Local Area NewsDec 2014
Piano Kensington - Kensington High Street
When it comes to piano bars, London has been quite content to let New York to rule the roost - the town that gave us Gershwin, Porter and Streisand definitely deserves a head start. However, this fact needn't deter someone with the right kind of skill, know how and connections. Step forward Bazz Norton who has set up this intimate lounge centred around his 160 year-old Collard & Collard grand piano. Bazz and his wife, Moya know their way around every easy-listening classic you could care to name and always have an appreciative crowd to play to.
Everybody chips in with requests, suggestions and contributions. It's not karaoke; nor is it open mike night. It's something that only a highly skilled musician and a knowledgable crowd can create. Off course, the waiters all weigh in with note perfect show tunes in between serving sophisticated cocktails - it's that kind of place.
Paddington Bear - Cinemas Londonwide
London's cuddliest illegal immigrant is brought to life on the silver screen this Christmas and where else can a marmalade obsessed bear from Peru find sanctuary except in Paddington? Here, he has access to Whiteley's, Westfield and a nice West London family headed by Hugh Bonneville. Paddington Bear quickly settles in, only for his fun to be disrupted by a nasty neighbour and a mad vivisectionist (a vamped up Nicole Kidman).
In an effort to outsmart his pursuers, P. Bear goes on a hi-speed ramble through the capital. When the children's book that inspired the film was written, parts of London hadn't changed much since Victorian times, but things are totally different in 2014. Paddington eyes are opened to the full multicultural reality of a modern metropolis. Will he adapt, or will he get the next boat back to South America? I think we know the answer.
Winter Wonderland - Hyde Park
More rides, more stalls and more fun; Winter Wonderland returns this year with a bigger and better experience for all the family. The organisers are savvy enough to know where their bread is buttered and have laid on some edgier attractions this year. Cirque Berserk is a late evening alternative to the child-friendly Zippo's circus. Instead of big clowns in small cars, you get gothic trapeze artists and burlesque inspired fire eaters.
Taking its cue from Scandinavia, the theme park has added a watering hole that is built entirely of ice. Guests in suitably protective clothing will be able to drink and eat from utensils, fashioned entirely from frozen water, giving a new meaning to the term "scotch on the rocks". Those of use with a more traditional approach to winter pastimes will gravitate towards the massive ice rink for as much rough and tumble fun as our aching limbs can take.