There's a double climax to this year's football season in May as both the domestic knockout title and the European championship will be decided on the world famous Wembley turf. Last year's premiership winners, Manchester City have had a bit of a hangover season this time round, but have a last opportunity to win some silverware. On paper, they are superior to their opponents Wigan but this being the FA Cup, anything could happen and as the English love an underdog, don't be surprised to witness a closely fought contest.
For the first time in years, there is no English involvement in the World's blue riband club football event, however events have not been standing still. There has been an intriguing shift in the balance of power between Europe's top clubs, not only away from the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, but also away from those glamour twins of the Spanish game - Barcelona and Real Madrid. An all German final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will showcase Germany's home-grown players, swashbuckling style and incredible finishing power giving the footballing world something to both admire and emulate.
Versatile, likable and hugely talented, this British-Iranian comic has had quite a lot of on-screen success. Whether loudly advertising financial services from Britain's rooftops or getting manhandled (literally!) by the late Oliver Reed in Gladiator, Djalili's larger than life personality always shines through. Live, he looks even more startling: part restaurant owner, part Bond villain as he delivers his anecdotes with a voice that could probably heard halfway down M1.
Bouncy, bald and bilingual, his funniest jokes are a mix of the personal and political. Accents come and go with bewildering speed and you have to be up to speed with London's multicultural scene to grasp some of the more obscure jokes. Djalili's strength, though, is his undeniable charm and zest for life which is as infectious as his laugh.
A budding writer Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) arrives in New York City in the spring of 1922. The Big Apple is as far from his Midwestern roots as it is possible to get, both geographically and culturally. Loosening morals, glittering jazz, bootleg whiskey and a ballooning stockmarket are fuelling the American Dream with mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) right at its epicentre.
As Gatsby pursues a liaison with a married socialite, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), Nick along with the rest of us, is drawn into the fascinating loves, lies and self-deceptions of the mega wealthy. Baz Luhrmann directs with his characteristic OTT style (3D for a period drama? Really?), but you can never be too lavish when you are dealing with a time in history where normal rules of society seemed to be not only ignored, but completely buried under a wave of booze, gangsters and feathered headbands.
On the Channel 4 show of the same name, the people who overcome building mishaps and council interference in order to build their dream contemporary home may come across as a stubbornly eccentric bunch, but this exhibition focuses on concepts and vision rather than personalities and the results are fascinating.
Host Kevin McCloud will introduce visitors to a range of attractions, including free consultations with architects and designers; gadgets of the future, eco-friendly display homes and cutting-edge fittings. Everything you need to customize your fantasy living space can be viewed here, all under one roof.
Did Bobby Brown steer Whitney off the rails or did he get sacrificed on the altar of her stardom? Well you can now argue about this with your friends while bopping away to their respective hits as two DJs tag-team 80's grooves with 90's New Jack Swing. Highlighting the music that existed between the death of disco and the rise of house, is a recipe for a fun-filled evening.
Luther Vandross, Shalamar and Michael Jackson go head to head with Teddy Riley, Jodeci and Mary J Blige with floor burning results. Soul aficionados will not only love the sounds, but will also enjoy the cocktails and bar snacks on offer. If you were into this music the first time round, chances are you'll need a few to keep you going: you're not as flexible as you used to be!
Ghouls, giggles and guitar solos are back in vogue as this camp classic celebrates its 40th anniversary with a re(vamp)ed show in west London. Richard O'Brien's tale of two innocents pulled into the kinky orbit of Frank 'N' Furter's weird and wonderful circle of freaks is still a piece that resonates with outsiders of every stripe.
Imagine Grease directed by Tim Burton with a cyber punk soundtrack and that's about half of what you can expect. Bizarre, brash and subversive, the Rocky Horror Show encourages maximum audience participation so don't be surprised to find that half the crowd are dressed as characters from the show and ready to do the "Time Warp". Again.
It is said that when he wanted to get the girl group Destiny's Child in shape for touring, manager Mathew Knowles would make them sing the whole set while doing a cross-country run. His daughter who was the lead singer of that group is no longer under his guidance but you get the impression that she could now probably do it backwards in six inch heels, such is her unstoppable drive and work ethic.
Beyonce's continued quest for world domination stops off in London this month and brings the whole warrior-queen/life-coach/pole-dancing production with it. Her talent and energy are beyond question and her legions of fans will make sure that the event is special. If soulful vocals, jaw-dropping dance moves and bootylicious pop hits are your thing then an audience with Queen Bey awaits.
When you set up a brasserie in deepest Mayfair, you can't just fill it with any old tat. To attract your hedge fund Henrys and trust fund Tamaras, you need an inventive menu coupled with sumptuous decor. Chef Eric Chavot realizes this instinctively and has thus spent a lot of money on making the main dining room a stunning visual treat. Floors of marble mosaic and highly polished chandeliers are designed to cosset and cocoon the wealthy clientele as they munch their way through a selection of French classics.
Steak tartare, soft shell crab and sardine escabeche are all expertly cooked and presented by Chavot and his team as they bring the know-how that earned two Michelin stars at The Capital to the competitive culinary scene that thrives in this corner of London.
A local bistro with an intimate, yet sophisticated feel is an ideal choice for a romantic Valentine's Day meal in this leafy corner of West London. Charlotte's is a family run venture who put great store in sustainability and responsibly sourced ingredients, making them a hit with the West London media crowd. However this is more than a fashionable hangout as they have been in business for 27 years and continue to add innovation to their core principles of good food, generously presented in elegant surroundings.
Cornish crab ravioli is one of the main attractions on the menu and is superbly prepared using scallop meat and leeks. Order this along with a bottle of "Vorburg". Riserva Cantina Terlano for the perfect romantic dinner and while rhubarb might not be everyone's most obvious dessert choice, the kitchen at Charlotte's has come up with a recipe that may sway any doubters. An imaginative crumble using Yorkshire rhubarb and cream cheese is a delicious winter alternative to all those heavy puddings that are the enemy of all good Valentine's nights!
The much anticipated opening to the public of London's newest skyscraper takes place this month. A mighty glass needle on the southern shore of the Thames, The Shard adds drama and futurism to the skyline in much the same way that the Gherkin and the Eye have done in the previous decade. The viewing gallery is on two levels, one of which is left open to the elements for all those thrill seekers who will not be satisfied until they have experienced true outdoor heaven on the seventy-second floor. From here, visitors will enjoy a three sixty degree view of the nation's capital and will have an uninterrupted sightline of up to forty miles.
Multimedia installations ensure that the whole experience is as immersive and interactive as the twenty-first century gets with high speed lifts accessing the viewing platform in about half a minute and touch screens on hand to pan around the cityscape in real time. Of course this just would not be a London without a touch of irreverent humour to go with the spectacle. Taking a cue from last year's Olympic opening bash, there are visuals of celebrated Londoners through the ages interacting in humorous ways, such as Vidal Sassoon crimping the wig of King Charles or political opposites Margaret Thatcher and Karl Marx riding a tandem bicycle together.
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