Blur, Oasis, Coldplay, not to mention Bryan Ferry and Elvis Costello have all dropped by or gigged at legendary Stockholm record shop Pet Sounds. Here's my chat with Scandi music man Stefan Jacobson for Emirates Open Skies. If in the Venice of the North, and you love great sounds, drop by. Stefan has plans for a bar, restaurant and much, much more. Watch that space. Great merchandise online too - click below.
Great talking with 'the man who knows his films', Head of Filmhouse, Edinburgh - Rod White. And what got Rod into Movies? Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which just happens to be my favourite kids film of all time. Clearly Rod has impeccable taste. Sean Connery's a regular visitor and Maggie Cheung couldn't give a damn about smoking bans, which is just peachy. If in my hometown do drop by the legendary Filmhouse. As well as films galore there's a terrific restaurant & bar. What's not to love?
A real blast chatting with Andee Connors of Aquarius Records / Tumult Record Label for this month's Open Skies. The store's a legend, frequented back in the day by Blondie & Elvis Costello who stopped off on his first ever US tour. These days the likes of Anthony Keidis of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers drops in (but they won't let him use the bathroom).
PlanetWare - Ireland
My PlanetWare Guide to the Best of Ireland now online.
Top of the list is Trinity College. It never fails to amaze me how many Dubliners have never been, never mind visitors from overseas. Of course there you'll find the incredible Book of Kells and magnificent Long Room - the inspiration for the library at Harry Potter's school of magic Hogwarts. Scroll down the list for the best Ireland has to offer and follow the links for Dublin, Cork, Galway and many other destinations. Just click the link:
A great pleasure to interview Mervyn Sloman - Founder of The Book Lounge. Mervyn's a true champion of local writers. If travelling to Cape Town be sure to drop by the store for a cup of their legendary coffee, a chat about books and who knows what undiscovered literary gem you might pick up. The Open Book Festival kicks off in September.
Studio 28 - Montmartre - Paris
Emirates Open Skies - May 2014
A joy to meet and chat with Alain Roulleau, owner and director of the coolest cinema in Paris, Studio 28. This art-deco Parisian institution, which has been in the Roulleau family for three generations, has played host to the likes of Salvador Dali and featured in the 2001 classic film Amélie which made Audrey Tatou a star. Welcome to the Cinema Paradiso of Paris.
The Last Bookstore - LA
Emirates Open Skies - April 2014
Josh Spencer started selling books online and ended up with a 16,000 sq. ft bookstore in an old bank building in Downtown LA. They rescue books from landfill, supply local schools and libraries, host bookstore dinners and create sculptures from the written word. What's not to like? If in LA be sure to drop by.
Sven Harry's Museum - Stockholm
Business Traveller (Middle East) March 2014
This is a story I loved researching and writing and proof positive that business and the Arts can be a great combination. Delighted as well to now be writing for Business Traveller Middle East.
Sven Harry Karlsson is my kind of businessman - ethical, a master craftsman and a true philanthropist. He even personally distributes free food to the homeless from the museum restaurant.
If in Stockholm be sure to drop by the utterly unique Sven Harry's Museum (Konstmuseet). You won't be disappointed. For the museum website click the button below. To read Sven Harry's remarkable story scroll down.
Elastic Witch Records - Dublin
Emirates Open Skies - March '14
Nice to give the adopted hometown a plug every now and then. Especially if it's somebody who's bucking the trend like Gib Cassidy, proprietor of one of Dublin's coolest record shops and a man who's started his own record label. Shades of Terri Hooley abound.
If in town be sure to drop by. You'll find Gib, Elastic Witch, and an eclectic bunch of stuff in the Twisted Pepper building, Abbey Street. On Friday 28th February the legendary Neneh Cherry is showcasing her new album there. Not bad eh?
Brussels Airlines B'there
On my very first InterRail trip I visited Monaco/Monte Carlo with my rag-tag bunch of travel companions. We ended up wandering aimlessly about the grounds of the Grimaldi palace and it was all profoundly depressing. Deciding to take solace in beer I left the rest of them to it and meandered down to the Casino area. I settled myself in at the Café de Paris, ordered a ludicrously expensive lager, and watched the bling drift by. As I drained the meagre glass and stubbed out my cigarette I promised myself when I returned I'd do it in style or not at all. So, here's the tale of a dream come true.
I was born under a Wandering Star was my favourite song when I was three. Nothing's changed.