least have a Front Row cocktail. The menu at the Light Bar includes the London Legged Londoner, made with gin, rose syrup and pink-clove cordial; and the $10,000 Breakfast, with jasmine-and-clove-infused vodka, creme de peche, lemon, sugar and egg white. £6

Throughout LFW 45 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4HX Leicester Square stmartinslane.com

MARY KATRANTZOU AT TOPSHOP OXFORD STREET Get a taste of designer gear with Mary Katrantzou’s line for Topshop. Starts at £40. From Fri, Feb 17. 9am 214 Oxford Street, W1W 8LG Oxford Circus topshop.com

THE ONE-DAY DESIGNER’S SALE CLERKENWELL Get discounts of up to 75 per cent off pieces from 45 cutting-edge UK designers. FREE

Tues, Feb 21. 12pm-7pm 33-35 St John’s Square & 21 Clerkenwell Green, EC1M 4DS Farringdon craftcentral.org.uk


ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME? TECHNOLOGY AND FASHION TRENDS CAMDEN

FASHION WEEK COCKTAILS CITY

All eyes here are on ethical fashion. During the day, fair trade, organic and sustainable clothes by international designers will be on sale. There’ll also be industry speakers and an exhibition of provocative fashion photography and art. In the evening, there’s a catwalk show that proves ethical clothes can still look freakin’ amazing.

Even if you don’t manage to crash the VIP events and sip champagne while pouting with Anna Wintour and Victoria Beckham, you can still sip some fashionable cocktails in the more relaxed surroundings of a bar. The Anthologist in the City is serving LFW cocktails, such as the McQueen, made with Snow Queen vodka, Lillet Blanc, rhubarb bitters, hibiscus water and edible flowers. Or try Hobo Haute, a heady mix of vanillainfused Buffalo Trace, Guinness, ginger syrup and chocolate bitters. And the Russian Rose Martini has less than 150 calories. Glam.

Sat, Feb 18. Exhibitions & Market, 9am-7pm. Runway show, 7.30pm London House, Mecklenburgh Square, WC1N 2AB Russell Square thegoodfashionshow.org

Feb 17-23 58 Gresham Street, EC2V 7BB Bank theanthologistbar.co.uk

£7+

FREE Any tecchie fashionistas should head to this session on how technology and social media influences the world of fashion. There’ll be a panel discussing the issues, including Nicola McClafferty, from second-hand designer website Covetique.com, and Dean Fankhauser, from social fashion wishlist site Nuji. Mon, Feb 20. 6pm 19 Mandela Street, NW1 0DU Camden Town eventbrite.com

THE GOOD FASHION SHOW BLOOMSBURY £5/£30

STYLE ICON KARAOKE SOHO Step into the shoes of your top style icon for a silly night of fashion-themed karaoke in celebration of LFW. Get free entry by emailing email@ karaokenetwork.com.

A CATWALK SHOW AND A FILM PREMIERE WEST END

FREE

MIRJAM NUVER’S BUTTERFLY EXHIBITION AT THE HAT GALLERY KENSINGTON Always thought you’d fit well in the front row of Ascot, sporting an enormous hat? If you can’t get into Fashion Week for inspiration on your headwear, lust over some big and beautiful millinery at the Hat Gallery. Both one-offs and ready-to-wear pieces from Dutch hat-maker Mirjam Nuver, will be on show, with all designs based on butterflies.

Photos: Fiona Hanson, Ivan Bellaroba, Yayoi Kasuma

FREE

Until Mon, Feb 27. 10am-6pm 32-34 Earl’s Court Road, W8 6EJ High Street Kensington hat-gallery.co.uk

On a more serious note, this exhibition looks at the textile industry from the angles of capitalism, labour, colonialism, international trade and radical politics. Mainly focusing on India, it looks at the social and economic role of fabric production.

Get in on a stylish soiree for fashion fans who don’t necessarily have special access. It’s by designer Danish Wakeel, to showcase his new collection, Draped Modern Kouroi. Guests will be the first to see The Ivory Tower – a short movie highlighting the artistic side of Wakeel’s music-influenced collection, as well as the more sinister side of high fashion. There’ll also be tasty canapés, live music, goodie bags and a live catwalk show. A £20 VIP ticket will get you front-row seats and a swag of freebies. Ten per cent of all ticket sales goes to Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. The dress code for the night is “smart and fashionable”, naturally.

Until Sat, Mar 10 Rivington Place, EC2A 3BA Old Street iniva.org

Wed, Feb 22. 9pm 1 Leicester Square, WC2H 7NA Leicester Square eventbrite.co.uk

Mon, Feb 13. 6pm-11pm 11 Lower John Street, W1F 9TY Piccadilly Circus karaokenetwork.com

SOCIAL FABRIC SHOREDITCH FREE

£10-20

YAYOI KUSAMA SOUTHWARK Known for using dot patterns, the 82year-old fashion designer and Japanese contemporary artist will collaborate with Louis Vuitton this summer. She gets a retrospective at the Tate Modern, just in time for LFW. £10

Until Tue, Jun 5. 10am-6pm daily Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG Southwark tate.org.uk

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bitions www.topdeck.travel/events-exhi

MYLONDON

Africa

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DON ’T MISS!

“FALL IN LOVE WITH AFRICA” Shpeherd’s Bush Walkabout Friday 17th Feb from 7pm

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PHILLIP BROWNE CEO OF TRY TAG RUGBY

4 DAY

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Amsterdam Easter

Wales Easter 6–9 April

The most interesting person I’ve met is one of my father’s ex-British army colleagues. They were recruited in the late 1960’s from Fiji, as it was a British colony at the time. He had so many interesting stories to tell. My favourite place for a drink is The Curtains Up pub in Baron’s Court. There’s a great vibe and they are always very welcoming.

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When I want to chill out I go to the gym, believe it or not! It’s a brilliant way to let off steam and you always feel great after an intense workout.

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London’s best-kept secret is Alounak, a Persian restaurant in Bayswater. It serves amazing food and it’s also great value for money. The place always has a queue, so I checked it out one day thinking it must be good – and it was.

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What baffles me about London is that the weather is so unpredictable. You can regularly get four seasons in one day.

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When you’re hungover in London head to Balans in Soho for a three-egg omelette with two fillings. It’s a great way to start the day fresh! What gets me up in the morning? The fact that I get to do something that I’m passionate about as my job. That and Weetabix with milk. My perfect weekend would start with a walk along the scenic Thames on a nice day, followed by a comedy club or theatre show and a live sports event, such as watching the London Broncos or Wimbledon. XXXXXXX /00 XXXXXXXXXXX /00

The biggest faux-pas I’ve made was on my first overseas trip after I arrived in London, travelling with a rugby sevens squad to Italy. I was the only person without a British passport and I was tagging along with the squad through customs. I didn’t realise I needed to have a visa stamp to board the plane but I learnt my lesson when I had to fork out £260 and wait another six hours in Stansted airport for the next flight! The last naughty thing I did was have a 1am snowball fight in a residential area. We may have been a bit louder than we thought. Five words that sum up London ... Gateway to Europe, vibrant, interesting!

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COLCHIS

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Georgian delight: Notting Hill’s Colchis

BAR THE SCENE This Georgian establishment in the quiet and leafy environs of Notting Hill is a stylish-yet-welcoming venue, where quality is the order of the day. THE GRUB There are an array of appetisers to accompany your tipple of choice. We sample the Pkhali platter (aubergine slices with walnut, leek and Georgian spices), which is a delight. The Ajapsandali (an aubergine ragout) is surprisingly spicy, and a welcome accompaniment to the Khachapuri (cheese bread). The Khinkali (Georgian dumplings) are a superb and succulent highlight. With a separate restaurant at the back serving Georgian dishes such as Chanakhi (lamb stew) and Mtsvadi (shashlyk with red onions, potatoes and dipping sauces), there is provision for those seeking further culinary sating, too. BEHIND THE BAR An extensive selection of wines, New World and Old, as well as some choice Georgian tipples, too – some available by the glass or carafe, but most by the bottle. We opt for the Orovela Red Cuvee Chadrebi cab sav, which is warm, rich and full-bodied. A suitably resplendent selection of beers and spirits is also on call, as is a range of cocktails. BILL PLEASE Appetisers from £7.50. Wine – glass from £6; bottle from £23. VERDICT With an inviting atmosphere, fine food and a stunning selection of drink, Colchis comes highly recommended. ALASDAIR MORTON

39 Chepstow Place, W2 4TS

colchisrestaurant.co.uk

3 OF THE BEST VALENTINE’S DAY VENUES

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Notting Hill Gate

BRASSERIE GERARD ARCHER STREET

RIBA RESTAURANT

If a trip to the City of Love isn’t likely, visit Kensington’s next best thing. The threecourse Valentine’s sharing menu at the French joint is £19.95 a head and includes bubbles, plus a choice of aphrodisiac-filled dishes.

Feast on a choice of romantic dishes such as oysters, côte du boeuf, sea bass and heart-shaped pavlovas, in a magnificent Art Deco building on Portland Place. Top that off with a glass of pink bubbly, all for £49 each.

brasseriegerardkensington.co.uk

Couples can sip a Cupid’s Bow raspberry, rose and gin cocktail in an alcove of the dimly lit Soho bar, while staff serenade them with romantic tunes. The repertoire ranges from Barry White to Beyoncé. archerstreet.co.uk

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BITE SIZE

East Street: bustling and eclectic

TIME TO RUB IT IN If cooking delectable feasts doesn’t come naturally, but you want to impress, get some Spicentice rubs. Slather the ready-prepared herbs and spices on to a chunk of meat or add to a pasta dish. There’s herby fish flavour, barbecue, harissa, Italian, peppery, tandoori and ras el hanout (which has rose petals in it, if you’re cooking for Valentine’s Day). Each tub costs £3.99. See the website for recipes. spicentice.com

TASTES LIKE HEARTBREAK This year, spare a thought for the Ones That Got Away. The bar manager at Notting Hill’s Lonsdale has named two cocktails after the girls who broke his heart. The S. Brach is made from Absolut Wild Tea, Aperol, Punt e Mes and orange bitters to reflect her dry wit. The N. Macnaughton pays homage to a sweet, but brutally honest, Glaswegian – with raspberries, Auchentoshen, creme de mure, apple and egg white. thelonsdale.co.uk

Photos: Lisa Barber, TNT

BAG A LOVE BAGEL Get the love sparks flying from the get-go on Valentine’s Day, by dishing up the eggs with a special edition heart-shaped bagel. You have to be clever to get your hands on one, though. The only way is to visit the New York Bakery Co Facebook page and write, in no more than 30 words, why such a bagel would make an ideal gift for your lover. Get your creative juices flowing. facebook.com/newyorkbakery

EAST STREET Pan-Asian THE SCENE East Street is styled like the kind of streetside canteen you might find in Hong Kong or Bangkok, with manga sensibilities and bright neon signs overhead. It is, though, far more welcoming and low-key than anything you’ll find in those back alleys, with a menu drawing equally from Korean, Japanese, Singaporean, Vietnamese and Malaysian cuisine. It’s a curious concept that might suggest East Street is spreading itself too thinly, but it instead delivers pleasing variety perfectly suited to large groups taking up residence on one of its long benches. THE GRUB The breadth of choice feels a little overwhelming, but the food, overall, is excellent. Go heavy on the sides – they’re probably the most interesting. Highlights include the Korean bulgogi, which is marinated beef, and perfectly grilled Japanese gyoza – dumplings, to the unschooled. If you like your Asian broths, the Singaporean laksa and the Vietnamese pho are old favourites, while the fresh Thai salads, fusing mint, lime and papaya, are top-notch. The noodle and stir-fry dishes might seem stock-standard, but are full of flavour, while the curries are packed with exotic spices but can veer toward stodginess. Still, reliable comfort food. For dessert, the caramen chuoi ran – fried banana in breadcrumbs – is a delicious sugar rush and the Vietnamese coffee could be the best thing ever.

There’s a brief but well-balanced selection of wines, ranging from £3.25 for a small glass to bottles starting at £14. Or choose from a selection of Asian beers, starting at £3.50 a bottle. Make sure you leave room for a cocktail, though – the Saigon negroni, basically a gin and lychee martini, at £6, is excellent. BILL PLEASE Starters from £4; mains from £7; dessert from £3. VERDICT There’s no shortage of Asian food in London but having it all under one roof – complemented by a fun, bustling atmosphere and eclectic decor – make East Street a winner well-placed to attract return custom. TOM STURROCK BEHIND THE BAR

3-5 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HJ

eaststreetrestaurant.com

Tottenham Court Road

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LETTER OF THE WEEK

Kiwis: often hilarious

81707*

Manchester City have offered 50 million for the cat from last week’s game between Liverpool and tottenham.

Nico Hi Shelly, thanks for all the amazing nights out in London. be back soon.

Aimee Dogs are tough. I’ve been interrogating mine for hours and he still refuses to tell me who’s a good boy.

Eldon Dear Australians, just remember who has two (!) world cups in the cabinet.

Kia Ora Bro Yesterday I set my wifi’s name to “Hack this if you can”. When I checked it today, it was called “Challenge accepted”.

Julian Democracy: Where any two idiots can outvote a genius.

Anna B Looks like Madonna and I have something in common... Neither of us have ever sung at the Superbowl.

Lily

Julia I decided to do a few drugs last night with my shoelaces undone. Big mistake - I was tripping all night.

Just say no

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My experience of the Waitangi Day Pub Crawl did not reflect that of Dylan Clements (reported on tntmagazine.com). Instead, I was greeted by cheery, care-free Kiwis, some hilarious costumes, and a cold pint or two. Commuters on the Tube were more intrigued than disturbed, and one woman was helped with her luggage by a herd of sheep. I hope Clements’ negative comments do not affect the event next year, because, on the whole, it was ‘sweet as!’ Charlie Panapa, via email

WAIT A MINUTE!

LET THEM GO

Why is hospitality such a low-paid job? It seems the more you work, the less you get paid these days. People are still eating out, so why are we getting paid so little? Spending 16 hours a day working to make a living just doesn’t seem right. Next time you go for a drink or a feed somewhere, appreciate the time and effort people are putting in to make you happy. Perhaps cheer them up a bit and say ‘thank you’. Erin Pascoe, via email

Good on tntmagazine.com for drawing attention to the current legal battle in the US regarding the rights of whales and dolphins. I think all animals captured by humans should be considered ‘slaves’ and, therefore, their ‘masters’ should be punished, and the captives released. No living creature should control another – especially for fun. Free Willy and all his mates – right now! Gretel, via email

I’ve just read on tntmagazine.com that the nation’s beer prices are going up. People will start drinking the specials more often. I’ve noticed a significant increase in people drinking Foster’s and Zlaty Bazant here in Dublin after price hikes for Carlsberg etc over the past couple of years. Lennard Ramone, via Facebook

TIME TO REGULATE Re: the latest racist Tube woman, featured on tntmagazine.com. No way that would happen on my line; I would have cut sick at her! It’s incredible how much nicer people are on buses than the Tube. Everyone turns into a prick when they go underground. Tahly Ennis, via Facebook ONE HOT DATE /36 ARGENTINA /76

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TNT WAITANGI COCKTAIL PARTY Elk Bar, Fulham. Monday, February 6 Photos by: Phoebe Cherrill / TNT Images

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LONDONSOUND

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Gonzalez: breaking through to the masses

festival

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WHEN: Jul 12-14. Kobetamendi, Spain. £88 SEE: bilbaobbklive.com/2012 Launching a third major stage this year, this lush and hassle-free festival – which boasts a spectacular mountain-view location close to the beach – welcomes its strongest line-up yet. Occupy supporters Radiohead and goth-popsters The Cure (pictured) headline, with Glasvegas, Snow Patrol, Tribes, Warpaint and Noah And The Whale among the acts so far confirmed.

M83 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT THURS, FEB 16 | DOORS AT 7PM | £25+

M83 are considered France’s latest musical success story, but little known is that before 2011’s breakthrough record, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, M83’s main man, Anthony Gonzalez, had been plying his trade under the same moniker for a decade. In fact, last year’s critical and commerical smash was his sixth long player – good things come to those who wait, it would appear. After October’s release of the extraordinarily ambitious double album – a sprawling, eclectic epic in the very truest sense, veering from synth rock and saxophone solos to soft, electro chill-out – M83 came to the UK for a show at Heaven. This time they’re at a far more fitting venue in west London’s Empire. Combining electro with a distinctly Nineties-flavoured shoegazing indie-guitar aesthetic, M83 have always walked a distinct musical path. Since the departure of fellow founder Nicolas Fromageau, though, Gonzalez (with help from brother Yann) has forged a new and alternative direction, taking the syths, guitars and often low-in-the-mix vocals towards a more ambient composition. Remixing everyone from nu-metal survivors Deftones to Brit indie stars Bloc Party and Placebo to electro-pop minx Goldfrapp, M83’s influence is now far and wide. There is the sense now, though, that Gonzalez’s critically acclaimed efforts are getting the commercial recognition – and expectant fans – they deserve, with M83 poised to finally deliver their contrary, electro-rock to the masses. o2shepherdsbushempire.co.uk

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NEW BAND

GHOSTPOET GIG FRI, FEB 15. 7PM £15

This soul-influenced MC – born Obaro Ejimiwe – released his stunning, list-of-2011frequenting debut long player, Peanut Butter Blues And Melancholy Jam, last year and toured relentlessly, supporting the likes of Metronomy and Jamie Woon. A Mercury nom followed too, which is not a bad run for your first record.

Photos: Getty; HannahJohnstone, Gareth Cattermole, Michael Tullberg.

Koko 1a Camden High St, NW1 7JE koko.uk.com Mornington Crescent

SATURDAY SESSIONS

SILENT DISCO

CLUB

CLUB

SAT, FEB 18. 11PM-7AM £15

FRI, FEB 17. 8PM-12AM £10

Dutch house prodigy Nicky Romero headlines this evening at the Ministry of Sound. And if one of the hottest DJs of the moment in one of London’s top clubs wasn’t enough, then there’s resident Michael Woods; progressive electro DJ Michael Page, alongside Adrian Lux; Blende; and Kamuki, too.

Silent to the casual passer-by, that is. This contemporary phenomenon, for the uninitiated, has each clubber receive digital headphones, through which they hear the music. This evening has two choices: Healer Selecta in one, or Princess Julia in the other. Either way, you’ll still look damned odd to that passer-by.

Ministry of Sound 103 Gaunt Street, SE1 6DP ministryofsound.com Elephant & Castle

East Wintergarden 43 Bank St, Canary Wharf, E14 5AB silentdiscolondon.co.uk Canary Wharf

MELIC

SKRILLEX – THE GREY DAZE TOUR

ERRORS

GIG

CLUB

GIG

FRI, FEB 17. 7.30PM £8

FEB 17-18. 7PM-11PM £18.50

THURS, FEB 16. 8PM £10

Kiwi four-piece Melic bring together a diverse range of inflences: there’s a metal drummer, a funk-rock bassist, a classically trained pianist, and a rock singer-songwriter. They meld it into a unique whole you can check out at this subChelsea FC venue. Don’t expect JT to be lurking in the corner, though.

The former hardcore frontman turned electrodubstep producer is divisive: some fawn over him and his dubstep-for-the-rock-crowd oeuvre; others denounce him for the same thing, criticising his lack of appreciation for the subtleties of the genre. He’s going to be massive this year, though, whichever side you’re on.

Indie guitars, house beats, and the odd sample here and there amid post-electro-shaped soundscapes; this Glaswegian four-piece’s aural assault is a thoroughly dense, compellingly melodic and arresting proposition. They’re touring in support of recently released third album, Have Some Faith In Magic.

Under The Bridge Stamford Bridge, Fulham Rd, SW6 1HS underthebridge.co.uk Fulham Broadway

Brixton Academy 211 Stockwell Road, SW9 9SL o2academybrixton.co.uk Brixton

XOYO 32-37 Cowper St, EC2A 4AP xoyo.co.uk Liverpool Street

YOUNG ASTRONAUT THE BUZZ SO FAR Despite their stargazing name, there is something earthy and rootsy about Young Astronaut. The New Forest indie, acoustic folk-rock from brothers Chris and Pete Boakes is innocent and sincere, its lyrical topics veering from philosophical musings (life, death, love, the usual) to more humdrum youthful concerns, which the foursome – completed by bassist Paul Meeson and drummer Niko Battistini – take on tour next month. THE CRITICS SAY “Ten rather brilliant indie folkish songs.” pouledor.com THE PLUG Debut album Fawn is out as a free download Mar 12. See them at The Good Ship, Mar 21. 289 Kilburn High Road, NW6 7JR thegoodship.co.uk Kilburn

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CLUBLISTINGS

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MONDAY 13 Cuban Hideaway DJ Rich plays Latin, house, funk and R‘n’B. The Hideaway, Stanthorpe Rd, SW16 2ED (020 8835 7070). 9.40pm-late. £7.

Roller Disco Funk and disco for a wheeled audience. Renaissance Rooms, opposite Arch 8, Arches, Miles St, SW8 1RZ (0844 736 5375). 8pm-midnight. £10 inc skates, £7.50 w/own skates, NUS £6 inc skates.

BOOK NOW!

Hard Core Salsa DJ Mario plays mambo and salsa, plus dance lessons. Salsa!, Charing Cross Rd, WC2H 0JG (020 7379 3277). 7pm-late. £4, free before 9pm.

Serious About Salsa Salsa, mambo and bachata from DJ JD, plus salsa dancing. Fiesta Havana, Fulham Rd, SW6 5NH (020 7381 5005). 7pm-2am. Free before 10pm.

I Love Mondays DJ Victor spins commercial dance, disco, pop, garage, R‘n’B and funky house. Moonlighting, Greek St, W1D 4DR (020 7437 5782/ cc 020 7287 3727). 10pm-3.30am. £5, w/flyer £3, NUS £1.50.

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, w/flyer £5 before midnight, ladies £5, free before 11.30pm.

Popcorn Jonesey, Harvey Adam, Jamie Hammond and Terry T-Rex provide dance, electro, R‘n’B, pop and hip-hop. Heaven, Charing Cross Arches, Villiers St, WC2N 6NG (020 7930 2020). 11pm-5.30am. £8. Rehab DJs Val, Satoko, Zoe Demonettes, Joe, Saral and Hale supply indie, electro and pop. The Roxy, Rathbone Place, W1T 1HJ (020 7255 1098). 10pm-3am. £5, NUS/ w/flyer £3, mems £1 before 10.30pm. Service Industry Night DJ Colin Russell and Donald Sweeneey spin R‘n’B, hip-hop and chart. Rumba, Shaftesbury Ave, W1D 7EP (020 7287 2715). 9pm-3am. £10, free before 11pm. UTR Valentine’s Rave DJs Andy C, Borgore, Sway, Lady Leshurr, Majestic, Dan Hills and DJ Stoxx spin drum ‘n’ bass, hip-hop and grime, plus MCs P Money and Youngman. Electric Brixton, Town Hall Parade, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RJ (020 7274 2290). 10pm-5am. £25, adv £17.

TUESDAY 14 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. Forca Brasil DJ Fred spins salsa, samba and Latin tunes, plus live bands. Salsa!, Charing Cross Rd, WC2H 0JG (020 7379 3277). 6pm-2am. £4, free before 9pm. OMFG! DJs Lady Lloyd, Joshyou Are and Niyi Maximus Crown provide pop, disco and electro, with host Queen B Munroe Bergdorf. The Shadow Lounge, Brewer St, W1F 0RF (020 7287 7988). 10pm-3am. £5, free before 11pm. Panic Max Panic, Gaz Panic and That Perfect Fumble spin indie, electro, retro and pop. The Roxy, Rathbone Place, W1T 1HJ (020 7255 1098). 10pm-3am. £5, NUS £3. Valentine’s Evening Resident DJs spin Brazilian beats, plus Oi Brasil performs live. Guanabara, Parker St, WC2B 5PW (020 7242 8600). 5pm-2.30am. £35 inc meal. White Heat DJs Matty, Olly and Marcus spin electro, techno and indie. Madame Jojo’s, Brewer St, W1F 0SE (020 7734 3040). 10.30pm-3am. £4-£5.

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BLOC London Pleasure Gardens. Fri 6 and Sat 7 Jul £99 This two-day electronic festival features Orbital, Gary Numan (above), Squarepusher, Battles, Jeff Mills, Joker and Scuba, to name but a few. E16 2BS

blocweekend.com

WEDNESDAY 15 Cheapskates Old school hip-hop, electro and disco courtesy of DJ Downfall. Moonlighting, Greek St, W1D 4DR (020 7437 5782/ cc 020 7287 3727). 9pm-3.30am. £6.50, NUS £5.50, w/flyer £4.50. Choke Resident DJs play hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass, electro, indie and grime. The Roxy, Rathbone Place, W1T 1HJ (020 7255 1098). 10pm-3am. £5, NUS £4, guestlist £3. Dance Nights Princess Karina and DJ Gary Baldi spin dance hits. EC3 Live, Crosswall, EC3N 2JY (020 7488 1766). 11.30pm-3am. £10. Fat Poppa Daddys Resident DJs spin hip-hop, funk, electro, house, dubstep, 1980s hits, indie and reggae. One, Leicester Sq, WC2H 7NA (020 7437 0453). 11pm-2am. £5, free before midnight. Green Wednesday The Green Man, DJ IQ, Felix Billion, Big Lew, Motive, Kingpinn, Brogan and Markey Blenda spin hip-hop, soul, garage and house. East Village, Great Eastern St, EC2A 3HX (020 7739 5173). 8pm-2.30am. £10. 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. Metrolatina Resident DJs mix jazzy salsa with Cuban sounds. Salsa!, Charing Cross Rd, WC2H 0JG (020 7379 3277). 6pm-2am. £4, free before 9pm. N*A*S*I*N SoniX, Brahim and Punk Gareth play punk, rock, metal and ska. The Borderline, Orange Yard, Manette St, W1D 4JB (0870 060 3777/ cc 0871 231 0842). 11pm-3am. £5, w/flyer £4, NUS £3, mems £2. 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. £5, w/flyer £3, free before midnight.

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Pontoon Dock

THURSDAY 16 Bang DJs spin rock, indie, pop, dubstep, hip-hop and electro. The Silver Bullet, Station Place, N4 2DH (020 7619 3639). 10.30pm-2.30am. Free. Chris Coco & Friends Pete Golding and Chris Coco supply Balearic beats, disco, funk and house. The Player, Broadwick St, W1F 8HN (020 7494 9125). 8pm-1am. Free. The Craig Charles Show The DJ, poet and actor spins funk and soul, plus two live bands perform. Floridita, Wardour St, W1F 0TN (020 7314 4042). 7.30pm-late. £15-£45. Dance Nights Princess Karina and DJ Gary Baldi spin dance hits. EC3 Live, Crosswall, EC3N 2JY (020 7488 1766). 11.30pm-4am. £10. Fuel Thursdays DJ Melody Kane spins house, funk, soul and urban beats. One, Leicester Sq, WC2H 7NA (020 7437 0453). 10pm-2am. £10, adv £5. Industri House from Miss Minty, Brent Nicholls and Paul Heron. Barcode Vauxhall, Goding St, SE11 5AW (020 7582 4180). 8pm-2am. Free. Latin Krazy DJs spin salsa, merengue, bachata and reggaeton, plus salsa dances lessons. Salsa!, Charing Cross Rd, WC2H 0JG (020 7379 3277). 6pm-2am. £4, free before 9pm. The Loft Lee Harris plays house, electronica, heavy disco and 1980s dance classics. Mother Bar, Old St, EC1V 9LE (020 7739 5949). 8pm-3am. Free. QueerlyOut DJ Robby D spins commercial dance, pop and R‘n’B. Escape Bar, Brewer St, W1F 0SU (020 7734 3040). 9pm-3am. £5, £3, free before 9pm.

FRIDAY 17 Eclectic Fridays DJ Edward Adoo spins electronica and urban beats. Gigalum, Cavendish Parade, Clapham Common South Side, SW4 9DW (020 8772 0303). 7pm-late. Free. Fabriclive Caspa, Redlight & Dread, MC Artwork & SP:MC, Trolley Snatcha, The Others, Subscape, KGB, Dynamite MC, IC3, Marcus Intalex, Calibre, Fabio, Dillinja, Loxy, Seba, DJ Presha, Justyce, DRS and Strategy spin house, electro and techno. Fabric, Charterhouse St, EC1M 6HJ (020 7336 8898). 10pm-6am. £17, adv £16, £10 before midnight, £7 after 3am. The Gallery Judge Jules, Richard Durrand, Sean Tyas, Stoneface & Terminal, Jon Fitz, GM, Francesco Poggi, Miss Dix, Our House In House and Plastic Fondu spin house, electro, trance and techno. The Ministry Of Sound, Gaunt St, SE1 6DP (0870 060 0010). 10.30pm-6am. £13, mems £10. One Kiss DJs Krisis and Melody Kane spin house, mash-ups, electro, dance anthems, R‘n’B, hip-hop and dance. One, Leicester Sq, WC2H 7NA (020 7437 0453). 10pm-3am. £10, £5 before 11pm, ladies free before 11.30pm. Play Presents Killa Kela, Ami Carmine, Nicky Blackmarket, Macpherson, Messy MC, Stun Residents, Nathan Coles, Ben Roberts, Whipped residents and Basso & Brooke spin house, techno, dubstep, drum ‘n’ bass and electro. Egg, York Way, N7 9AX (020 7871 7111). 10pm-6am. £10. Skrillex And Friends Aftershow Skrillex spins electro, house, dubstep, metal and rock. Electric Brixton, Town Hall Parade, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RJ (020 7274 2290). 11pm-4.30am. £15.

Radio The Radio DJs play 1980s pop, indie and disco. The Roxy, Rathbone Place, W1T 1HJ (020 7255 1098). 10pm-3am. £5, NUS/w/flyer £3, free before 10pm.

Soca Frenzy Valentine’s Day DJs Shaker HD, Tate, Tyronne, Ratty, Cold Chizzle, Mr Migz and Scooby spin Caribbean and reggae music, plus Brother B & DJ HP perform live. The Scala, Pentonville Rd, N1 9NL (020 7833 2022/ cc 0844 477 1000). 11pm-5am. £16, adv £8-£13, VIP £25, adv £20.

Radio Zastava Dr Malaka spins electro, folk and Balkan beats, plus a live performance from Radio Zastava. The Bedroom Bar, Rivington St, EC2A 3AY (020 7739 5706). 8pm-1am. Free.

Therapy Electro-pop and dance from DJs Miswhite, Minx, Paul Heron and Sonathaq. The Shadow Lounge, Brewer St, W1F 0RF (020 7287 7988). 10pm-5am. £10, free before 11pm.

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SATURDAY 18 BBM Me Presents DJ Roy Rovelli plays house, electro and chart. The Hoxton Pony, Curtain Rd, EC2A 3AH (020 7613 2844). 8pm-2am. £10, concs £7 guestlist before 10pm, free before 9pm. Electro Swing Club Alpine Special DJs Mirko, Palov, Future Swing Stories and Chris Tofu spin electro-swing and hits from the 1920s to the 1950s, plus Le Klischee performs live, and VJs from Los B*stardos. The Book Club, Leonard St, EC2A 4RH (020 7684 8618). 8pm-2am. £10, £5 before 10pm. Fabric DJ Sneak, Terry Francis, Maya Jane Coles, Craig Richards, Marcel Dettmann and Ben Sims spin electro, house and techno. Fabric, Charterhouse St, EC1M 6HJ (020 7336 8898). 11pm-8am. £19, adv £23 inc CD, adv £18, NUS £12, £9 after 4am. Latin Passion Victor Hugo & The Mambo Boys and Jorge Andre supply Latin beats. Salsa!, Charing Cross Rd, WC2H 0JG (020 7379 3277). 6pm-2am. £10, £8 before 11pm, £4 before 9pm, £2 before 8pm. Moh-Teef Anthony Collins, Davy & Ken, J Nelson, Pete Glasspool and Leroy Roberts provide deep house and techno. Cable, Bermondsey St, SE1 2EG (020 7403 7730). 10pm-5am. £12, adv £10. Mon’s Birthday Bash The Real Tony Montana, Charlie Bradley, Tobie Allen and Sanchez spin techno and house. Gigalum, Cavendish Parade, Clapham Common South Side, SW4 9DW (020 8772 0303). 7pm-late. Free. Mr Scruff The Manchester-based DJ spins an eclectic mix of acid jazz, soul, hip-hop, funk, disco, deep house, reggae, dubstep, Afro beat, breaks and Latin. Koko, Camden High St, NW1 7JE (0870 432 5527). 9pm-3am. Adv £15. Reload Jacques Lu Cont, Busy P and Stopmakingme supply electro, house and electronica. XOYO, Cowper St, EC2A 4AP (020 7729 5959). 9.30pm. £10.

SUNDAY 19 Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Mark Radford, Maximus, Lee Edwards and Roch-Mix-Hard spin house and techno. Club Aquarium, Old St, EC1V 9DD (020 7251 6136). 11pm-6am. £15, £10 before midnight, ladies free before midnight. Horse Meat Disco Residents Jim Stanton, Luke Howard, James Hillard and Severino spin disco and house. Eagle, Kennington Ln, SE11 5QY (020 7793 0903). 8pm-3am. £8. Jaded DJ Raymundo Rodriguez plays techno and house. Cable, Bermondsey St, SE1 2EG (020 7403 7730). 5pm-1am. £12, concs £8. Shiva DJ Liam D and residents spin house and techno. Gigalum, Cavendish Parade, Clapham Common South Side, SW4 9DW (020 8772 0303). 7pm-late. Free.


NEW ALBUM INCLUDES THE HIT SINGLE SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW (FEAT. KIMBRA) OUT 13 FEBRUARY GOTYE.COM

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MONDAY 13 Flamenco Festival London 2012: Gerardo Nunez Flamenco music from the Spanish guitar virtuoso. With dancer Carmen Cortes. Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Ave, EC1R 4TN (0844 412 4300). £12-£40.

Rich Robinson Blues and Southern rock by the singersongwriter from The Black Crowes. O2 Academy Islington, Parkfield St, N1 0PS (020 7288 4400/ cc 0844 477 2000). £16.

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Xtatic Soul and funk outfit fronted by Vanessa Haynes. Dover St Restaurant And Bar, Dover St, W1S 4LQ (020 7629 9813). £12, free before 10pm.

Gotye Alt pop by Australianbased Belgian singer-songwriter Wouter de Backer. Wilton’s Music Hall, Graces Alley, off Ensign St, E1 8JB (020 7702 2789). £15.

FRIDAY 17

Tim Howar Pop and showtunes from the singer and actor. The Pheasantry, Kings Rd, SW3 4UT (020 7351 5031). £20. Pain Of Salvation Progressive metal band from Sweden. The Garage, Highbury Corner, N5 1RD (0870 060 3777/ cc 0844 847 1678). £14. Shea Seger, Adam Phillips Country and Americana by the Texas-based singer-songwriter. 606 Club, Lots Rd, SW10 0QD (020 7352 5953). £10. Sincere, L Marshall, Ryan Keen, Elro, 14th Londonbased rapper. XOYO, Cowper St, EC2A 4AP (020 7729 5959). £12, guestlist £8, adv £6. The Soldiers, Susan Black The trio of servicemen performs pop ballads. London Palladium, Argyll St, W1F 7TF (0844 412 2704). £23.50-£49.50. Tennis The American husbandand-wife duo plays surf pop and indie in support of its album Young & Old. Hoxton Square Bar And Kitchen, Hoxton Sq, N1 6NU (020 7613 0709). £12, adv £10.

TUESDAY 14 Gavin DeGraw Pop-rock from the New York-based singer-songwriter. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT (020 8354 3300/ cc 0844 477 2000). £18. Lance Ellington The vocalist performs swing. 606 Club, Lots Rd, SW10 0QD (020 7352 5953). £10. Jedi Mind Tricks, Caxton Press, Rhyme Asylum Hip-hop from the American outfit. The Garage, Highbury Corner, N5 1RD (0870 060 3777/ cc 0844 847 1678). £15. Joe American singer-songwriter Joseph Lewis Thomas performs R‘n’B. IndigO2, Peninsula Sq, SE10 0DX (0871 220 0260). £30-£50. David McAlmont And Guy Davies Soul and pop-rock from the singer-songwriter and keyboard player. Leicester Square Theatre, Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX (0844 873 3433). £20, concs £18. NME Awards Shows 2012: Pure Love Former Gallows frontman Frank Carter leads his alternative outfit. Bush Hall, Uxbridge Rd, W12 7LJ (020 8222 6955). £13.60. Holly Throsby, Tiny Ruins, Jordan Ireland The Sydney-based singer-songwriter and musician plays melodic indie-folk and alt pop. The Lexington, Pentonville Rd, N1 9JB (020 7837 5371). £10.

The Bag Band Contemporary blues by guitarist Nigel Bagge and colleagues. Boisdales Of Canary Wharf, Cabot Hall, E14 4QT (020 7715 5818). £10-£25.

BAND OF SKULLS Roundhouse. Tues Mar 6. £17.50 This Southampton-born indie-rock outfit, who’ve been growing steadily since their 2009 debut, take their latest album, Sweet Sour, on the road. NW1 8EH

roundhouse.org.uk

WEDNESDAY 15 Attack! Attack! Contemporary hard rock with an element of grunge by the Caerphilly-based four-piece. The Garage, Highbury Corner, N5 1RD (0870 060 3777/ cc 0844 847 1678). £10. The Jo Burt Experience Classic rock by the Londonbased singer-guitarist. Bull’s Head, Lonsdale Rd, Barnes, SW13 9PY (020 8876 5241). £10. Ghostpoet London-based hiphop MC. Koko, Camden High St, NW1 7JE (0870 432 5527). £15. Krisiun, Malevolent Creation Death metal from the Brazilian band. The Underworld, Camden High St, NW1 0NE (020 7482 1932). £17.50. NME Awards Shows 2012: Band Of Skulls Garage-flavoured alt rock from the London-based combo. XOYO, Cowper St, EC2A 4AP (020 7729 5959). £14.60. NME Awards Shows 2012: Tune-Yards American singersongwriter and musician Merrill Garbus leads her experimental alt pop project. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT (020 8354 3300/ cc 0844 477 2000). £14.60. Red Sky Jul The Londonbased outfit plays melodic acoustic country and folk with pop sensibilities. The Green Note Cafe, Parkway, NW1 7AN (020 7485 9899). £10. Sam Sweeney & Hannah James The duo performs traditional folk. Cecil Sharp House, Regents Park Rd, NW1 7AY (020 7485 2206). £12. James Vincent McMorrow Indie-folk from the Dublin-based singer-songwriter. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX (020 7960 4200/cc 0844 875 0073). £12-£18, concs £6-£9. We Have Band Electronic dance-pop from the London and Manchester-based trio. Cargo, Rivington St, EC2A 3AY (020 7739 3440). £11.50.

Chalk Farm

Parris Wright, Josh Kumra, Cashtastic, Krept & Konan, Angel, Insight Hip-hop singer from London. Dingwalls, Camden Lock, Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 8AB (020 7428 0010/ cc 020 7428 5929). £10, adv £6.

THURSDAY 16 DragonForce The Londonbased six-piece plays extreme power metal. 100 Club, Oxford St, W1D 1LL (020 7636 0933). £19. Errors, Remember Remember Electro indie-pop quartet from Glasgow. XOYO, Cowper St, EC2A 4AP (020 7729 5959). £10. Louise Golbey The singersongwriter and musician performs her own style of Neo Soul. Boisdales Of Canary Wharf, Cabot Hall, E14 4QT (020 7715 5818). £10-£20. Nat Johnson And The Figureheads The Sheffield-based indieAmericana five-piece performs songs from its album I’m Across, I’m Ashore. Bush Hall, Uxbridge Rd, W12 7LJ (020 8222 6955). £10. Michael Kiwanuka, The Staves Retro soul from the Londonbased singer and musician. Islington Town Hall, Upper St, N1 2UD (020 7527 2000). £10. M83, Porcelain Raft Electronica and pop by French musician Anthony Gonzalez and colleagues. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT (020 8354 3300/cc 0844 477 2000). £15. The Mingus Septet The band interprets the music of the famous bassist and composer. Bull’s Head, Lonsdale Rd, Barnes, SW13 9PY (020 8876 5241). £10. NME Awards Shows 2012: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Melodic dance and electronica from the artist. Heaven, Charing Cross Arches, Villiers St, WC2N 6NG (020 7930 2020). £12.60. The Old Dance School Alt folk band from Birmingham. Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA (020 7613 7498). £10, concs £7.

Breabach Contemporary Scottish folk band. Kings Place, York Way, N1 9AG (020 7520 1490). £9.50 & £12.50. Daniela Brooker, Orijin, Erika Pop singer from London. 229 The Venue, Great Portland St, W1W 5PW (020 7323 7229). £10, adv £8. Dawes Los Angeles-based country-rock band. The Windmill, Blenheim Gardens, SW2 5BZ (020 8671 0700). £10. The Devil Wears Prada Metalcore band from Dayton, Ohio. The Underworld, Camden High St, NW1 0NE (020 7482 1932). £14. Melissa Etheridge The American singer-songwriter and musician plays country, blues and folkinfused pop-rock. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT (020 8354 3300/ cc 0844 477 2000). £35. Fink Alt rock with elements of folk and blues by Brightonbased singer-songwriter Finn Greenall. Koko, Camden High St, NW1 7JE (0870 432 5527). £15. The Kerrang! Tour: New Found Glory, The Blackout The American pop-punk outfit headlines. Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 8EH (0844 482 8008). £20. Metropolis High energy soul sixpiece. Dover St Restaurant And Bar, Dover St, W1S 4LQ (020 7629 9813). £15, diners free before 10pm. NME Awards Shows 2012: Cloud Control The Sydneybased band plays ecstatic indie-pop, accompanied with beats, hand claps and harmonies. Electric Ballroom, Camden High St, NW1 8QP (020 7485 9006). £10.60. Skrillex Electro, house and dance by Los Angeles-based producer Sonny Moore. O2 Academy Brixton, Stockwell Rd, SW9 9SL (0844 477 2000). £18.50. Too Many T’s, The Razzle Rap and hip-hop from the London-based duo. The Shoreditch, Shoreditch High St, E1 6JE (020 7033 0085). £6. What Is Life For, Jack Stevens The band performs alt rock. 100 Club, Oxford St, W1D 1LL (020 7636 0933). £10, adv £8. The Yoyo’s, Sons Of Icarus Classic rock by the re-formed outfit. The Barfly, Camden, Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 8AN (0844 847 2424). £12.50.

SATURDAY 18 Alestorm, Claim The Throne Pirate metal by the Perth-based band. O2 Academy Islington, Parkfield St, N1 0PS (020 7288 4400/ cc 0844 477 2000). £12.50. Bad Manners Buster Bloodvessel and company perform their ska hits. Islington Town Hall, Upper St, N1 2UD (020 7527 2000). £20 & £25. The Bled Heavy rock by the Tucson-based band. Dingwalls, Camden Lock, Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 8AB (020 7428 0010/ cc 020 7428 5929). £12. Stephen Carlile The vocalist sings showtunes and cabaret. The Pheasantry, Kings Rd, SW3 4UT (020 7351 5031). £20. GBH, The Short ‘N’ Curlies, CryoGenics, Blatoidea Classic punkrock by the Birmingham-based veterans. Bridgehouse 2, Bidder St, E16 4ST (020 7474 3200). £10. Leee John The soul and funk singer and former member of the 1980s band Imagination performs hit songs, with a guest appearance by Level 42’s Mike Lindup. Leicester Square Theatre, Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX (0844 873 3433). £20. Peter King Quartet Bebop from the sax-led combo. Bull’s Head, Lonsdale Rd, Barnes, SW13 9PY (020 8876 5241). £12. Lightning Seeds, James Walsh Indie-pop by Liverpool-based Ian Broudie and colleagues. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT (020 8354 3300/ cc 0844 477 2000). £25. Sugar Blue Blues and blues-rock by the New York-born harmonica player, James Whiting. Brook’s Blues Bar, The Telegraph, Telegraph Rd, SW15 3TU (020 8788 2011). £15. Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band The veteran singer returns with his band to play a mix of blues and soul. Half Moon, Putney, Lower Richmond Rd, SW15 1EU (020 8780 9383). £12.

SUNDAY 19 Flamenco Festival London 2012: Jose Merce The vocalist sings his flamenco hits. Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Ave, EC1R 4TN (0844 412 4300). £12-£40. Ilona, The Dunwells, Chris Dugdale, Antonio Forcione Acoustic pop and rock from the London-based singersongwriter. The Bedford, Bedford Hill, SW12 9HD (020 8682 8940). £30. Nicole Scherzinger The American singer and Pussycat Doll member performs chart-topping pop and R‘n’B from her debut album, Killer Love. HMV Apollo, Queen Caroline St, W6 9QH (0843 221 0100). £28.50. War Child Brits Show 2012: Ed Sheeran The singer-songwriter performs in aid of War Child, with special guests, half of Blur, Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon also lending their musical services. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT (0844 488 2000). £40-£60.

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A £1000 EASTER TRAVEL VOUCHER TNT and Travel Talk have teamed up again to give one lucky reader a £1000 Easter travel voucher to Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Russia, Turkey, Spain or Portugal, to be used on a Travel Talk tour this Easter. The voucher can be used on a tour to any of the above destinations, including a nine-day Essential Egypt tour; a six-day Highlights of Russia

tour; an eight-day Adventure Morocco tour; or a nine-day Essential Spain & Portugal tour, among others. As always, Travel Talk will provide you with quality accommodation, safe transportation and professional licensed guides for your amazing Easter holiday. Enter at tntmagazine.com/competitions traveltalktours.com

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The Topp Twins The New Zealand musical comedians on the secret to their longevity, playing the ukele and trumping Al Gore INTERVIEW ALASDAIR MORTON

You’re touring the UK this week. You haven’t been hre for a while, have you? We were last here for the ‘97 Edinburgh Fringe and a season at The Drill Hall theatre in London. Before that we supported Billy Bragg at The Mean Fiddler. But it doesn’t matter where we play, there’s a certain type of person who comes to our shows – fun-loving and open-minded. What do you have in store for your show at the Union Chapel? We always includes our comedy characters, as well as a concert set as ourselves. Always expect the unexpected! Did the success of your biographical documentary, Untouchable Girls, catch you by surprise? We never expected so many people would relate – it became the number one documentary ever released in NZ, beating An Inconvenient Truth. You got honourary doctorates from the University of Waikato in 2011 – is it weird having a comedy ‘qualification’? It was an honour. We probably won’t use the titles, but our characters Ken and Ken are going to. Ken Moller thinks he’ll be a gynecologist – he’s not qualified, but he’ll take a look for ya!

Photos: Sally Tagg

Did you ever consider going to university yourselves? We’ve never stepped foot in a lecture theatre, but we’ve spent 53 years attending “the university of life. As kids, it never really entered our minds to go, we quickly learned how to be personable, and how to read people. For instance, we’ve learned that you never pick someone out of the audience who is shy. We also know in the first 20 seconds of the gig who we’ll get. We only ever got it wrong once, when we picked a woman so exuberant she nearly broke Lynda’s leg climbing over her to get on stage! When did you first know you wanted to be performers? We had always sung as kids, and our mum bought us a ukulele when we were five. We learnt Walking In The Sunshine and practiced a whole dance routine, then decided we would perform at our cousin’s 21st. Our brother, Bruce,

Untouchable Girls: Jools and Lynda Topp bought us a guitar when we were 10 and we thought we were rock stars. It wasn’t until our twenties, after we had made our first $50 (£25) busking on Queen St, in Auckland, and we’d bought gas for the car, dogfood, and beer, that we realised we could make a living off our music. What has been the secret to your longevity and success? We’ve always been strong and independent. We came out as lesbians back in the late Seventies, as we believed you can’t give to your audience 100 per cent if you hide something. We are oldfashioned entertainers and seem to appeal to people of all ages from all walks of life. How did you feel being inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame? We thought you had to be older than 100 to receive that award, but I suppose if you add our ages together, we qualify. It was a real honour, as usually we are seen as more of a comedy act, but most of our songs are 100 per cent original. We have always been outside the mainstream music industry and were ‘independent’ recording artists before there was an indie scene. LGBT rights have advanced since you started – what still needs to change? Gay marriage is the final frontier of human rights. Not everyone wants to get married, but

LGBT people should have the same equal rights as everyone else. Are people politicised enough today? Probably not, although social media can change that. We have access to more open information that ever before. Many Westerners have become too materialistic and we’re living in a time that individualism rules. You have to work harder to create and maintain a sense of community. One good thing to come out of the recession is that people are getting back to basics. In New Zealand, a lot more people are growing vegetables and trading goods and services within their communities; it’s a beautiful thing. But getting back to basics is more than that, it’s about your core values, your humanity and standing up for what is right. What do you make of Occupy? It is a very important protest. An expression of ordinary people’s frustration with what’s happening economically and socially – the gross inequality between the rich and everyone else. Even the middle-classes feel angry. Topp Twins play Union Chapel. Feb 17. £20 N1 2XD unionchapel.org Highbury and Islington Untouchable Girls screens at Clapham Picturehouse, Feb 20 SW4 0AT Clapham Common picturehouses.co.uk

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“Yep, that on the horizon is a very promising career for you.”

EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE FILM review by Alasdair Morton STARRING: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn | 12A | 130mins

GHOST RIDER - SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE FILM STARRING: Nicolas Cage | 12A | 95mins

Nicolas Cage’s first outing as the Ghost Rider – a motorbike stunt man brought back from the dead to carry out CGI action scenes – was a critical and commercial flop, so we’re hoping for more grit and gusto this time around. We can only hope. On general release from Fri, Feb 17

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Stephen Daldry’s (Billy Elliot) adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s best-selling novel is a mixed bag. The story, family-focused and non-political, about one boy’s journey to come to terms with the 2001 loss of his father in the Twin Towers, is powerful and moving, but undercut by a predictable move towards melodrama. Newcomer Horn gives a fierce performance as Oscar, a young New Yorker somewhere on the autism spectrum (“they did tests, they were inconclusive” he says at one point) who’s fond of his father’s (Hanks) mysterious treasure trails they call ‘reconnaissance expeditions’. After 9/11, Oscar finds a key in his dad’s closet and embarks on a cross-Manhattan quest to determine what it opens. Horn is superb; Oscar’s inability to confront what has happened and his fraught emotions are frankly presented, and his logical response to life’s illogic is palpable and empathetic. Max Von Sydow, as a mute older man who joins the young man’s driven detective work, brings some welcome comic relief, too. As successful as Daldry is in presenting Oscar’s personal journey, he is less so with the journey at the film’s core – of a son and mother (Sandra Bullock) re-connecting. A third act reveal is deftly handled, and there are plenty of poignant moments – the key’s identity especially – but the move towards mawkish melodrama robs what could have been a most unique drama of some of its identity. GOOD FOR: Thomas Horn’s stunning portrayal of a difficult role; he’s the film’s highlight.


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JAY AND SILENT BOB GET OLD

GIGGLE!

COMEDY

Heroes to stoner kids everywhere, best buds Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith – aka Jay and Silent Bob, from Clerks, Mallrats, Jersey Girl et al – record their podcast from the stage of the Apollo. Expect musings on the movie business, Stan Lee, berserker (maybe), the Garden State and why Twilight is the future.

HA HA!

Hammersmith Apollo 45 Queen Caroline St, W6 9QH. Feb 18. £30+ aeglive.co.uk Hammersmith

CHRYS ROBORAS

BLOOD POETRY THEATRE

International award-winnning artist Chrys Roboras will be present at the Parallax Art Fair at the Chelsea Old Town Halll, King’s Rd on the 16th-18th of Feb. 10am - 6pm, Free Entry Chrys will be showing her new series “In Man’s land” that concerns the relationship between self and landscape, a place where one feels that they belong to without doubt.

Howard Brenton’s 17th century-set 1984 drama imagines the meetings of an unconventional quartet – Romantic poet Percy Shelley, his new wife Mary, half-sister Claire Clairmont and Lord Byron – as their free-living experiment claims casualties. The men’s performances dominate, particularly David Sturzaker’s swaggering Byron. Jermyn Street Theatre SW1Y 6ST. Until Feb 25. £18 jermynstreettheatre.co.uk Piccadilly Circus

MANDY DASSA What’s your show, Fierce and Fabulous, all about? Having a big party. A merging of music and comedy – momedy! With comedy, cabaret and music, did you ever think of incorporating balloon animals too? I can do balloon modelling. So, yes – I make a cracking dog! How did you get ‘shaved ferret’ Miles Lloyd on the show? We met on the comedy circuit. He’s a bloody nutter; he was so feral we had to keep him. How do you plan to deal with Twecklers? The same way as with hecklers – stalk them in their everyday life and heckle them at work. A tried-and-tested method.

THE WOMAN IN THE FIFTH

ABSENT FRIENDS

FILM

THEATRE

Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski‘s (My Summer Of Love, which made a star of Emily Blunt) third English-language film, and most mainstream to date, stars Ethan Hawke as Tom, a college professor who flees to Paris after a scandal in the US costs him his job. There, he meets Kristin Scott Thomas’s Margit, a mysterious – and possibly dangerous – widow.

Death can consolidate old friendships and place a halo on the head of the deceased. The latter is certainly true in director Jeremy Herrin’s take on Alan Ayckbourn’s wryly amusing 1974 social comedy in which a get-together to reflect on the death-by-drowning of the fiancee of one of their number becomes increasingly uncomfortable.

On general release from Feb 17

Harold Pinter SW1Y 4DN. Until Apr 14. £15-£49 absentfriendstheplay.com Piccadilly Circus

Strangest gig? In Edinburgh, I did an ‘Adults Children’s Party’ show. Once, a load of people in their ‘later’ years turned up thinking it was a quiz show – they sat through the whole show while the younger lot happily played musical statues. It was like having parents in the room! The Garage. Feb 15-16. 8pm. £12

N5 1RD

venues.meanfiddler.com/the-garage Highbury & Islington

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‘Look that way and look really scared’: Watkins directing The Woman In Black

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A radical rebirth Potter’s gone but the future looks bright for Daniel Radcliffe, as The Woman In Black director James Watkins explains WORDS ALASDAIR MORTON

Classical ghost story The Woman In Black has three major pressures on its shoulders. It is the first big British film from the rejuvenated Hammer Films production stable; the first silver-screen adaptation of Susan Hill’s classic 1983 Victorian chiller; and, perhaps most significantly, it stars Daniel Radcliffe, making his leading man debut post-Hogwarts, in the role of Arthur Kipps, the grief-stricken young man who endures several unwelcome encounters with the titular spectre at the creeped out Eel Marsh House. “I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any expectation,” director James Watkins says, when we catch up with him on the last night of a UK-wide press junket. “You don’t play the lead in the biggest, most-successful movie franchise of all time without people having associations with you, good and bad. He’s Harry Potter, that’s all people have seen him as. But Dan’s very smart and wants to challenge himself. I was convinced he could play this role and redefine himself.” And redefine himself Radcliffe does. The film marks the beginning of the second phase of his career, hitherto hinted at by his stage choices in the West End and Broadway, such as his headline- (and horse-) grabbing turn in Equus. The role that has given new life to the 22-year-old Radcliffe is that of Arthur Kipps, the big-city Victorian-era lawman sent to the remote Eel Marsh House in the wilds of north-east England to process the papers of its previous inhabitant, the recently deceased Alice Drablow. When Kipps gets there, he finds a village terrified by a spectre who casts a morose shadow over all that encounter her. Sightings of the woman incur hellish repurcussions, and Kipps is quickly involved, forced to endure a night alone in the house. The film, though, penned by X-Men: First Class screewriter and wife of Jonathan Ross, Jane Goldman, is more than just a mainlined dose of terror; it gives Radcliffe plenty to contend with, embellishing Hill’s original with a wife-dyingin-childbirth backstory and a crateload of grief to boot. “It gives Kipps more of a journey; there is this guy with a real sense of loss and longing, detached from his son and not really living in the real world,” Watkins explains. “There’s a gravitational pull towards the afterlife. The theme of the film really is how grief and loss warp people.” Radcliffe says it was this shift in focus that made it appeal to him. “When I first met James he mentioned a Kubrick quote about how all films with a supernatural element are

inherently consoling, because they imply an afterlife,” the star muses. “Here’s this guy who’s lost his wife, goes to this house and starts seeing the ghost of a dead woman. The reason he stays there is that there is some hidden desire to get some assurance his wife is in a better place.”

I have to prove I am serious about acting

Radcliffe read the script on a flight from London to New York, the day after filming on the final Potter finished, and was so struck by it that upon touching down, he immediately signed on for the project. Despite having previously facedoff against Voldemort, The Woman In Black was another ››

Watkins: happy when scaring TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Main (l-r) Shaun Dooley, Liz White, Daniel Radcliffe, James Watkins, Ciaran Hinds and Jane Goldman; on the grounds of Eel Marsh House; a character who’s seen the spectre

challenge altogether, pitting him as an adult lead, and one who appears in every scene, often alone (save for the spectral partner). “I now have to prove to people I am serious about acting, and I think the way to do that is to start selecting interesting material,” reasons Radcliffe, who read extensively on the Victorian era and visited grief counsellors as part of his research. This emphasis on grief not only marked The Woman In Black as interesting material for Radcliffe but it is what distinguishes it from the current glut of ‘genre pics’. A classical ghost story rather than a gore-fest, it favours scares over viscera, and as a result is far more terrifying than any amount of claret-spraying limb-slicing. Drawing on films such as The Exorcist, J-horror classics such as The Ring and The Grudge, and period chillers such as Jack Clayton’s 1961 The Innocents (a key influence on The Others), it weaves a classic tale in a contemporary way. “I didn’t want it to look like a period piece,” Watkins

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The Woman In Black is out now through Hammer Films. Read our review at tntmagazine.com/thewomaninblack

Photos: Stuart Wilson,Getty

Radcliffe excels in his first post-Potter lead role

says. “I wanted to shoot it with a very modern idiom.” He insisted the film didn’t go down the Hollywoodfavoured 3D route either. ”It was raised in conversation and I said something such as, ‘you can make it in 3D but it won’t be with me’. It doesn’t pull you into a movie, it takes you out of it, because it is a device.” The director also paid great attention to the film’s sound, too. “An American version of the movie would be drenched in music, leading the scares and telling you what to think,” he explains. “I didn’t want that.” It was a move that sat comfortably with Hammer Films, the home of Sixties and Seventies classic characters such as Frankenstein and Dracula. The company was desperate for a strong showing after embarking on a Noughties rebirth with horror remake Let Me In in 2010. The Woman In Black is its highest-profile British output to date. “One of the things we talked about as a team when we put this new Hammer incarnation together is that in recent years, the tendency has been for body count horror,” Hammer president Simon Oakes says. “We wanted to explore different kinds of horror, and while there’d been a TV movie and a stage play, we recognised a great opportunity to combine Susan Hill’s gothic story with a modern sensibility.” And that is precisely what The Woman In Black has achieved, taking a classical premise and shooting it through with a contemporary energy, style and scares, but adding an underscoring emotional heft. Watkins has revelled in watching the popcorn fly into the air as audiences reel at the scares he has conjured. Scoring number two at the US box office – on Super Bowl weekend no less – has proved both Watkins and Hammer Films right. It has also showed that, despite all the naysayers climbing over themselves to denounce the nepotism that won Radcliffe his Potter gig and the limited acting chops he brought to it, Radcliffe can actually act – really, convincingly, act. He has, for 10 years, been part of one of the finest acting finishing schools, so it shouldn’t really be much of a surprise. Maybe this could be the start of a new monstrous movie marriage. Maybe not, but one thing’s for sure: Radcliffe and Hammer have both proved their mettle in spades. ❚


: S A M T IS R H C D E R R JA LET ’S GO MOFO Battersea Arts Centre 16th February, 9.30pm www.bac.org.uk 020 7223 2223

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Since opening in May 2011, Mahika has showcased a vivid collection of fashion, jewellery and accessories from India. The store’s founders, who continue to be inspired by the continent’s “colours, food, traditions, weddings, Bollywood, family, drama, harmony, traffic, smells, meddling relatives and nosy neighbours” have opened a pop-up to allow more people to discover the contemporary “in your face” creations of Indian craftspeople. Venture here and you’ll be among the first to get your hands on Mahika’s 2012 collection, including bright, oversized tribal-print bangles, gorgeous drop earrings and quirky kitchen kitsch. This is in addition to its usual range of scarves, bags, earrings and clothes. A percentage of profits goes to an orphanage in India. OPEN Feb 20-26, 10am-9pm COST From £4 mahika.co.uk O2 shopping centre, 255 Finchley Road, NW3 6LU Finchley Road

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LIFESTYLEHEALTH CLASS OF THE WEEK

BEND IT LIKE BARBIE Ever looked at Barbie’s perfect proportions and wished your bod could be as hot as the plastic blonde on the shelf? Thanks to the folks at trendy Shoreditch-based dance, fitness and holistic studio Move Your Frame, there’s a way to achieve Mattel-sculpted supremacy without forking out on a few sessions at Harley Street’s cosmetic clinics. The Bend It Like Barbie class helps shape the perfect physique through improving your flexibility. Focusing on shoulders, spine, hamstrings, hips flexors, butt and feet, you should be doing the splits with the ease of your favourite childhood toy in no time. Or touching your toes, at least. Creating long, lean muscles, so you end up toned all over, is the aim of the class. The sessions are suitable for everyone, so don’t be afraid to throw on your best pink tracksuit and give it a try. Move Your Frame is focused on making exercise fun – also see their Jane Fonda aerobics – so it should be a good laugh, too. Classes are on Saturdays at 1.30pm and cost from £12 pay-as-you-go, or £10 with a Frame top-up card. See the website for more details.

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Blind date Here’s what happened when TNT reader Clayton won a date with our single-girl blogger, Coni WORDS FRANKIE MULLIN

Our online scribe, Coni Longden-Jefferson, (tntmagazine.com/coni) agreed to take part in a competition in which suitors would parade themselves – via blog – before her discerning eyes in the hope of winning a date. Coni chose TNT reader Clayton Breeds, and we whisked them off to the Grand Imperial in Victoria to see if sparks would fly.

What she said: Coni “I was dreading my date with Clayton as I’m terrified of awkward situations, but he put me at ease as soon as we met. His pictures don’t do him justice and I immediately thought that he had a lovely smile. “I guessed he’d be worried about what to wear as he knows I’m into fashion, but he looked great – although I think he was still in his work clothes. “We started by drinking cocktails and I was drunk by the time it came to dinner, which helped with the nerves. The food was amazing and, over dim sum and Peking duck, the conversation was easy, as I’m really inquisitive and Clayton’s led an interesting life. “I think he was surprised I like serious conversation; he probably had a certain

image of me because I’m blonde and write a blog about boys, but we talked about everything from politics to religion. “I’d had a stressful day so the date went exactly how I’d hoped it would. Clayton was chatty and funny and the evening was easy. To be honest, though, I didn’t fancy him. He’s really nice – very together and mature – but, unfortunately, I like boys who are a bit off the rails. I usually end up with men who have loads of problems, no money and are generally a bit rubbish!” Chemistry: Conversation: Would you see him again? Yes, but only as a friend.

What he said: Clayton “I love writing and I like Coni’s blog so I thought entering the competition was worth a shot. “The day of the date was a disaster as I got home after work to find myself locked out and I couldn’t get hold of my flatmate. In the end, I had to buy some hair gel, spray on some smelly stuff at the counter of a department store and get ready in the toilet.

29 New Inn Yard, Shoreditch moveyourframe.com Shoreditch High Street

Love: best served hot

Classy: Grand Imperial 36

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Cupid aims for our couple


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SEXY LOOKS

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What’s he pointing to? Clayton and Coni get acquainted And I was nervous enough already! “As soon as Coni walked in and said hello, we had a rapport. She wanted to hear more about what I’d written in my blog (tntmagazine.com/clayton), and I admitted to having lived on a boat. Luckily, Coni’s interested in travel, which is a big hobby of mine, so there was plenty to talk about. “We had a drink and started chatting to the barman; I was impressed when Coni guessed he was Lithuanian. We then moved into a private dining room, where we had dinner. The food was delicious – we ate so much I thought I’d have to be rolled out – and the company wasn’t bad either! “Coni was different from how I’d expected

her to be. People I’ve known before who work in fashion have tended to be a bit stuck-up and shallow, but Coni was not like that at all. I was really enjoying myself and found her witty, intelligent and attractive. “The conversation flowed, but I wasn’t picking up much in the way of chemistry. We said our goodbyes and it wasn’t overly romantic. Coni told me to add her a friend on Facebook, but she didn’t give me her number and we didn’t kiss.” Chemistry: Conversation: Would you see her again: Yes, but somewhere casual. NEXT WEEK

Thanks to Grand Imperial 101 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 0SJ grandimperiallondon.com

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LIFESTYLECAREERS

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Sexual healing: sometimes, assistance from the experts can be just the trick

The love industry Are you seeking Valentine’s Day success? Help is at hand WORDS REBECCA KENT

Forget the romance: February 14 is all really all just about one thing – getting laid. Here, TNT talks to three people whose job it is to make sure you succeed in your quest.

Mike Lousada, psychosexual somatics practitioner Women, this man will light a fire in your pants. Self-proclaimed ‘orgasm guru’ Lousada is in the business of helping the fairer sex climax, something he deems “a natural birthright”. But, the 44-year-old says, he’s no gigolo. In each £100 session, Lousada, from Chalk Farm, uses a combination of conversation, meditation and sensual massage (consensual only) to help clients obtain new levels of pleasure. “All women are goddesses, but through personal experience, or 38

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society, which objectifies them, their sexuality is suppressed,” Lousada says. “If you visit a doctor, they’ll poke and prod, but they won’t deal with your emotional problems. A psychosexual therapist will deal with the emotions, but not physical. I use with a combination of the two.” The lives of many sane, respectable and sometimes traumatised ladies (Lousada helps women overcome sexual abuse or psychological issues), have been transformed by his approach. “Mike’s hands are like pieces from heaven!” one writes on his website. “It wasn’t until the next day that I realised you opened me further than I can open myself,” another explains. It’s been an unlikely career trajectory for Lousada, an investment banker for 20 years, who meditated to deal with

the stress of his job. Eventually, he turned his back on the City to become a tantric sex healer and has since trained in body psychotherapy, sexual healing and bio-energetics. “The work is quite edgy,” he admits. “But it’s a real privilege being a part of a woman’s sexual awakening.” mikelousada.com

Kathryn Hoyle, MD, Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium Even post-feminism, sex shops continued to cater solely for grunting, libidinous men, and were “bloody awful, icky, alienating” places for women, says Hoyle, in her forties. So, 10 years ago, she opened Sh!, a sex shop for women, in Hoxton. “The idea of feminism was that women were supposed to be sexually


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ON THE JOB ARIANNA CADWALLADER

CAREER Founder of Saturday Sewing Session AGE 30 LIVES Fulham FROM Cornwall

There’s help to become happy

How did you get into your line of work? My mum introduced me to sewing as a child, and my passion grew from there. I’ve since worked in fashion mags, TV and film, and I did a degree in costume interpretation. I make wedding dresses, and I’m a milliner.

From far left: Barnett, Lousada and Hoyle

Photos: Thinkstock

Jo Barnett,

liberated, but the only MORE ‘LOVE’ JOBS dating coach women in the industry GIGOLO Well, men, women have were busty blondes in needs, too. After a divorce four porn and the models years ago, 36-yearSEX INSTRUCTORS When on horrible sex toy old Barnett went on manuals are just too clinical. packages,” Hoyle says. SPEED-DATING HOST A great hundreds of dates, and “The shops were full although yet to find gig when you can make a match. of Mr Big Johns a Mr Right, she’s had ESCORT If you’re clever and fun, and blow-up dolls.” a swell time. Naturally, you could have a blast. Sex not As the Stratford her single friends necessarily included. local toiled away on wanted the secret. EROTIC NOVEL WRITERS everything from sewing Pen a good tale with some super “It’s as simple as the leather on to sex having the confidence nova sex, and you’ll be rolling in it. toys to working the to put yourself out DOMINATRIX Make some dosh till, her store grew in there, forgetting with whips and chains. Some men popularity. It became about your hang-ups, just want to be bossed. a place where women not worrying about felt comfortable buying “gorgeous disappointment, having no regrets and vibrators”– toys that didn’t look like enjoying the experience,” Barnett says. “decapitated penises” – and the Barnett, of Mill Hill, works with men successful formula led to a second and women, aged 29-56, from various store, in Notting Hill. backgrounds, who, at best, take a “A lot of women find the idea of cautious approach to dating, while others buying a toy arousing in itself,” Hoyle have never been in the game at all. says. “It’s like buying anything that And despite the rising popularity makes you feel good, like a bag, or of internet dating, Barnett believes it’s a beautiful vase.” a time-waster for singles. She says Sh!’s self-manufactured “Go to a dinner party and potentially strap-ons are among its best-selling meet 20 people,” she says. “It’d take items, adding pegging (where a women you six months to meet that penetrates a male with a dildo) is many people over the becoming increasingly popular. “Men internet, by which NEXT WEEK are finally discovering their prostate,” time, you’d have Using your TEFL she says. “And I think it’s great.” probably given up!” qualifications sh-womenstore.com

What do you do day to day? I run Saturday Sewing Session with my boyfriend, with lots of fun classes, such as making knickers or sausage dogs. I focus on the practical side of things, while my boyfriend does the rest. What is the best part of your job? Seeing the thrill students get when they learn to use a sewing machine to make their own creations. What’s the most challenging? Finding the time to do everything and remembering to stay calm when my to-do list is overflowing.

saturdaysewingsession.co.uk

HOW TO ... WOO

A COLLEAGUE

Keen to make an amorous gesture to a female co-worker? Take our tips.

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weave an emotional tale into your next conversation. She’ll be putty in your hands.

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desk anonymously, then tell her after work they were from you. Discretion is admirable.

• Tell her she looks good, often,

and walk to the shops together during lunch. Unless you stink, something should blossom.

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LIFESTYLECAREERS www.facebook.com/ppaeducation @PPAEducation James Murphy www.ppaeducation.blogspot.com

THREE YEARS AGO, PPA EDUCATION WAS THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK… ...well that time has passed and PPA Education is now one of the most recognised names in supply teaching and schools support work in London. If you’re new to London, been here for a while or even if you’re just thinking about coming to London then the PPA Team can show you the right path – and get you paid in the process.

PPA EDUCATION IS CONSTANTLY RECRUITING FOR: ✔ Qualified Teachers for Primary and Secondary Schools ✔ Teaching Support for Primary and Secondary Schools ✔ Any staff that have either Qualifications or Experience with Special Educational Needs students ✔ All levels of Nursery Staff – daycare, schools, children’s centres.

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tntjobs.co.uk IPG T: 07716 376 408

JOB OF THE WEEK: Best Backpackers Jobs ever Location: UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand Salary: Average £600 pw. Make £15,000 by Christmas!

IPG is an international company marketing leisure events (paintball, go-karting, theme parks).

Work as part of a team at outdoor shows/indoor shopping centres across the country. See the sights, and have fun along the way. IPG’s promo teams comprise 150+ Aussies, Kiwis, Canadians, and more. Free drinks every Friday night. 07716 376 408

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JOB OF THE WEEK: Location: London Salary: £8 - £11 ph + skills payments

T: 0845 300 2468 www.gallowglass.co.uk Gallowglass is UKs leading crewing company to the sporting and events industry, working for TV, theatre, film and outdoor production companies.

Gallowglass is involved in many aspects of the 2012 Games as well as our ongoing work, and has vacancies for friendly, enthusiastic and outgoing people to join our crew. You will need to be physically fit, have excellent spoken English, be adaptable, happy to work anti-social hours and have a can-do attitude. CV to hr@gallowglass.co.uk or fill in our on line form at www.gallowglass.co.uk

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Duties cleaning of common areas in 11flat block and reception of tradesmen and deliveries. Hours 9-5 weekdays and 14 days leave per annum. 1 year appointment on contract. Benefits - Partly furnished lower ground floor 2 BR flat with patio area. Light and newly refurbished. Utilities and telephone provided.[value approximately £36K per annum]. Also stipend at £500 per month. Would suit academic couple with perhaps one child. Evidence of cleaning experience would support this application. Work permit or UK residency essential.

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CASH-SAVING TIPS LAST-MINUTE LOVING Xxxxxxxxx If you’ve left it late to pull something out of XXXXXXXXX the bag for your special Xxxxxxxxxxx someone on February 14, don’t panic. Log XXXXXXXXX on to hotukdeals.com Xxxxxxxxxxx where there are plenty of bargains – think romantic XXXXXXXXX day trips, cards that cost Xxxxxxxxxxx pennies, and dirt-cheap flower delivery. Who says XXXXXXXXX you must have pots of cash Xxxxxxxxxxx to display your affection? LOOK SHARP FOR CHEAP Score daily deals on clothing at M and M Direct. Keen shoppers will get discounts on big brands such as Adidas, Diesel, Timberland and Fred Perry – think £44.99 shoes for £7.99, and £50 shirts for £19.99. Mandmdirect.com.

HOW YOU SPEND IT! on everything I spend. I try to buy lesser-known brands for a little bit cheaper. My friends ask why I bother and I know it’s a cliché, but if you look after the pennies, the pounds look after themselves. I guess it’s said for a reason!

JOB Customer services at 247moneybox.com FROM Finchley LIVES Crystal Palace

in the first week of the month. I get essentials out of the way so I’m not left with loads of paymentsjust before payday.

How do you budget? I try to pay all my bills

Any money-saving tips? I look to make small savings

RIA ALI, 24

Photos: Getty

What non-essential items do you spend money on? Shoes (the last pair were six-inch pink velvet for £150) and colour contact lenses.

HOW THEY SPEND IT! Celebrity cheapskates Some prefer to keep their riches and adopt a frugal approach. TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson won’t even pay for groceries – he’s not alone as a stingy celeb

CLAIM EVERY LAST PENNY Make like an MP and get as much as you can from your expenses, with the ExpenseMagic app. Take photos of your receipts, which the app will then organise, for £2.99 per 20 uploads. Or get the free version and enter your details manually. expensemagic.com. SEXY CAMPING /62 ARGENTINA /76

Last big blow-out? My brother’s wedding. I wanted a new dress but ended up with shoes, a hat and accessories to match.

Big ego, bad tipper

❚ Despite being worth nearly £200m, Madonna is a notoriously bad tipper. After enjoying a £250 dinner in London with ex-husband Guy Ritchie, she tipped just a measly tenner.

❚ Eva Longoria’s wedding cost almost £1m, but she still blagged a lot of freebies for her guests, including L’Oreal products and Van Cleef & Arpels 18 carat yellow-gold bracelets.

❚ Usher (left) is even worse. Instead of giving a tip at one US restaurant, he (and his big ego) decided to leave his autograph for the staff. How very kind.

❚ Tyra Banks won’t even fork out for shampoo. She’s known to stock up on hotel toiletries so she doesn’t have to buy them, even though she’s worth £47m.

Saturday 3 March 2012 Earls Court Exhibition Centre 9.30am - 5.30pm

Free if you Pre-register at tnttravelshow.com TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Rental scams are becoming far more frequent – make sure you stay aware of them WORDS CLARE VOOGHT

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A well-located flat for £400 a month, including bills, is rare in London. So when 29-year-old journalist Soo Kim spotted a place on Craigslist for that price, she went for it. The landlord seemed eager to show her the property, but first wanted her to prove she could afford the rent, saying unreliable tenants had “duped” him in the past. He asked her to transfer money to a friend of hers, via Western Union, and to show him the transaction. Believing the man was genuine and trying to protect himself, Kim transferred the money to a close friend’s account and provided the confirmation details, including her friend’s name. But soon, the money was gone – claimed by the scammer, with the use of a fake ID. “He seemed to be placing himself as the victim,” Kim says. “Saying that he’s been ‘duped’ in this way before – where tenants claim to be able to pay the rent but are unable to cope after moving in. But, in hindsight, I can see that this was just all a part of the distraction, a way for him to steer my mind away from any possible doubt.” This scam is just one of many used to trick people into forking out for a flat they’ll never get to live in, and the problem has been growing since the recession hit. This year, property experts predict rental scams will rise even further, as bogus agents target people looking to rent a place during the Olympics. It’s impossible to quantify exactly how many rental scams take place across London,

Your new pad: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is because the police class different cases under different crimes – rental scamming could be considered theft or fraud, depending on how it’s done. Dan Watkins, director of find-a-solicitor service Contact Law, says the Western Union transfer trick is a common one. “Never transfer any money via Western Union,” he says. “And if the advertiser claims they cannot show you the room, report the ad to the website’s team immediately.” Tenancy relations officer Ben ReeveLewis says fake lettings companies can look professional, and prospective ‘landlords’ can be very persuasive.

“There are no legal requirements for letting agents to be licensed or regulated, so anyone can set themselves up with no knowledge or previous experience at all,” he says. ”Websites can make an outfit look very professional these days but you need to dig a bit if you are going to cover your back


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LIFESTYLELIVING WORST SCAMS Ben Reeve-Lewis, tenancy relations officer and founder of homesavingexpert.co.uk prosecutes rogue landlords for a living – here are his top five most shocking rental scams. 1. One of the most common scams is a tenant who pretends to be a landlord. They often sublet a property to several people at once. ‘Tenants’ all turn up to move in on the same day and the ‘landlord’ has disappeared. Sometimes, they choose to all live in cramped conditions without the real landlord knowing.

Look at average rental rates – that goes for landlords for an area if you’re unsure and tenants.” of typical prices. So how do you protect Viewing the property first yourself? Metropolitan is the golden rule, because Police spokesman Eddie scams happen most often Townsend says research is paramount. “Phone the Report the incident to the when you haven’t seen the flat. If you’re suspicious, see website’s team to prevent company you’re dealing if the photos of the place it from happening again. with – check they’re based match those on Google Go to the police as soon in a fixed location and check Street View, and dig deeper as possible. The scammers people’s names,” he says. may have done this to to see if the same pictures “Don’t take someone’s a lot of other people, too. are used on other ads with word. How do you know Charities such as Shelter different addresses – that’s they are who they say (shelter.org.uk) can give a surefire giveaway that they are?” advice on where to find someone’s trying to pull off Well-known high street housing if you’re broke. a swindle. tenancy agents are pricey, Websites that let you but offer extra piece of mind The Citizen’s Advice Bureau can also help post for free are where you when it comes to landlord (citizensadvice.org.uk). need to be most wary. Most vetting – check your agent’s ads are, of course, fine, but policy on this. ads on sites like Gumtree Online lettings agent or Craigslist can easily be posted in high UPAD (upad.co.uk) advises asking for legally volumes, Watkins says. required documents, such as gas safety “The ads are also unlikely to be filtered and energy performance certificates – they or checked on a daily basis, so they can might give you the paper trail you need to easily slip through the net,” Watkins says. be confident an advert for a property isn’t ”Specialist flatshare websites are often safer, a scam. And there’s also no harm in asking as they have filters and teams that manually the landlord for ID. check ads deemed high-risk.” Trusted sites A potential scam’s big warning sign is include Primelocation.co.uk and the price, UPAD’s guidelines add. Don’t Rightmove.co.uk. give in to a deal you know deep down is Go with your gut and too good to be true, even if the landlord NEXT WEEK don’t be afraid to ask has a story to back it up – some will use Living in questions – it could save flattery, and say they want to let the flat go Mile End you a lot of money. cheap to a person they know they can trust.

Photos: Thinkstock

BEEN SCAMMED?

2. Bogus letting agents advertise properties they don’t have to tenants who, surprisingly, agree to move in without seeing the place. They shell out a deposit, plus one month’s rent, and turn up to find other people, who have never heard of the agent, already living there. 3. Websites like Gumtree and Craigslist are known in property circles for opening people up to scams – luxurious properties in high-end areas are advertised dirt cheap. Those already living in London would instantly recognise this is a scam, but anyone moving here for the first time could be tricked. 4. Some scammers go as far as pretending to be a prospective buyer and then blag the keys off an agent. One man said he wanted to measure for curtains, then cut six sets of keys and took rent and deposits from six tenants, making £15,000, before disappearing. 5. A landlord living abroad hired a builder to work on his house but returned to the UK to find that the builder had done no work and let his property out to a stranger.

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WORLDVIEW

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‘It’s over’: Jono and Robert

TUNE IN TO WIN A DIVORCE! NEW ZEALAND A radio station is giving one ‘lucky’ couple the chance to win a divorce, live on air. Auckland-based The Rock is offering to “lend a helping hand” to end an on-therocks relationship by forking out for the pair to part ways once and for all. There must be no children involved in the marriage, and the news must be delivered on air on Valentine’s Day. Station manager Brad King said: “A lot of people are genuinely interested and will be tuning in to hear how it all rolls out on Valentine’s Day.” The ‘winner’ will be announced on Tuesday by hosts Robert Taylor and Jono Pryer. Who said romance was dead?

TWEETS OF THE WEEK

@ConanOBrien: Turns out “Bingo Bango Bongo!” is not a good thing to yell out during sex. @buck4itt: I feel I’m at my most culturally sensitive when I call Dell tech support and don’t scream, “What the fuck are you saying?”. @bazecraze: I was flipping through the Victoria’s Secret catalogue and now I have a craving for ribs.

ROOKY COP CHASES HIMSELF ON CCTV UNITED KINGDOM A red-faced plain-clothes policeman chased himself around Sussex streets for 20 minutes after a CCTV operator mistook him for a suspect. The junior officer, working a burglary-hit area, was radioed by the operator, alerting 46

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It’s unclear whether these stormtroopers decided to adopt their funky eyewear to avoid having to look at Jar Jar Binks one more time or whether it was because of the London premiere of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 3D, which kicks off George Lucas’s three-dimensional Jedi assault on our wallets. May the force be with us all

him to a man “acting suspiciously”. The cop, directed as the operator, followed the “suspect” on CCTV, assuring the officer he was “hot on his heels”. The one-man chase continued for 20 minutes until the operator’s mistake was pointed out by a sergeant, according to Police Federation magazine Police.

DOH! SIMPSONS DOLLS BANNED IRAN

It’s something we’ve always suspected – The Simpsons are to blame for corroding children’s morals. Dolls based on the characters are being targeted by Tehran officials, who have banned them in the Islamic country in a fight against ‘Western intoxication’. Mohammad Hossein Farjoo, whose

agency oversees what Iranian children can play with, said some episodes of the US series had been banned, adding: “We do not want to promote this cartoon by importing the toys.” Barbie dolls also face the axe, but Superman and Spider-Man figures are still welcome, because they battle for the oppressed. Of course.


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THIS WEEK

IN NUMBERS 18

Amount, in pounds, a box of the breakfast cereal Shreddies from the early Seventies sold for on eBay. Yum

‘Til crust do us part’

GETTING ENGAGED? HIT THE HUT UNITED STATES Romeos hunting for the perfect place to pop the question this Valentine’s Day need look no further. Pizza Hut is offering a £6,350 love package, which includes an enticing medium one-topping pizza and a whopping five tasty breadsticks. Oh, and the Texas-based chain is also throwing in a ruby engagement ring, a limo and a fireworks display. “Our customers want the best of everything, from their food to memorable life experiences,” spokesman Kurt Kane said. “So we decided to make one of those experiences – the marriage proposal – second-to-none and offer it at pizzahut.com, right alongside the new £6 Dinner Box.” So … will you?

TRIED TURNING IT ON AND OFF – AND ON?

Photos: Getty

ITALY Online users can experience feelings of arousal when surfing social networking sites, researchers say. Looking at Facebook and Twitter promotes a natural buzz, leaving users feeling relaxed, according to a study. Thirty students aged 19-25 were wired up by Milan university officials for the sexy study. Participants’ brain reactions were monitored, as were blood pressure, pupil dilation and heart rate. Among the findings were increased levels of excitement, relaxation and even arousal. See, those nerds have been right for years: computers are sexy.

Number of holes of golf a UK beneficiary claiming to be “too sick to feed himself” was caught playing

5

Months it took for the UK owners of Buggsy the tortoise to find him, after he became stuck in a fence

Milligrams of caffeine powder in Aeroshot, a US invention which offers an inhalable dose of coffee. It’s for over-18s only

‘You dirty dog’

AUSTRALIANS PREFER IT DOGGY STYLE

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

AUSTRALIA Rather than getting lucky with their partners, Australians would prefer to spend Valentine’s Day with their pet. About 13 per cent of owners – that’s a whopping 360,000 people – are planning to buy their animal companion a present on February 14. And, according to a survey by World Society for the Protection of Animals, 14 per cent would rather cuddle up to their pooch than a loved one, too. More than 1000 people took part in the study, although there was no mention of exactly what the pets would receive from their human lovers. WSPA director Emily Reeves said: “Aussies clearly love animals!” Clearly. All those years of hassling Kiwis about their sheep are about to come back to bite their trans-Tasman cousins!

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We are like two nuclear superpowers at this point. We shouldn’t launch because we will annihilate each other Brad Pitt calls a ceasefire on the escalating pranks between him and old pal George Clooney


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TNT puts the world to rights

OURVIEW

COMMENT: TOM STURROCK tom.sturrock@tntmagazine.com

‘She’ll be right, mate’: Australians need to wake up

Australia: a sunburnt country is now a land of addled brains

Photos: Thinkstock

Australia, with all its good fortune, is diminished by blissful indifference In Richard Adams’ 1972 classic Watership Down, the band of rabbits come across a warren where the inhabitants are unusually well-fed. It is revealed, though, that a nearby farmer has been leaving vegetables for the rabbits, before snaring them and eating them. The rabbits, having suspended their faculties and grown fat, end up paying a high price for their lives of luxury. Australians are unlikely to wind up in a farmer’s stockpot but there is, similarly, a growing complacency among a population now among the world’s most prosperous, healthiest and best-educated. The nation’s politics are shot through with ignorance. Even in times of unprecedented wealth, Julia Gillard’s government faces daily criticism over the state of the economy. According to the IMF, Australia currently ranks alongside Norway as the most successful economy in the world – that, though, is not good enough for the country’s graspingly acquisitive inhabitants. The rabbits want more vegetables. Speculation about Kevin Rudd’s possible return reflects a fundamental unseriousness that should embarrass any grown-up democracy. What kind of country allows its PM to be replaced by his deputy, due to pressure from the all-powerful mining industry, only to entertain speculation of the switcheroo being reversed because the new girl can’t govern? The farmer left vegetables for the rabbits in Watership Down; in Australia the material boom is from the miners. And mining has now set its sights on transforming the nation’s media into propaganda outlets to spruik its cause. Billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart last week became the largest shareholder in the Fairfax media group, publishers of the country’s two largest broadsheets. Rinehart is stridently right-wing – she dislikes The Simpsons but loves tabloid bomb-thrower Andrew Bolt. Rupert Murdoch may be on his last legs but, in Rinehart, there is a formidable liberal bogeywoman waiting in the wings. Australians may be fat and mostly happy. But they need to get smart. Because the snares are there and they’re stumbling blithely into them. » Have Australians become too complacent? letters@tntmagazine.com

CONTEXT CLICHÉ WEARS THIN When famous people want to distance themselves from something stupid they’ve said, insisting they’ve been quoted “out of context” is step one, but some of them are barely trying to sell these magic beans any more. Take big-mouthed fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who, in a recent interview, said British singer Adele is “a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice”. In an weak attempt to neutralise the backlash, Lagerfeld claimed he was Adele’s biggest fan an insisted his comments had been taken, you guessed it, out of context.

Karl Lagerfeld, you’re a right jerk

Does he not get that this is completely inane? What, pray tell, was the original context in which calling Adele fat meant something else, in which it was anything other than jarringly impolite and misjudged? Here’s a thought, Karl Lagerfeld: you’re a right jerk. And you can take that in whatever context you like. TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Oh, what a lovely war Saddam, check. Osama, check. Gaddafi, check. Who’s next? WORDS TOM STURROCK

Coalition troops have withdrawn from Iraq, negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan are in full swing, and last summer’s Libyan adventure ended with Gaddafi’s head on a pike. After a decade of fighting on different fronts, there’s a lull. But don’t worry – wars, apparently, are like buses. Just wait, and another one will arrive soon. Not to be flippant – civilised countries bear a grave responsibility to prevent genocide. And there remains a robust debate in foreign policy circles about the circumstances that compel Western governments to become involved militarily in the affairs of other states. London think tank, the Henry Jackson Society, believes only liberal, democratic states are legitimate and that force should be used to prevent genocide and terrorist attacks. Spokesman Michael Weiss insists that the violence committed by Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria justifies intervention. “Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have been ‘intervening’ in Syria’s internal affairs for 10 months,” Weiss says. He insists that, when the regime collapses, the West will need to stop a failed state taking root on the Mediterranean. “Meanwhile, the Arab League, the United States and the European Union have all determined that any claim to sovereignty Assad might have had in 2011 is null and void in 2012.” Mark Schneider, vice-president of the Washington-based International Crisis Group, is less hawkish, saying that where US interests aren’t directly threatened, diplomatic methods must be exhausted first. “After the events of the past 10 years or so, I think the international community is more aware and determined to use the steps short of military action to resolve these situations,” he says. Are there no wars that we can all agree on?

Cuba US governments have never been happy about having a communist country idling away just 200 miles south of 50

TNTMAGAZINE.COM

Miami, and they’ve had a couple of cracks at overthrowing Castro’s government. Most notably in 1961, when the Bay of Pigs invasion ended disastrously and a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles was routed in three days by the Cuban military. How loud are the sabres rattling? Castro remains more an irritant than a real threat, so only the most fevered hawks in Washington would entertain a full-scale invasion, as opposed to an ongoing propaganda campaign. In reality, there has already been an invasion: the Cubans took Miami.

Iran You could be forgiven for thinking you’ve seen this episode before: obnoxious Middle Eastern country has designs on WMDs and must be stopped before they succeed – the fate of the world depends on it. Still, Israel aren’t inclined to take any chances, given President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s professed aim to “wipe Israel off the map”. It’s fighting talk. How loud are the sabres rattling? Deafeningly. Israel’s bellicose talk of airstrikes could be a bluff to get China, one of Iran’s major trading partners, to agree to tighter sanctions. But a strike could occur later this year and US warships may be redirected to the Persian Gulf to deter Iranian retaliation.

Mexico In some circles, a US invasion of Mexico, to smash the drug cartels and combat illegal immigration, is regarded as an elephant in the room that will need to be addressed sooner or later. The violence of Mexico’s drug wars has escalated to the point where, in places like Ciudad Juárez, residents have called for UN intervention. How loud are the sabres rattling? Serious people aren’t really talking about it but Rick Perry, the governor of Texas who tried and failed to become the next Republican presidential candidate, spoke openly about sending US troops into Mexico toward the end of last year.


Left to right: a marine covers Saddam Hussein’s statue with the US flag; Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Mexican Army snipers special unit; actors playing Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin dumping body bags outside the UN Security Council building.

North Korea Now Kim Jong-Il has shuffled off the mortal coil (without so much as a parting rendition of So Lonely) North Korea has moved down on the international Shit List. Maybe his chubby-faced son will be as crazy but he deserves the benefit of the doubt – at least until he lobs missiles into Seoul. How loud are the sabres rattling? China isn’t keen on war on the Korean peninsula and Pyongyang struggles to feed its 25 million people, so is more interested in blackmailing the international community for aid, rather than starting a war.

Photos: Getty, Ramzi Haidar, Rodrigo Buendia, Fox Photos, Jesus Alcazar, Timothy A. Clary

Syria The Arab Spring might have started off as a feel-good story, but its advent in Syria has precipitated regime violence that turns the stomach. Russia and China, piqued after being strung along in Libya, are blocking UN action, making it hard for Western governments to intervene. How loud are the sabres rattling? Loudly, but with caution. If there was a quick, easy way to get rid of Assad, there would be few dissenters outside Russia and Iran. It leaves Western governments with the invidious choice of running a mile or making sure they have a presence post-Assad.

Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe has been running Zimbabwe since 1980, saddling the country with crippling hyperinflation and driving white farmers off their land. This year, or early in 2013, Zimbabwe is expected to hold elections, which will likely degenerate into a spectacle of regime intimidation. How loud are the sabres rattling? Western governments would love to see the back of Mugabe but would stop short of sending their own soldiers, preferring he hoist himself on his own petard or be ousted at the hands of a coup. Indeed, Mugabe’s paranoia has incubated intricate strategies to guard against western-sponsored regime change.

British troops arriving in the Falklands

THE FALKLANDS WAR THIRTY YEARS ON Some of these scenarios might seem like pie-in-the sky but April this year marks the 30th anniversary of one of the 20th century’s most unlikely wars, when England and Argentina battled over the Falklands. The crisis came out of the blue and surprised an international community accustomed to viewing conflict through the prism of the Cold War. It was sparked by the Argentinian government’s decision to invade the tiny islands off their east coast – which they called re-occupying their own territory. Given the British sovereignty over the islands, though, Margaret Thatcher didn’t see it that way and deployed Royal Navy and SAS forces to send the Argentines packing. Over the course of the 74-day conflict, 907 people were killed – mostly on the Argentinian side – and the British victory helped propel Thatcher to re-election the following year.

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SPORTNEWS

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Girly hair: Nathan Bracken

BRACKEN SUES CA FOR INJURY CRICKET Former Test and one-day bowler Nathan Bracken is suing Cricket Australia for £678,000 in lost earnings, alleging it failed to deal with a knee injury that affected his career. Bracken alleges two doctors and a physiotherapist employed by CA failed to properly diagnose a knee injury he sustained against England in 2007. He says they should have recognised from MRI scans that he needed to have arthroscopic surgery. He alleges their failure to refer him for further examination by a specialist orthopaedic surgeon and to restrict him from training and playing ruined his career.

SBW NZ CHAMP BOXING Sonny Bill Williams won the New Zealand Boxing Association’s heavyweight title but has found the achievement subject to criticism for his below-par opponent and the nature of his three-minute ‘duel’. Rugby World Cup winner Williams, 26, scored a first-round win against Clarence Tillman III, a last minute stand-in when first-choice Richard Tutaki was arrested. The overweight Tillman, who displayed little skill in the ring, didn’t live up to the event billing as promised by his altercations with Williams at the weigh-in, which was criticised as a media attention-grabbing exercise to boost pay-per-view sales. Boxing commentator Sir Bob Jones said: “Tillman’s record is appalling. Five of his fights were against blokes who had never fought before and even then he lost one of them.” ›› Opinion: page 54 52

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In synch: Australia’s synchronised swimmers train ahead of London 2012. Synchro, as it is known, is one of the two Olympic sports open only to women (rhythmic gymnastics being the other). Olympic buffs should acquaint themselves with Australia’s Olga Buraev – just so you have a reference point to impress your mates with come summer

HOOKER OUT FOR SEASON ATHLETICS Olympic pole vault champ Steve Hooker is taking the tough route to London 2012 and may have a only a three-week window to qualify to defend his title. Hooker admits his decision to pull out of the rest of Australia’s domestic athletics season is a risk, but said he needs to step away from competition to clear his mind and rediscover his confidence. By skipping the Australian season, including the selection trials next month, Hooker has until the final selectors’ meeting on June 11 to clear an A qualifying height of 5.72m. He is expected to train in Perth until late May before heading north for the start of the European season.

BIG WEEK FOR ... The New Zealand Black Caps, spearheaded by the in-form Brendon McCullum, welcome South Africa for a six-week tour, including three T20 matches, which begin on Friday. The Kiwis will want to get the mental advantage early on, and prove recent form against Aus and Zimbabwe was no fluke. As always with T20, expect some big-hitting. It may not impress the purists, but it sure is a whole lot of fun for the casual fan.


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QUOTES OF THE WEEK He was a real gentleman on the phone. He could have hung up on me after what I did Cronulla Sharks prop Mark Taufua on apologising to supercoach Wayne Bennett for calling him a ‘9-ball’ via Twitter

My mood right now is not the best but I know this will make me stronger in the future

Main man: Arsenal’s Robin van Persie, with Theo Walcott

PREVIEW FA Cup fifth round

EIGHT GAMES, SATURDAY/ SUNDAY LIVE ON ESPN/ ITV1

The FA Cup is far from decided. This weekend, the remaining 16 teams will face off for their chance to compete in the quarterfinals. Of the big boys left, Chelsea should have no trouble dispatching Birmingham City on Saturday, especially as the game is played at Stamford Bridge. And on Sunday, Liverpool and Tottenham will be expected to take care of Brighton & Hove Albion and Stevenage respectively.

The match to watch out for, though, is Arsenal against Sunderland AFC, held at the Stadium of Light. The Gunners will be desperate to win to keep their hopes of gaining a trophy alive. Sunderland, however, are no slouches, nipping at Arsenal’s heels in the top eight of the EPL this season. As long as Robin van Persie maintains his rich run of form, Arsenal should win it, but this is the FA Cup – there’ll have to be an upset at some stage of the weekend. Elsewhere, Norwich, who have punched above their weight all season, are at home against Leicester.

Either that, or some more performanceenhancing drugs will … Cyclist Alberto Contador tries to look on the bright side after being banned for doping

It really has been a nightmare, I’ve got to be honest. It should never have come to court Harry Rednapp reflects on the drama and stress his trail for tax evasion brought about. It’s always best to be honest, Harry

TV HIGHLIGHTS

THE CHAT | Who’s up next?

Photos: Getty

FOOTBALL trashing the FA publicly for its decision Q After to strip John Terry of the England captaincy, Fabio Capello has resigned from his role as England coach. So who next? FA has voiced – much as it did after Sven Goran A The Eriksson’s departure – its preference for a “British or English” manager. Harry Redknapp’s a front-runner, for certain, despite saying he’s not interested, with stand-in Stuart Pearce sure to be in the frame as well. Roy Hodgson would be a good bet (Merseyside misery not withstanding), and even Alan Pardew, who’s worked wonders at Newcastle this season, stands a shout. We’d like to see the FA widen their net though. Jose Mourinho, after all, is keen for a move back to England.

Stoke City v Valencia UEFA League action Thursday 8pm, ESPN

FOOTBALL Sunderland v Arsenal, FA Cup Arsene shoots for silverware success Saturday 5.10pm, ITV 1

FOOTBALL Real Madrid v Racing A special one: Mourinho

Mourinho’s men vie to rule La Liga Saturday 6.55pm, Sky Sports 1 TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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SPORTVIEW

TNT puts the world to rights

COMMENT: JAHN VANNISSELROY

Sonny Bill Williams (centre) shines a positive light on boxing in NZ

Sonny Bill Williams revives interest in a dying sport The good he brings to boxing outweighs his lack of experience

» What do you think of Sonny Bill’s boxing career? letters@tntmagazine.com 54

TNTMAGAZINE.COM

NELSEN RUBS MORE SALT IN AUS WOUNDS Ah, a new year, a new sporting victory over Australia for New Zealand. The latest comes in the shape of Ryan Nelsen, now the highest-profile Antipodean football player in the world, after his recent move to EPL topfour contenders Tottenham Hotspur. It’s been a great few years for the Kiwi camp in the trans-Tasman rivalry: two world cups, rugby and league; the Warriors crashing the NRL finals; an unbeaten run in another world cup (football); and a recent Test cricket victory against the team that would own the game, if they could.

Nelsen is the EPL’s main Antipodean

And now Nelsen usurps Fulham goalie Mark Schwarzer and Everton midfielder Tim Cahill as the EPL’s main man from Down Under. Should Spurs remain in the top four, it’ll be the first time an Antipodean has played in the Champions League since Harry Kewell in 2005. Yep, it’s a superb time to be a Kiwi sports fan. Now, if only the AFL would let NZ into that comp – imagine the damage …

Photos: Getty

Complaints echoed around New Zealand sporting circles last week after resident superhero rugby player Sonny Bill Williams punched his way to boxing victory, and a NZ title, against another severely out-of-shape also-ran. Kiwi boxing officiando Sir Bob Jones led the criticism, saying the bout was “degrading” to boxing. But are Jones and his cronies missing a trick here? This was only Williams’ fourth professional fight, in fact the 26-year-old’s fourth altogether, having no amateur record and no formal training until two years ago. If I was Williams, I would also be wanting to fight bunnies while I up built my record. A busted face when you’re a million-dollar marketing dream isn’t going to do you any good. And therein lies the two key worlds: ‘marketing dream’. If it wasn’t for the New Zealand public’s unquenchable thirst for all thing Sonny Bill, boxing wouldn’t be the buzzword on the country’s lips. Jones should consider if, like in the time-honoured words of PR people everywhere, some publicity is better than no publicity. Boxing the world over is a joke; this centuries-old gladitorial pursuit reduced from a once-healthy organism into a festering sore, continually poisoned by greed, corruption and dubious characters. In its biggest market, America, fans are so sick of the circus, they would rather satiate their bloodlust by watching the more professional MMA circuit. It’s no better in NZ. Williams’ first-choice opponent was arrested for alleged methrelated crime, dropped and then got in the ring afterwards to demand the Muslim All Black fight him then and there. And personality divisions between two rival factions means there’s no unification, so no one really knows who the nation’s true champ is. Jones should realise what’s good for him. By having the high-profile, clean-living SBW drawing attention to the sport, the onus is now on Sir Bob and NZ boxing to follow up with the combo that delivers the knockout marketing blow most other shabby organisations would kill for.

jahn.vannisselroy@tntmagazine.com


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Manly won’t go quietly The Sea Eagles have been galvanised by off-field tumult WORDS TOM STURROCK

It has been a eventful off-season for Manly, the reigning NRL premiers. The champagne opened after their grand final win over the New Zealand Warriors had barely gone flat before the Sea Eagles’ coach, Des Hasler, announced his decision to join cross-town rivals Canterbury in 2013. Hasler’s plan to carry on coaching the Sea Eagles in 2012 was scuttled dramatically when the club’s board found he had been enticing support staff to join him at the Bulldogs; Hasler was sacked, sensationally, less than two months after winning his second premiership as coach of the Sydney club. The upheaval has since emboldened some commentators to dismiss Manly’s chances of going back-to-back this season but, on the eve of the World Club Challenge – in which they will face Leeds, the Super League champions – co-captain Jason King (main image) insists the Sea Eagles are ready to prove their critics wrong once again. “As a group, we’re put in another situation, people have given us no chance of winning at all,” King says. “It’s a fresh challenge for us experienced guys, a new target and another little piece of motivation.” The timing of the World Club Challenge has, historically, favoured English clubs – their season is already up and running, while the Australian sides are still in pre-season mode, fine-tuning and ironing out the creases in their games. And the icy temperatures in northern England, this coming weekend in particular, invariably shatter the comfort zones of Australian players accustomed to training in high summer. That said, the Australian clubs have won the past three installments – St George Illawarra and Melbourne victorious in the past two years and Manly edging Leeds in 2009. “Europe’s had a bit of a cold snap so you might see me in the full Skins,” King says of the wintry conditions. “It’s an important match – we want to play really well. It’s different circumstances to a usual pre-season trial but it’s a good way to start the year – we want to 56

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put some things we’ve been practicing into our game. It’s a special game and it’s fantastic to be a part of it. My motivation is to play well for my teammates and get the win for the fans – I’m not really thinking about it on an individual level, other than to get out there and have a really good crack at it and do my best for the club.” Of the players named in the Sea Eagles’ full-strength squad for Friday’s match in Leeds, King possibly has a little extra to play for, after he was forced to watch his teammates win last year’s premiership from the sidelines, a torn pectoral ending his season just weeks before the finals. But the disappointment that detracted from his celebrations following Manly’s 24-10 win over the Warriors in last year’s decider has stoked his determination to win the cross-country hit-out that is the NRL premiers’ reward. “I’m feeling good – I’ve done plenty of rehab and had plenty of time to recover,” the prop says. “It was tough missing the back end of last season but to draw some positives from it, it’s probably helped me get ready for 2012. “It was very disappointing to miss the finals but it comes with the territory. You’ve got to get used to it pretty quickly and make sure it doesn’t rub off on your teammates so I had to stay as positive as I could.” A win in Leeds would go a long way to proving that, despite the disruption of the off-season, the Sea Eagles remain formidable opposition and are still one of the teams to beat going into the new NRL season. Indeed, for all the off-field changes, the Sea Eagles’ roster is mostly unchanged from the group that last year finished the regular season in second place before grinding their way irresistibly to glory. It is that stable personnel, that, in difficult times, has steadied the ship. “The senior players have taken a lot of responsibility over the years and that’s one of the strengths of the club,” King says.


Photos: Getty

New Manly coach Geoff Toovey was a brilliant captain for the club

“We are brutally honest with each other and that can sometimes be difficult. Having a new coach, everyone’s 100 per cent behind him and the senior players are ready to do whatever we can.” That new coach, of course, is Geoff Toovey, a club legend and premiership captain. Toovey played alongside Hasler at Manly and, just as he displaced him as the Sea Eagles’ starting halfback in the mid-Nineties, has again been called on to fill Hasler’s shoes, this time as head coach, having worked underneath him since 2004. Undoubtedly, the acrimony of Hasler’s departure created less than ideal conditions for Toovey’s unplanned ascension to the top job but Toovey – a captain of legendary toughness, who won the Clive Churchill medal in 1996 after playing the grand final with a fractured eye socket – is unlikely to dwell on the past. Rather, this week’s showdown with Leeds represents his first opportunity to make his own mark, to put his stamp on what is now his side, not Hasler’s. “It’s important to the players and to the club, to show we’re the best side in both competitions,” Toovey says. “It’s a very experienced side, a very knowledgeable side. The combinations are already there so that makes it much easier. “I think we’ll get a lot out of it. The players deserve to be there and I think they’ll play that way. We plan on winning it and coming back with some confidence and hitting the ground running.” The Sea Eagles have long been a side other supporters love to hate, whose obituaries have sometimes been drafted prematurely by too-keen critics. But, although Hasler’s explosive sacking at the end of last year has provided fresh grist for the mill, in the inner sanctum, those ructions merely present another opportunity to wrong-foot the critics and pop the champagne afresh on the last weekend in September.

Des Hasler: gone, but not forgotten and (above) Manly want back-to-back titles in 2012

Brent Kite is ready to rumble in 2012

ONE EYE ON THE DOGS KITE READY TO FLY Injury meant Brent Kite missed out on Manly’s trip to the northern hemisphere in 2009 but he reckons he knows what to expect from the UK winter nonetheless. “I come from Canberra so I’m sort of used to the cold,” he says. “But I think this could be a whole new kettle of fish. This wet summer has been good, too – lots of heavy tracks and slippery balls.” Beyond the World Club Challenge, Kite admits to having had a sneaky look at the fixture to see when the Sea Eagles will come up against the Bulldogs, Hasler’s new club. “We can’t get caught up with it too much – just another game and all that jazz,” he insists, before conceding there may be a touch more spice in the round eight clash. “The senior players, the guys still here, we want to show that we’re a big part of the success we’ve had in recent years. So maybe there is a bit extra.”

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

HOOKED ON YOU A devotee pulls his procession burden, which has been hooked into the flesh of his back, during the Thaipusam festival in Singapore. Devotees pierce parts of their body – including cheeks, tongues, and backs – before carrying a ‘Kavadi’ (a physical burden) along a 4km route. It is said that the devotees feel no pain, as they are deep within a spiritual trance.

Photos: Graeme Green, Miguel A.garcia, Thinkstock, Getty

INSIDE

DIRTY WEEKEND /60

TREASURE ISLAND /68

ANOTHER WORLD /74

This Valentine’s Day, what if, instead of dinner and a movie, you went wild camping on your date? We find out.

Forget pissheads on the pull. Extreme cycling and coasteering are just a few of the adventures to be had in Majorca’s mountains.

Deep within the Catamarca province, Argentina hides a vast desert that rivals Uyuni and Atacama for breathtaking beauty. TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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TRAVELDIARY Laura Chubb

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Low-key fun times at the Rio Carnival

ACTING TRAVEL EDITOR

SEX WITH STRANGERS One in 10 travellers aged 18-25 have lost their virginity to a stranger on holiday, according to a new survey.

RIO CARNIVAL Rio de Janeiro, Brazil The world’s biggest – and craziest – street party will involve about two million revellers swarming Rio’s streets on each day of the shindig, 17-21 doing the samba and sinking caipirinhas as though their lives depended on it. It ain’t called a ‘carnival’ for nothing, you know. For the ultimate guide to doing it right, see our ‘Big Trip’ section at tntmagazine.com/travel. FEB

WHY: The wild celebrations are largely understood to be one hell of a final hurrah before the restrictions of Lent kick in on Ash Wednesday, the first day after Carnival. Thus we have this orgy of bad behaviour, celebrating the pleasures of the flesh, gyrating hips and cocktails.

LAOS ELEPHANT FESTIVAL

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rio-carnival.net

GOA CARNIVAL

Goa, India

Sayaboury, Laos

Celebrations for this lively event – the last big festivity 18-21 in India before Lent – date back about 500 years to when the Portuguese imperialists ruled Goa. The state’s floats, dancers and performers give Rio a run for its money. FEB

It seems only fitting that a celebration of these gentle 17-19 giants takes place in Laos, the “land of a million elephants.” About 50 elephants will parade through the Paklay district in colourful ensembles, competing for the coveted “elephant of the year” title. The event includes elephant baths and rides, and a monk’s blessing. FEB

laoelephantfestival.com

ALASKA ICE CLIMBING FESTIVAL Alaska, US FEB

16-18

At the other end of the temperature gauge, enjoy some chilly extreme sports.

akicefest.com

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DO IT BECAUSE: You’ll never attend a more outrageous, city-wide party. Feathers, glitter and acres of bare, tanned skin fill Rio to the sound of the samba, and participation is not an option – it’s a given. There are free, allnight raves everywhere, too.

carnivalgoa.com

FESTIVAL DE VOYAGUER Winnipeg, Canada

Honours Canada’s roots in fur trading and French 17-26 traditions with 10 days of events, including a beard-growing contest, live music and an outdoor gallery of snow sculptures. Promises much joie de vivre. FEB

festivalvoyageur.mb.ca

Photos: Getty

Last week, I mused on whether whisking a new love away for Valentine’s was a good idea, in light of the ‘warts ‘n’ all’ that travelling tends to bring out. But when it comes to hooking up with randoms on holiday, we’re obviously well up for it. And then some. Putting the cherry-popping to one side, half of the 2000 people questioned by sunshine.co.uk said they had enjoyed a holiday romance at some point. It seems something about being abroad brings on the horn – consequences be damned. Ah, consequences – what a boring concept to propose while we’re gearing up for some no-strings sex with a tanned stranger. But consider this: of those that threw caution to the wind and lost it on holiday, twothirds said they regretted it, and a whopping 98 per cent never saw the deflowerer again after going home. The repercussions of risky sex while away are perhaps best illustrated by a story a friend of mine brought back from a typical 18-30s style hedonistic holiday in Faliraki, Greece. The swimming pool in her resort had been cordoned off because swimmers were catching chlamydia from the water. Say it with me: eeuuuww. It’s true that travelling makes us less cautious. On holiday, we really let ourselves go, and the casting off of our inhibitions can be thrillingly liberating. Hooking up is all part of the fun if you’re single and abroad. I’m just saying stay safe, and don’t take big gambles. Now, who needs some suggestions for places to pull? See P64. And there’s a serious challenge to my ‘never holiday with a new love’ theory on P60.


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HEARTBREAK HOTEL Couples going through a divorce could still steal away together for Valentine’s Day, thanks to a new Dutch ‘divorce hotel’ concept. The operation offers quickie divorces that can be agreed over just two days, with negotiations taking place in high-end hotels across the Netherlands, where the couple can stay while a deal is fleshed out. The pair can sleep in separate rooms or even share one if a farewell poke is on the cards. Sales manager Ninke Bons gave Sky News an example of how hotel services varied from the norm: “We would normally enquire if a guest enjoyed their stay at the hotel. Well, obviously, that’s not very appropriate in the case of the Divorce Hotel.”

PACK IT IN If you’ve ever argued with your significant other about packing for a holiday, new research from review and advice service Silver Travel Advisor might help subdue the rows. Among the items women would rather men didn’t pack, leather sandals with socks, beanie hats and anything made from corduroy were high on the do-notbring list. For men, their missus packing more than three pairs of shoes and embarrassing headwear meant their fun in the sun was as good as ruined. So there you have it: men and women will never agree on millinery.

SNOW JOKE Heathrow airport will always struggle in snow because it is constantly operating at near-full capacity, operator BAA has admitted. After London’s recent cold snap caused more cancellations, a spokesman said: “Given that we are running at more than 99 per cent capacity, it is the only way to get slack in the system.” And if you do turn up for your flight, you’re only causing more trouble. “We had significant problems ... because people were turning up for flights that then didn’t run,” David Cameron’s spokesman revealed, in the airport’s defence.

PAY UP, FATTY A ruling by the Court of Appeal may have opened up the possibility for airlines to impose a ‘fat tax’ on portly passengers. Judges decided that key elements of Britain’s disability and discrimination laws do not apply once passengers have boarded an aircraft. Leading barrister Daniel Barnett told the Telegraph that “the ruling confirms that disabled passengers have no right to dignity once the wheels leave the runway. It also means that airlines are immune if they choose to embarrass overweight passengers by demanding a fat tax”.

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Majestic scenery: the wild beauty of Blair Atholl

EAT, DRINK, SLEEP

Blair Atholl SCOTLAND

Blair Atholl

SCOTLAND Glasgow

Feast on haggis and venison by a roaring fireplace at the Atholl Arms Hotel. Mains start from £12.50. (athollarms.co.uk)

EDINBURGH

Happy campers

GETTING THERE By car, from Glasgow and the south, take the M80 north to Stirling. From there, the A9 will take you into Blair Atholl. By train, all major Scottish towns and cities connect to Blair Atholl; from Edinburgh, one-way tickets start from about £10.80. (scotrail.co.uk)

Enjoy a majestic setting in a sumptuous ballroom that doubles as a vaulted chamber at Blair Castle. This fully restored building represents upper-class Highlands life in the 16th century. Entrance costs from £5.25. (blair-castle.co.uk) Buy a bottle of whisky at a discounted price after a tour of Bell’s Blair Atholl Distillery; from £5 for a tour. (discovering-distilleries.com) Moulin Hotel is a romantic setting, all low ceilings and aging wood. Drinks start from £3.40 for a pint of lager. (moulinhotel.co.uk)

Bell’s whisky distillery

Bright-white Blair Castle 62

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Ptarmigan House is a former shooting lodge in a quiet spot overlooking the hills. From £32.50-45pppn, including a full Scottish breakfast. (ptarmiganhouse.co.uk) A small, friendly hotel with elegant interiors, Killiecrankie House is located at the gateway to the Highlands. Bed and breakfast from £90pppn. (killiecrankiehotel.co.uk) Words: Phil Corrigan


UKTRIP

Dirty weekend This Valentine’s Day, what if, instead of dinner and a movie, you went wild camping with your date?

Photos: Erica Crompton, John Paul, Thinkstock

WORDS ERICA CROMPTON

An adventurous streak is something I love in a man. So when Phil, a reporter I’ve been on three (fairly successful) dates with, suggests a weekend wild camping in the Highlands, my blood pumps a little faster. “You’re on!” I blurt. And so our fourth date is spent getting to know each other intimately against the backdrop of Blair Atholl, a tiny town nestled at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountains, Perthshire, which we plan to explore together. Beats banal pleasantries at the local Pizza Express. We spend our first night at the Ptarmigan House bed and breakfast. Phil has booked this off his own bat – but we’ve agreed on a double bed. No doubt, this’ll speed up the ‘getting to know each other’ bit. Once unpacked, we head for dinner at the Atholl Arms Hotel. We’re getting on well – mutually excited about the adventure ahead, and musing on keeping each other warm in the tent (it’s currently only two degrees in the evening). After a haggis and venison feast, we head back to our room, where we’re up all night (chatting about the trip, of course). Phil tells me that in Scotland, the right to wild camp is established in law, along with the right of open access. However, he adds, we should keep away from dwellings and roads; take all litter back with us; and if we need to relieve ourselves, dig a hole and fill it in afterwards. Then he shows me the trowel he’s brought along. “I think I’m in love with you!” I gasp sarcastically. Camping in the wild can be so unromantic. The following morning and it’s still going well. But while temperatures soared last night, thanks to Phil’s filthy talk of trowels, the weather for our camping is still a cool three degrees. As we venture outside, hoods up ready for adventure, we hold hands. “You’re so cold!” I say, as his icy extremity grips mine. “Cold hands, warm heart,” Phil retorts. Smooth. And with that, we’re off. It’s 8am, and we want to make the most of the daylight hours. The plan is to walk as far as we can up Glen Tilt, following the River Tilt, until it starts to get dark, and then we’ll set up our tent. I’m impressed by how organised Phil is. He’s got all the right equipment, maps, and a plan about where we’re going. I’ve done very little in organising anything. I guess in dating

terms it’s the equivalent of a man holding the door open for a lady. Yup. Still smooth. The scenery is gorgeous, majestic. And it’s just the two of us here to enjoy it. But, by 2pm, we find ourselves stuck. The path we’re following has ground to a halt. Phil then wants to climb the mountainside, but I’m too scared. I feel like a bit of a killjoy and a slight strain is put on our date as we spend the next hour ignoring each other. But, by 4pm, we’ve found our way again and, although slightly set back, Phil says: “I guess these things all add to the adventure.” I’m relieved by his easygoing attitude and

This’ll speed up the ‘getting to know you’

put my arm around him to express thanks. And we plough ahead, literally and metaphorically back on track. The sun is starting to set at about 4.30pm and we decide to set up the tent in a small forest that we’ve come to just by the river. The wind is howling and we can hear cries from nearby deer – it’s all a bit spooky. But the stars are starting to come out as we put the finishing touches to our humble abode. It’s 7pm and we’ve had something to eat – a self-heating meatball, no less. You can buy meals like this in most good outdoor shops; simply add water to the bag of food and ingeniously, it starts to boil until it’s piping hot (handy for cold nights camping). As we sit under the stars and snow-capped mountains, the sound of a lively river providing our very own private concerto, Phil makes a promise: “I’ll keep you warm tonight ...” I’m smitten. He keeps to his word. Afterwards, we feel the weekend wild camping helped us to bond more than a traditional date. NEXT WEEK A few weeks on and our relationship is ‘official’. Like Best St Paddy’s Day parties I say, I do love a man with a sense of adventure. ❚ TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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RUTH ROXANNE BOARD

HOTSHOTS WINNER

Talks travel photography

STREET SWEEPING Liam Wells, Brisbane, Australia

WINNER

WHY IT WORKS The girl, who is full of vigour and energy, appears in contrast to the decay of her surroundings. Your eye is drawn to the graffiti above her head, another sign of the disorder just beyond the front door. The colour of the wall matches the girl’s shorts, linking the two subjects. No matter how hard she sweeps, this place will probably never look clean.

RUNNER-UP SQUIRREL MONKEY AT LONDON ZOO Kerry Lee, Durban, South Africa

WHY IT WORKS The photographer has caught the monkey during a candid moment. His expression, caught as he spots something in the distance, is one of surprise and disbelief; maybe he’s shocked to see so many people watching him chow down. The shallow depth of field makes the monkey appear to ‘pop out’, focusing all the attention on him.

RUNNER-UP

HOT TIPS: Kids and animals Never work with children and animals, or so the saying goes. However, I wouldn’t ignore these two groups as they can provide a photographer with a compelling and vivacious subject. They also offer an opportunity to capture their personality without the barrier of self-consciousness. Choose the right moment to press the shutter and you can shoot a picture that is

unguarded and touching. Patience, though, is the main requirement. Practice on something else to get your camera settings right before trying to get the shot you want. Remember, it’s always best to ask a child’s parent or guardian if you can take their picture. Also, remain alert when shooting animals from close range, especially if they are a camel saliva factory or a snap-happy crocodile.

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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BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

Catch up on your zzzs

ROOMZZZ APARTHOTEL OVERVIEW A modern hotel, decorated with a nod to the Orient (it’s right next to Manchester’s Chinatown, after all). The Aparthotel concept means each room is self-contained, with its own kitchen-diner (especially good if you’re on a budget), sofa, and the usual ensuite. The free breakfast is ‘grab-and-go’, so you can pick up fruit, pastries and juices to take back to your room, or to eat on the way out. WOW FACTOR A two-metre-wide double shower makes your morning hotel experience a decadent one. Plus, instead of a TV, you get a Mac connected to the internet, so you can check emails, listen to music or stream TV. YouTube clips have never been so addictive. ROOMS Clean, new and selfcontained: essentially, a really nice version of your flat. BILL PLEASE Doubles from £70 per night.

36 Princess Street, Manchester M1 4JY roomzzz.co.uk Trains from London Euston to Manchester (2hrs, 10mins) cost from £11.50 each way. (virgintrains.co.uk)

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Jordan’s ex, Leandro Penna, is a textbook case of Argentine hotness It’s Valentine’s Day this week, so if you’re single, life sucks more than usual. Being left alone to contemplate exactly which physical mutation or personality deficiency has kept the suitors away in droves (as all your loved-up mates get drunk and get it on), does not a happy February 14 make. Well, bollocks to that, misery guts! We reckon you’d be far better off ditching the ‘woe is me’ routine and embracing the wonders of singledom – namely, that you’re well within your rights to go out and snog the face off any handsome stranger you like. (Though, you should probably seek their consent first.) And with that, we present the cities with the best-looking locals. These provide holidays fit only for singletons, who can take full advantage of what’s on view – far better than an expensive dinner and a routine shag, wethinks. Buenos Aires has to come out on top (you should be so lucky, *wink wink*), where the locals – or Portenos – seldom fail to set the pulse racing. A sizzling mix of Spanish and Italian

genes has produced a super-race of Mediterranean-style lovelies, all working their dusky broodiness to maximum effect. The Argentine capital is also the best place to meet raunchy residents out for a good time, such is the scale of the party scene. BA’s clubs don’t get going until after 1am, and the dancing and drinking continues past dawn. Grab some mates (the uglier the better if you’re going to clean up) and embark on a club crawl – you’re unlikely to come home empty-handed. Jet (on Av Costanera Rafael Obligado) and Pacha (pachabuenosaires.com) are the big superclubs, and don’t close until 9am, so prepare yourself for a long night. Sensuality is sewn into the very fabric of Argentine life: think the storm-and-smoulder of the Tango; full-bodied red wines; and melt-in-themouth, perfectly pink slabs of meat. And make sure you bring the passion when poised to pull a local – modesty won’t get you anywhere. bue.gov.ar


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LOS ANGELES, US

You could argue that it’s against the rules if the good looks are surgically enhanced, but the fact is LA is home to more hotties than most. Los Angeles’ iconic ‘Hollywood’ sign is a homing beacon for the genetically blessed; from all corners of the globe, they converge on the City of Angels, dreaming of stardom. Lucky for you, most end up as waiters, so you can take advantage of their battered egos and bag yourself a real beauty. discoverlosangeles.com

Photos: Getty; Thinkstock

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SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO

Voted the most attractive by Travel & Leisure readers, the locals of San Juan were rated top for their friendliness, as well as their looks, which might just give you a better chance of scoring. Or, at the very least, an opening. Think sexy Latino girls shaking their bon-bons (J-Lo’s parents are both Puerto Rican) and buff dudes with plenty of god-given rhythm, all posing, pouting and gyrating on the capital city’s formidably sexy nightlife scene. Tip: you’re going to want to dress up. topuertorico.org

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TOP FIVE

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

You know how everyone makes jokes about Swedes and porn? That’s cos they wish they could watch Swedes in porn. It only takes a five-minute stroll through Stockholm to realise Sweden is guilty of some sort of genetic-engineering – one that produces Aryan, model-grade stunners. No wonder you feel like you’ve seen a lot of Swedes naked. It’s just that, unfortunately, it was all in your head. visitstockholm.com/en

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DUBAI, UAE

Controversial, yes, but not only are the Arab playboys of Dubai fabulously good-looking – think long eyelashes and smouldering dark eyes – but the vast majority are filthy rich, too. The rules around modesty go out the window the moment you enter a nightclub, but, whatever you do, remember the legality of the dating game here – getting it on before marriage is illegal. Make sure the only sex on the beach you have is served in a glass ...

NEXT WEEK US national parks: Seize your chance to in touch with nature

dubaitourism.ae

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TRAVELTIPS

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READERS’ TIPS

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

had a tour booked to Syria, Jordan Q Iand Egypt starting mid-Feb. However, it’s been cancelled due to the civil unrest in Syria. Rather than waste the cost of my flights (and time off work), I’ve decided to go it alone and head to Jordan, Israel and Egypt instead. Do you have any tips and must sees for Israel, besides Jerusalem and Tel Aviv? Nicolette, via email on you – people are too quick to A Good assume that just because there is unrest in one part of the Middle East, this applies to the whole region. You can still have a great trip to this part of the world. The desert region in the south of Israel is blessed with an incredible landscape of desert, wadis and canyons, sprinkled with Bedouin culture and archaeological sites. A must-visit is Avdat, a beautifully preserved ancient city from the Nabataean people. Next, head to Makhtesh Ramon, a huge crater-type formation. The lookout over this vast landscape will take your breath away. There are some great hikes in this region, too. Finish up at Eilat, on the Red Sea, for some rest and relaxation. Eilat is Israel’s playground – the lively resort is packed with hotels and leisure activities, including a marine park and the King’s City theme park. At the time of writing, Egypt had no travel restrictions, but the political situation should be monitored. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is a great resource for up-to-date advice on where it’s safe to travel (fco.gov.uk). 68

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brother and his girlfriend have Q My five weeks to tour Europe for the first time next winter. Already planned is Christmas in the Alps and the standard UK/ London stuff. Given the time of year, what recommendations do you have regarding itinerary, events, activities, tours, etc? James, via email are some parts of Europe that are A There fantastic to experience in the winter months, as long as they don’t mind the cold! If they are keen to experience snowy conditions, then Scandinavia is one of the best places. Ålesund on the west coast of Norway is a less touristy option than popular Bergen, but is equally picturesque, nestled between the coast and the mountains. Nearby, you can visit Norway’s most famous and photographed fjord, the Geirangerfjord. This is also a good time to try and spot the Northern Lights. They could also opt for a rail tour of Christmassy Europe. A potential route would be to hop on the Eurostar after their jaunt in the UK and head to Paris. Next, they could utilise Europe’s fabulous network of trains and head to one of central Europe’s Christmas markets. Frankfurt, Munich and Strasbourg are among the best. Expect quaint wooden stalls selling everything from mulled wine, to decorations and mince pies. It’s just over a two-hour train ride to Strasbourg from Paris, and then onwards only four and half hours to Geneva by train. Then, finish up with Christmas in the Alps.

DON’T BE WET TIP My micro quick-drying OF THE towel is an essential travel WEEK item. Nothing worse than the weight of a normal towel in your backpack, especially when it’s still wet or damp. Portia Sandford, via Facebook

NIGHT BUS ESSENTIAL Take a sleeping bag liner with you when riding on overnight buses in South America. It can get really cold and unless you’re travelling with one of the more luxury companies, you won’t get a blanket. A liner isn’t as bulky as a sleeping bag, but climb inside it and it’ll keep you warm. Try getting your bag in there with you, too – so it won’t get nicked! Lauren, via Twitter

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BEST / WORST TRIP

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HEATHER RISKE, 20

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BEST During high school, I went to Spain, France and Italy. We took a bus through southern France and it was the most scenic drive – a great way to explore rural and coastal towns after the busy cities of Paris and Rome.

Most memorable travel experience? We were flying back home from Portugal and there was a bomb scare on the plane, so it was delayed for hours. When we finally landed, our car broke down on the drive back from the airport. We didn’t get home until about 6am. It was certainly a memorable travel experience, but not in a good way. Top travel tip? Plan in advance, even if you don’t think you need to. You’ll avoid unpleasant surprises.

WORST We went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, when I was a kid, and on our last day, my dad lost his keys to the hotel room and the safe. The last moments of our vacation were watching a guy cut through the safe with a blowtorch. » Tell us your best/worst trips, email laura.chubb@tntmagazine.com

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My most challenging travel experience was taking a bus down from Dharamsala in northern India. We were leaving the residence of the Dalai Lama and decided to travel by night to save time and money. But the road was very, very bendy, kids kept crying, and people actually felt unwell. I don’t want do that again! My favourite place in the world is Malaysia – the Perhentian Islands and Borneo. Great food, friendly people and the very best beaches. The next trip on my travel wishlist is ... well, my wishlist is long. St Petersburg, the Northern Lights, Petra, South America and China to start with. My next trip is actually already planned and I’m really excited – I’m heading to Tanzania and Zanzibar. I always pack a pocket knife, loo roll, padlock and head torch. You never know when you’ll need them. TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Leap of faith: take the plunge at Cap de Formentor

Majorca EUROPE

The coasteering is clear

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MAJORCA

Take your pick of top dive spots GETTING GETTING THERE THERE Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Flights from London Stansted to Majorca start at about ÂŁ105 return with Ryanair. (ryanair.com)

Get adventurous on an ATV 70

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Snaking: gruelling twists on the Sa Colobra


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Treasure island Forget pissheads on the pull. Extreme cycling and quad biking are just a few of the adventures to be had in Majorca’s mountains WORDS AISLEEN MARLEY

Sun, sea, sand and sex – that’s what Majorca is all about, right? Wrong. Majorca (or Mallorca) might suffer from a reputation as a cheap-and-cheerful holiday destination for debaucherous tourists to get tanked and head down the beach to frolic with newfound ‘friends’. But venture behind this facade and you’ll soon learn there’s more to this gem of an island than meets the eye.

Extreme cycling on the Sa Colobra Tell me more: For extreme road cyclists with a need for speed, the Puerto Sóller to Sa Colobra route, one of the most jaw-dropping mountain roads on the island, simply can’t be beaten. The gruelling twists and turns of La Sierra de Tramuntana mountain range have long been favoured by the likes of Lance Armstrong and his mates, who can be spotted all year round, training for the Tour de France. But who’s to say that ‘normal’ folk, like us, can’t follow in their tracks? However, a word of advice for those itching to pull on the spandex: no matter how awesome the scenery becomes, just don’t look down. Tell me how: There’s no shortage of rental companies scattered across the island. Try Puerto Pollensa’s Pro Cycle Hire, which will deliver your bike to your hotel for free. (procyclehire.com)

off the beaten track, either on your own or as part of an organised tour. Both have their advantages, but a local guide will be able to point you and your mates in the direction of the island’s little-known nooks and crannies. Tell me how: Xplore Mallorca is one of the most established operators on the island and offers a range of quad-bike tours for between €42-64 (£35-53), depending on the size of your group. Check out xploremallorca.com for more details. Or, if you fancy hiring an ATV and setting off on your own adventure, most scooter and car rental companies in the main resorts also hire them out.

Adventure diving in the deep blue sea Tell me more: The seas surrounding Majorca are renowned for their clarity, making them the ideal location for adventure diving. Take your pick from the Malgrats, an underwater nature reserve off the coast of Santa Ponsa; El Sech, which is home to not one, but two shipwrecks; or, for the more adventurous, head down to the Cave of the ››

Cliff Jumping at Cap de Formentor Peninsula Tell me more: In the immortal words of one crazy Spaniard we know: “There is no better fun than jumping from a cliff!” Why not take the plunge and see if he’s right? Cala San Vincente, close to Pollensa on the north coast, boasts some magnificent cliffs, where you can leap with the locals into the clear waters of the striking Cap de Formentor Peninsula. But as it’s 350m high, you won’t want to jump from the top. Tell me how: The best things in life are always free and cliff jumping in Majorca is no exception. From Pollensa, head up to Cala San Vincente via the MA-200 highway, taking a left on to MA-2203 towards the coast. The Cap is well signposted once you reach town. Then, just listen out for the screams …

Quad biking mountain trails Tell me more: The Tramuntana’s trails and dirt tracks are an awesome way to explore the island by quad-bike or ATV (All Terrain Vehicles). Discover the ‘real’ Majorca by getting

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Madonna – a huge cavern in which a lifesize statue of the Madonna was placed at the request of a local fisherman, as a “thanks” to the ocean for keeping him safe. Tell me how: Try Big Blue Diving in Palma Nova; prices start from about €33 (£27) for one dive. (bigbluediving.net)

...and Relax

Coasteering Tell me more: Guaranteed to get your pulse racing as you abseil down huge waterfalls, swim through caves and scramble along rocky boulders, coasteering in Majorca is a truly unforgettable experience. Combining adventure swimming with rock climbing, caving and abseiling, it’s not exactly for the faint-hearted, but the varied landscape means you’re sure to find a suitable location. Tell me how: The rugged and wild nature of coasteering means that it’s possible to do it all year round. Operators usually provide all the necessary protective kit, wetsuits, buoyancy aids and transportation, but you’ll need your own sturdy pair of shoes. Prices average about €50-55 (£41-45), depending on the season. Experience Mallorca are old pros at this sort of thing. (visitexperience-mallorca.com) ❚

and RELAX

Plaça de Son Ramis, No 5 07430 Llubí, Mallorca Tel: 608 90 41 62 info@hoteldelavila.com

www. hoteldelavila.com

NEXT WEEK We meet ‘Canyoning Bob’ in Slovenia and go exploring the Julian Alps

MIDRANGE

LUXURY

EAT

Eating on a budget in Majorca can be done anywhere. The trick is to stumble into any local café, restaurant or wooden shack you find while roaming the island. Ask for the Menu del Dia and a cold glass of Mahou (beer) – it’s highly likely you’ll get change from a tenner.

Diablito serves up stylish, funky and contemporary food and music by the marina. There are a few Diablitos on the island, but this one is by far the best. Overlooking hundreds of superyachts glistening under the sun, you can choose from a mixture of Mexican, American and Italian food. Prices average about £8-10 for a main meal. (diablito.es)

‘A city centre oasis in the middle of Palma’ is how Simply Fosh describes itself. Elegant, fashionable and stylish – yet friendly – it boasts some of the most sought-after tables in Palma. For an unbeatable experience, let the waiters choose your wines; they really know their stuff. Main meals range from £15-25. (simplyfosh.com)

DRINK

It would be remiss not to mention Magaluf in relation to cheap drinks. If you’ve had a hard day kayaking and canyoning, relax those muscles at one of the many bars and pubs that line the legendary Magaluf Strip, at Punta Ballena. The Three Lions and The Office are two good choices, with beers and cocktails costing anything between 80p and £3.50.

For a chilled-out taste of home, visit the small-but-hip Escape Bar for reasonably priced drinks. Close to the main marina, you’re likely to bump into yachties hailing from Australia, New Zealand or Scandinavia and can swap your tales of travel while sipping a bevvie or two. (Plaza Drassana 13, Palma Old Town, 07012)

Mood Beach Bar is an incredibly hip cocktail lounge overlooking the clear waters of Costa D’en Blanes in the south-west of the island. Think sun-loungers, celebs and the mellow beats of Mediterranean DJs as the sun goes down. It’s on the pricey side at £12.50+ for a cocktail, but worth it. (moodbeach.com)

SLEEP

Hostal Atlanta is a cheap and cheerful family-run hostel in the heart of El Arenal, a few minutes walk from the huge Playa de Palma beach. Communal dorms and family rooms for three, four or five people from £12.50pppn (low season) to £19pppn (high season). (hostal-atlanta.eu)

Located within the S’Albufera Natural Park, the Hi Panoramic is a spacious, functional hotel and restaurant with the requisite outdoor pool, wifi and bar. Ideally located for outdoor adventures on the north coast of the island, it won’t break the bank at about £37pn in the high season. (hotel-panoramic-mallorca.com)

On Majorca’s unspoiled, rugged north-west coast, La Residencia Hotel & Spa is a paradise hideaway for those seeking a unique, inspiring experience after a hard day’s exploration. Sit overlooking the mountains and the sea, sipping a cocktail or two, but expect to pay about £250-330pn for this ‘heaven on earth’. (hotel-laresidencia.com)

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Photos: WaywardCyclist/ Creative Commons, Thinkstock

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TRAVELWEEKENDER

Northern Nights This is Manchester in 48 hours WORDS CLARE VOOGHT

DAY 1: 09:00 Start off with a trip to the ultra-impressive Manchester Cathedral (manchestercathedral.org). Dating back to the first century, it survived the English Civil War, WW2 bombers and an IRA attack in the Nineties. 10:30 Get acquainted with the city, affectionately named (by southerners) as ‘The London of the North’, on foot. Spots to look out for are: The John Rylands Library (library.manchester.ac.uk), for its stunning architecture; and The Abraham Lincoln Statue, built to show Manchester’s support of his campaign against slavery. Finish up in the amphitheatre-style Exchange Square. 13:00 Get lunch at NYC-style speakeasy bar Black Dog Ballroom (blackdogballroom.co.uk). What Manchester doesn’t have in common with London is that it’s cheap. Expect to pay a reasonable £6.50 for a gut-busting 12” pizza and £5.95 for a gourmet burger. 15:00 Hit the Northern Quarter – which is a lot like Shoreditch – for cheap vintage from stores like Retro Rehab, Pop and Oklahoma. Try Afflecks for kitschy gifts. 19:30 For food, Australasia (australasia.uk.com) will give you a good taste of home. Gourmet Australian and Southeast Asian cuisine is served in off-white urban surroundings. Mains cost about £15 and the passionfruit marshmallow dessert with roast pineapple parcels and sorbet, £7, is a treat. 22:00 To find some of the best drinks in Manchester, watch the bar staff at The Alchemist (thealchemist.uk.com) expertly mix you an artisan cocktail in what’s decked out to look like an old apothecary. Opt for a Hansel And Gretel (vanilla vodka, Baileys and gingerbread syrup), or a Mexican 74

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Elbow (tequila, agave syrup, lime, Beck’s and ginger beer). If you’re visiting the city between late September and early January, make sure you get to the legendary Warehouse Project (thewarehouseproject.com) for a beat-fuelled night. Previous acts include M.I.A., Calvin Harris, Aphex Twin and James Blake. If you’re in town any other time of the year, continue the night in the Northern Quarter, where you’ll find Noho (noho-bar.com) among the area’s plethora of bars. There you’ll find cheap drinks and indie DJs. 01:00 Go to Roomzzz Aparthotel (roomzzz.co.uk) to lay your head – the new-fangled hotel lets you sleep in what is essentially just like your own flat, but better. Check out our review on p65. DAY 2: 11:00 Once you’ve cooked yourself a hearty full English brunch in your aparthotel room, ease yourself into the day with a visit to Generation Pop Art Gallery (generationpop.co.uk). Film and animated artwork from the major Hollywood studios is on display, covering films including Star Wars. There’s also a collection on Muhammad Ali, to celebrate his 70th birthday this year, and iconic sketches and covers from Marvel and DC Comics. 13:00 One of Manchester’s biggest boasts is its music heritage; the city spawned The Smiths, Joy Division, The Stone Roses, The Ting Tings, Oasis, The Chemical Brothers, Mr Scruff, Badly Drawn Boy and a truckload more huge names. You wouldn’t be seeing Manchester properly unless you did something music-related. Ever wondered what Inspiral Carpets are doing now? In between gigs, drummer Craig Gill is running Manchester Music Tours


Photos: Budweiser 66 Official Photographer, Guy Farrow, Marketing Manchester

Little India: hit Curry Mile for a spicy treat

(manchestermusictours.com), giving muso-geeks a first-hand lesson on the city’s musical roots, stopping at legendary venue The Haçienda, Smiths hangout Salford Lads Club, and the Lesser Free Trade Hall, where the fledgling Sex Pistols notoriously played in 1976 to future members of at least four big Manchester bands. Tours start at £10pp. 18:30 Head to Rusholme in the south of the city for the famed Curry Mile, part of the Wilmslow Road. It’s bigger, brighter and much more colourful than Brick Lane on a Saturday night, and you’ll find plenty of cheap curryhouses. Mughli and Spicy Hut are popular. 20:30 Get back into town for a farewell night out. Next to the BBC building on Oxford Road is The Lass O’Gowrie (thelass.co.uk), which stands in what used to be the working-class Little Ireland area. It’s an unpretentious, old Irish pub with brick walls and a serious choice of ales. 23:00 Continue the music theme, and hit The Factory (factorymanchester.com), the old offices of former independent label Factory Records, which signed Joy Division, Happy Mondays and James. (Steve Coogan played founder Tony Wilson in the film 24 Hour Party People). There’s usually live music and ridiculously cheap drinks (£1.50 Carlsberg and £1 shots). Virgin Trains travel from London Euston to Manchester in about 2hrs 10mins. Advance tickets cost from £11.50 each way virgintrains.co.uk Also see visitmanchester.com

Awesome: the Gothic cathedral

Great views: explore Exchange Square TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Puna Desert ARGENTINA

Salta

BUENOS AIRES

ARGENTINA

GETTING THERE British Airways offers daily connections from Heathrow to Buenos Aires from about £875 return, including taxes/ fees/ charges (ba.com). Andes runs return flights from Buenos Aires to Salta from £318 return. (andesonline.com)

The sculpted dunes of the Puna desert 76

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BIGTRIP

Journey into another world Deep within the north-west Catamarca province, Argentina hides a vast desert that rivals Uyuni and Atacama for breathtaking beauty WORDS GRAEME GREEN

A little improvisation is in order. The white WHEN TO GO: North-west manners to be closed, so we head back dune we’ve arrived at, deep in the remote Argentina is best visited in Aprilinto town, the skies clearing as we arrive Puna Desert in the Catamarca province, is so September, when the weather is at Bodega Nanny. immense, steep and smooth, it’s calling out mostly dry and warm. “The important difference between Salta to be boarded. But we didn’t come prepared and Mendoza [Argentina’s most famous wine CURRENCY: £1 = ARS 6.84 for this. I suggest the idea to Fabrizio, my region] is the altitude,” says Maria de Lourdes, (Argentine pesos) guide; all we need is something flat. We who shows me around. “Cafayate has the ACCOMMODATION: rummage in the back of the 4WD and find world’s highest commercial vineyards.” A night at Hosteria Altura El a few cardboard boxes, then break them Grapes here are grown at altitudes of Penon (hosteriaelpenon.com, down. They might work. about 1700-2000m, and a big temperature costs £58. Graeme also stayed We’re at 3100m altitude, so it’s a demanding at Finca Valentina near Salta; see shift between the hot days and cold nights, trudge to the top of the dune, scrambling up finca-valentina.com.ar for rates and helps produce a small, sweet fruit. a trail of loose rocks, then stepping on to the Cafayate is also a comparatively small availabilty. Backpacker’s Salta pristine sand. “It’s like a roof on the desert,” producer. “Less than one per cent of national has dorm beds from £11.50pn. says Fabrizio, as we look out over a vast wine production comes from Salta. Mendoza (backpackerssalta.com.ar) landscape of smooth, wind-sculpted dunes. produces about 80 per cent. This is boutique SEE: turismosalta.gov.ar Then, we arrange our ‘boards’ on the tip of production,” Maria says. the ridge and prepare to launch. I sample two very tasty Torrontés, a Rosé This giant adventure playground in northern Argentina and a punchy Tannat, before riding out into the countryside is an area that makes it on to travellers’ itineraries far less to explore Vasija Secreta, the oldest vineyard in the Calchaqui than Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and other hotspots. With cacti, Valley. Here, I work my way through another couple of llamas and a predominantly Andean culture, the region has Torrontés, a Cab Sauv and a Malbec. more in common with southern Bolivia and Peru, than EuroShort of having sex in a bath filled with chocolate, I can’t style Argentina. The scenery here rivals that of the far more think of two things that go so well together as cycling famous Atacama and Uyuni, but with a fraction of their through this beautiful countryside and the odd pit stop for visitors. No crowds. a fantastic glass of wine. The only way you could top it is I started my adventure from the northern city of Salta, to add cheese, so cycling back through town, Adrian buys catching a tourist bus south through the red-rock canyons of a large block of Queso de Cabra (salty goat’s cheese) and two Quebrada de las Conchas. The bus stops regularly to explore thick, charred tortillas hot off a roadside grill. We stop near rock formations, such as the Devil’s Throat – a sort of stone the plaza to watch the world go by in the popular tourist amphitheatre – and to take in views of massive boulders town. “This is the food of adventure,” Adrian says, grinning that look as if they’ve been spat out of the ground and have as we gorge on this simple-but-delicious fare, as the evening landed at strange angles. sky turns pink. Soon enough, I arrive in Cafayate, one of Argentina’s most Fabrizio, a local tour operator, picks me up the next famous wine towns, known for the fruity white Torrontés, morning and we make a full day’s drive out into the but also the reds Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat. countryside, turning off the famous Ruta 40 (at more than My guide, Adrian, meets me at my hotel and, having failed 5000km long, the Route 66 of Argentina) and climbing to wait out a huge storm, we set off on two mountainbikes steadily through cactus-covered gorges and small desert in rain, thunder and lightning. We’re quickly soaked, but it villages of adobe houses. feels good to ride out of the town, past fields of vines. We “It’s another world, another planet, another people, may have braved the storm, but the first bodega has the bad another landscape,” Fabrizio says as we drive, explaining ›› TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Central Salta by night

All aboard: the writer slides down the sand his love of the Puna. “Geologically, it’s a world apart. Every day, every two or three hours, there’s a new landscape.” And he’s right – within one afternoon, you can go from snowcovered mountains to flat desert, by way of rolling dunes and volcano cones. We stay at Fabrizio’s hotel, Hosteria de Altura El Penon. It’s not cheap – about £58pn – but comfortable and centrally located, allowing exploration of many of the Puna’s highlights. Our morning of ‘boarding’ turns out to be a disaster. The card is too flimsy, the sand too soft and deep. ‘Board’ and body quickly sink into the sand. Despite valiant efforts, both sitting (as though on a sledge) and standing, we’re going nowhere fast. Instead, we settle for a fun sprint – limbs flailing – down the steep slope. There’s a feeling of isolation and wilderness out here in the desert. “Always the Puna is like this,” Fabrizio says. “You might see a few miners, but that’s it.” We drive on, turning off the gravel road. “This is a nice part in the car,” says Fabrizio. “We go down this small canyon and it’s like flying over sand.” A 4WD is essential here, as is a knowledgeable driver, and it’s handy to go out in pairs – this isn’t a place you want to get stranded. Looking back in our mirrors, we see the car that we’d been touring with is stuck. It takes the best part of an hour to dig, push and tow it out of the sand. We drive to a 55km-long field of pumice stone, the highest concentration of pumice stone on Earth. The tops of the jagged volcanic rock formations are a reddish-orange where they’ve yet to be eroded, but the majority of the labyrinth of rock is dazzling white. “It’s like walking on a mirror, it’s so white,” Fabrizio says. I split off from the group to explore, occasionally checking 78

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Cafayete: boutique in with a shout that shoots across the silent landscape. I climb to the top of a sharp fin-shaped ridge and soak up the stillness – no voices, no wind – as I look up at clouds moving slowly across the blue sky, and the dark cone of Carachipampa volcano up ahead. “We were in the white, now we’re in the black,” announces Fabrizio, as we park at the base of Antofagasta volcano, surrounded by desert filled with black, fairly recent (hundreds, not thousands, of years old) lava rock. The path is

Red rock canyons in Quebrada de las Conchas


steep and consists of deep gravel that slips underfoot. A strong wind doesn’t help. But what makes the climb more of a challenge is the latitude; at more than 3500m, everything feels more strenuous. “The climb’s only 300m in elevation,” Fabrizio says, “but it feels like conquering a peak.” From the 3700m-high ridge, we can see Alumbrera volcano across the valley, and about 10 other volcano cones. “This area has one of the highest densities of volcanoes in the world,” Fabrizio tutors. “At the moment, they’re sleepy, but you never know … ” We hike around the ridge of Antofagasta, navigating a grey-black crater with iron-red patches. Back at the base, I empty sand from my boots for the seventh time today. The landscape and colours change again, as we approach the village of Antofagasta. There’s water here and plenty of greenery. White and brown llamas graze on long grass next to the river. The expanding village is made up of neat new adobe houses, small homes made from dark mud brick. There are homestays and a very basic hotel here for budget travellers. The local bar is closed, though, so we head to a shop where the owners open a few bottles for drinking at the counter.

Fabrizio Ghilardi

The labyrinth of rock here is dazzling white

We get up even higher (4700m) the next day, driving out into the wilderness, past basic lodges where hermit-like farmers live to protect their animals from pumas. Heavenly streaks of light break through the cloud onto vast plains, where we see graceful, golden deer-like vicunas and an ostrich-like bird called a nandu. “All the white spots you see down there are flamingos,” Fabrizio says, as Laguna Grande comes into view. The huge, still lake, flooded with soft silvery slight, perfectly reflects the sky and the mountains. There are up to 15,000 flamingos ›› here, though their reflections in the mirror-like water

The Insider's guide Fabrizio Ghilardi is the owner of Socompa Tours What’s Argentina’s best-kept secret? Argentina is famous for tango. The milongas are where the real tango lovers go to dance, where Argentinians go to dance. It can be a dancehall or something similar, but it’s better than a tango show. If you want to see real tango, you go to a milonga. It’s not professionals, just real Argentinians. What’s your top tip for anyone travelling to Argentina? Go hiking in Acsibi, close to Salta. It’s an incredibly easy hike in a secluded private canyon. It’s a natural wonder. And it’s only just opened to the public. Where’s good for chilling out? Jesuit Estancia Santa Catalina in Cordoba province. It’s a Jesuit estancia where you can sleep – a church and a farm built by Jesuits in 1767, about 250 years ago. It’s a quiet, relaxing and peaceful place, perfectly kept in the middle of nature just one hour away from Cordoba city. It’s like something out of The Mission movie. Where’s good for an adventure? El Chalten in south Patagonia. One of the best hiking areas is close to the Cerro Torres, one of the best mountains you can see on the planet, covered in glaciers. It’s fantastic. Where’s good to party? Palermo Soho, a neighbourhood in Buenos Aires. It’s full of high-end bars and restaurants, food and diversions, one of the top barrios for going out in the world. Better than Milan, I think, and level with London.

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makes it appear double that number. “This is one of the greatest days I’ve been here; with this light, this cloud, this snow … ” Fabrizio says excitedly, as we hike breathlessly up to a look-out point. It is a fantastic scene. Up ahead is the snowy ridge that marks the start of the Galan crater, 35km in diameter, one of the world’s biggest volcanic cauldrons. Slender vicunas stand on the water’s edge, and, behind them, thousands of bright pink flamingos stand, walk or fly over the water. “Sometimes when I see Laguna Grande, I have tears in my eyes,” Fabrizio says. “When something outside connects with something inside, it is a very particular emotion.” I know just how he feels. ❚ Graeme travelled with Puna specialists, Socompa. The outfit does a four-day Puna package from £420pp, including transport, meals and accommodation at Hosteria Altura El Penon. socompa.com

BEST OF THE REST MUST-SEE ARGENTINA

In the pink: flamingos at the Laguna Grande

Iguazzu Falls 1. BUENOS AIRES: The Argentine capital is modern, busy, huge and sprawling, with everything from world-class galleries and museums to shops, bars and clubs, not to mention a whole lot of tango. See: bue.gov.ar

3. CHUBUT: Not just the home of the Welsh communities who fled the UK and settled in Patagonia, but there are wide open spaces, small villages, rainforests, glaciers and deserts here that only a small number of travellers make it to. See: welshpatagonia.com

Salta is the jumping-off point to explore the Puna 4. USHUAIA: The ‘most southerly city in the world’ is a quiet, laidback town. Not a destination in it’s own right, but it’s the place to pick up a cheap late deal for a cruise around the seventh continent, Antarctica. See: oneoceanexpeditions.com

NEXT WEEK Egypt on edge: We find out what it’s really like now

5. IGUAZZU FALLS: The debate continues as to which is the better side to see these breathtaking falls from: Brazil or Argentina? You can always do both. See: tourismargentina.com

Salta’s cable car 80

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Photos: Graeme Green, Getty, Thinkstock

2. MENDOZA: Argentina’s largest producer of wine and home to the country’s national drink, Malbec. The city of Mendoza is pleasant enough, but it’s better to get out into the very walkable and bikeable countryside filled with olives and vineyards. See: sayhueque.com


www.josesafaris.com

Our Tour operations specializes in Luxury Lodge Safaris, Budget Lodge and Adventure Camping Safaris, Tours and Travels, Hotel and Lodge Bookings, Mountain Climbing, Balloon Safaris, Beach Holidays, Train Bookings, Shuttle services, Incentive Travel Programs & Conferences, Retreats & Seminars. We offer a wide range of safaris by road and air and one can choose from our guaranteed Departure Safaris, Special Interest Groups, Incentive programs or take Tailor Made Safaris that meet your taste. We have also lined up the best excursions and Tours both for individuals and groups that will no doubt offer you the most memorable moments of your life Jose Safaris | Krishna Mansion 2nd Floor Room 43A | P. O. Box 100234-00101-Jamia Mosque, Nairobi, Kenya, E. Africa | Tele/Fax: +254-20-245283 | Cellphone: +254-722-853625 E-mail: info@josesafaris.com


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barge pole. On the other hand, your girlfriend is seriously hot and while you were spouting off about what a big man you are, she was shooting me some seriously filthy looks. From the way you carry on, I’d say you’re as self-centred in bed as you are to speak to. I’m making it my mission to show your girlfriend that girls can do it better. Ciao, Miranda. Midnight crawler: I don’t remember how you ended up in my taxi, let alone in my bed. To be

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To the gorgeous Kiwi school teacher from south London: You were at Vesbar on Saturday night. I thought you were pretty sweet, and thanks for taking good care of my dog. Gutted I didn’t ask you out before you and your friends left for O’Neills. It would be good to see you again. If you’re interested drop me a line at londonsheepdog@gmail.com. Anthony. xxx Lost Macpac puffa jacket: I lost it at the She Bu Walkie after the Waitangi Day pub crawl on Saturday, Feb 4. It had a set of keys and an Oyster Card in the pockets and was last seen near the main door area of the bar. If anyone picked it up, please email me at lostpuffa@gmail.com. European road trip anyone?: My missus and I are looking for a couple of people to split the costs of our epic three-month adventure, commencing at Pamps and voyaging around the west coast. In our fully kitted-out van, we plan to hit the Swiss Alps; the Amalfi coast; Venice; and then most of the good spots through Eastern Europe. We’ll finish off at Oktoberfest, with the odd festival here and there. We’re looking for like-minded people. If you’re interested, send me an email with a little about yourself and your travel plans. If you’re only interested in coming along for a week or two or three here and there, then that’s sweet. If you’re planning on joining the 100 club, please do not reply to this ad. Email Jason at churboy13@hotmail.com.


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TNT Magazine / Issue 1485  

TNT Magazine / Issue 1485

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