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My London Week: From the red carpet to roast potatoes

Posted at 4:30 pm, October 24, 2011 in Arts & Entertainment

We know you’re all curious about what other fun stuff Londoners are getting up to (we sure are) so we thought you would be interested to know where members of the Time Out team have been gallivanting about town. This week music writer extraordinaire Kim Taylor Bennet paints the town (and its carpets) red.

The first half of last week was all about music, the latter half, all about movies.

Male Bonding

Monday kicked off with Time Out music desk favourites Male Bonding headlining the Garage. I’ve been a fan since the early days, but realised I hadn’t caught them live since they played the Stag’s Head in Dalston 18 months ago. Back then it was so busy and the stage was so small, I couldn’t even see them. It was awesome to see the Dalston-based boys kicking ass with their warm, fuzzed-out, guitar-pop (check out their new LP ‘Endless Now’.)

Male Bonding Merch stall

During the support band Gross Magic (who live, sound like they’re fronted by Alvin from The Chipmunks) I took some time to help Male Bonding’s drummer Robin man the merch stall. Also spotted at the show: Nick McCarthy from Franz Ferdinand, Stefan from Klaxons and all of Veronica Falls, who released their debut LP that very day. Afterwards we all headed to the official Male Bonding bar, Bardens Boudoir, for a lock in.

The Blood Arm

Head hurting the next day I went to White Heat at Madam JoJo’s to catch LA band The Blood Arm. I say LA, but 3/4ths of them already live in Berlin now and DJ every Friday at White Trash. They too have a new LP out  (‘Turn and Face Me’), but if you ever get the chance to see them YOU MUST. Apart from writing really kick-ass upbeat songs, their frontman Nathaniel Fregosa is a consummate entertainer.

The Blood Arm

Whether he’s pretending to read members of audience’s minds, or making everyone in the room sit down for a serenade, or as was the case on Tuesday, singing on someone’s shoulders. (It must be said, the man who was providing Nathaniel with shoulder seat was properly creepy and totally obsessed with the singer. He kept stroking his legs and at several points started licking Nathaniel’s snakeskin boots. Ewww.)

George Clooney, the Ides of March premiere

The next evening I hit the red carpet from the London Film Festival premiere of ‘The Ides of March’. Once upon a time, my friend Beau Willimon wrote a play called ‘Farragut North’ which was in part inspired by his experiences working on the Howard Dean 2004 Democratic Primary campaign. His acclaimed play then got picked up by George Clooney, and along with Clooney and Grant Heslov, Willimon set about adapting his play for the big screen. And so we have ‘The Ides of March’, an astutely observed, snappily scripted flick that focuses on how even the most moral and idealistic can succumb to the seductive nature of power and ambition. It’s actually a lot funnier than I anticipated – lots of dry one-liners. And did I mention the cast? Director/star Clooney, Ryan Gosling (sadly not in attendance), Philip Seymour Hoffman, Even Rachel Wood and Paul Giamatti. Woah.

Ides of March after party

Because my friends and I were guests of Beau (pictured above far left) we were invited to the pre-premiere drinks and the after-after-party. Harvey Weinstein and Clooney at the bar discussing Brad Pitt? Sure! Clooney introducing himself to my fiancé (far right)? Of course! Definitely one of the best/most surreal moments of the evening was some time spent bantering with Hoffman about giving up smoking, London traffic and the perils of cycling. Love that guy, but mostly I’m just insanely excited and proud of Beau. Keep an eye on him – right now he’s working on a TV series called ‘House of Cards’ with David Fincher and Kevin Spacey.

ShortsTV at the Aubin Cinema

I took Thursday evening off to lie in a dark room, but then on Friday I spent a sunny day locked in the Aubin Cinema on Redchurch Street recording links for ShortsTV, an American channel which only screens short films. It really is a great platform for young filmmakers. Here I am looking awkward, like I’ve just farted in a cinema seat.

Tintin premiere

And finally I finished off the week by heading to the ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ premiere for my other movie show From The Red Carpet which is screened in cinemas just before the trailers. Spielberg and Peter Jackson had a hand in this animation – which uses incredible motion capture technology – so it’s a real action spectacle. Here I am sitting in the sidecar of a motorcycle on the blue carpet. I was lucky enough to grab and speak to everyone I needed to: Jamie Bell (always articulate), Daniel Craig (very serious), and Nick Frost and Simon Pegg (reliably funny, dorky and down to earth).

After that, well, I went to the The Rose and Crown in Stoke Newington for a large glass of wine and a roast. Yum. Best of all, at 9pm on a Sunday they put all the uneaten roast potatoes on the bar for their customers to eat for free. Amazing.

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