Monday, October 27, 2014


  All those predictions that Christopher Nolan's latest epic, the space adventure Interstellar, will take away a stack of Oscars could be far off the mark. Now the film has been screened for critics and selected audiences, many are not so enthusiastic.
Hathaway. Picture: Theo Kingma
    It is almost three hours long and is decidedly complex, dabbling as it does with black holes, wormholes, quantum physics, the theory of relativity and extra-dimensional space among other subjects.
   Many who saw it at an early screening at the Science Center Imax Theatre were decidedly unimpressed by both its length and its complexity. 
   Even the stars confessed to me they don't fully understand what was going on. “I had a sort of working knowledge of the concept of the film and I can’t say that I understood everything," Anne Hathaway told me when we talked on Sunday.   
  And Matthew McConaughey, who plays the leader of a four man crew of astronauts searching for a habitable planet in another galaxy before Earth is wiped out, told me: "I'm going to see it again tonight for the second time. I had 50 questions after the first time and I am going to have 100 more tonight."

Monday, October 20, 2014


  The last time I was in Guy Ritchie's Mayfair pub The Punchbowl was about a year ago when it was so crowded that getting to the bar for a drink was a major challenge. Outside, security guards patrolled the street to make sure the hordes of drinkers did not stray off the pavement.
  Ever since Guy Ritchie and Madonna bought it in February 2008 for 2.8 million pounds from Greg Foreman, the son of gangster Freddie Foreman, the 300-year-old pub has been a favourite of the rich and famous and, consequently, the star-spotters and paparazzi. Princes William and Harry were customers, as were David Beckham, Kevin Spacey, Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Timberlake. Ritchie celebrated his 40th birthday there in September 2008. When Ritchie and Madonna divorced he kept the pub as part of the settlement.
  But now Ritchie has sold the pub to Cirrus Inns and how things have changed! No more celebrities, so no more crowds or security guards. While other pubs in the area are doing good business the Punchbowl, lacking customers, closes at 5pm on Sundays..  
  Friends say that although Ritchie enjoyed his role as a pub landlord he became fed up with what went with it----a few months after he bought it it was investigated for alleged trading breaches but was cleared of charging tourists more than regulars. 
 And in 2009 Westminster council received 37 complaints about noise from the pub.
  No danger of that happening now!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Even on wet weekday mornings Chelsea fans head to Stamford Bridge to shop, take the stadium tour, visit the museum and, of course, have their pictures taken outside the ground. One of the biggest attractions is a mural of the 2014 Chelsea team with a space in the middle for a fan to sit, between Jose Mourinho and Didier Drogba and perhaps dream for a few seconds of Premiership fame.

Friday, October 10, 2014


A Cocktail Week party
  Seems I've arrived in London at the right time. The London Film Festival, which opened with a wet
and windy gala premiere of The Imitation Game, serendipitously coincides with London Cocktail Week, which is based in the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden, where I happen to be staying
Keira Knightley on a soggy red carpet

 So while Benedict  Cumberbatch and Keira
Knightley were attempting to keep dry and keep their hair under control --at least Keira was---on a sodden red carpet, Cocktail Week partygoers were packing into the pop-up bars which sprung up every night in shoe shops, art galleries, beauty parlours and most other shops you can think of throughout Covent Garden---an area not short of pubs to begin with. It's going to be a most enjoyable festival!.   


  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...