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Tag Archives: U.S.
Thursday, June 16
Zagat’s lamest list
I am a big fan of Zagat. I fill out their surveys religiously every year and always look forward to receiving their guides.
Yesterday, though, I read a piece by Kelly Dobkin on their site that frankly was, in my view, totally ridiculous.
In her piece “The 10 Lamest Things You Can Order in a Restaurant” Dobkin displays extreme snobbishness towards customers who order:
- Iceberg wedge salads
- Shrimp cocktails
- Bottled water
- Plates of fruit
- Mixed greens
- Scrambled eggs
- Steamed vegetables
- Baked potatoes
Why not allow a diner a shrimp cocktail if they so wish? Just because some self-appointed expert views them to be naff, why shouldn’t those of us who like the dish continue to enjoy it in fine establishments like Scott’s in Mayfair?
Scrambled eggs also come in for attack by Dobkin who states “Even a broke-ass one-handed wino is capable of creating this dish in less than five minutes.” So what? Oak smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and chives features on the menu of none less than The Ritz Hotel. It’s a dish I often seek out.
How anyone could have an argument with mixed greens and steamed vegetables also escapes me. What does Dobkin propose we eat instead? Birdseye frozen carrots?
With regard to “cereal at a diner” I can’t say it is something I’ve even witnessed. Where on earth does this woman dine? Mind you, I don’t watch Seinfeld so I suppose I learnt something here but why even bother to mention it?
Other readers plainly don’t take too kindly to Dobkin’s patronising ways. “Insulting people for what they like to eat is LAME” says one, adding “Worst top ten list ever.” Another simply sates “Think a little harder next time.” I have to agree.
Thank you for reminding me of one of my favourites though Kelly Dobkin. I’m off for a prawn cocktail at La Brasserie for lunch.
For a fantastic prawn cocktail try:
- La Brasserie, 272 Brompton Road, London, SW3 – http://www.labrasserielondon.com (Avocado Crevettes, £8.90)
- Sophie’s Steakhouse, 311-313 Fulham Road, SW10 - http://www.sophiessteakhouse.co.uk (Traditional prawn cocktail, £8.25)
- Scott’s, 20 Mount Street, W1 – http://www.scotts-restaurant.com (Shellfish cocktail, £17.25)
Monday, August 15
A phrase that should be consigned to history
Now “hijacked by chavs,” the phrase “jog on” first became prominent in The Football Factory film about football hooliganism.
This awful insult got wider use in recent days after a mother from Salford used it in response to someone who criticised her defence of rioters looting stores in a BBC interview. This oik-ish woman and her Kappa clad son are unfortunately not alone in their use of this dreadful way of telling someone to “f*** off.”
On a trailer for another BBC show this morning I heard a dwarf use utter it when describing how he responds when people look at him. It appears that there aren’t many places that this choice phrase of the underclass is not now used. In this vein, that Sally Bercow, the speaker’s wife, uses it when replying to negative tweets about her husband is not at all surprising.
“Jog on” even gets abbreviated sometimes to “JTFO,” which according to urbandictionary.com “adds an element of gusto and offence, for those times when the simplicity of the original phrase just don’t relay your feelings as fully and emphatically as they could.”
Those using the insult are even given notes actions to accompany it on one site: “The phrase mentioned must be preceded by raising the fore finger and middle finger to create a ‘V’ sign to the recipient. This should be followed by a movement to the side with a clenched fist and thumb extended in the direction of the movement.”
On Facebook there is even a group named “The ‘Jog On’ Appreciation Society.” Fortunately it only has 15 members and thankfully their aim to “get the phrase into the Oxford English” doesn’t seem to have garnered much support.
I very much hope this phrase “jogs off” into oblivion. Sadly, though, I suspect it’ll still be jogging around for some time yet.
“Jog on” as used in the Football Factory – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPxZeiTGXIY
Simon Pegg “jogs on” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoXfiSU_wqE&NR=1
An American in Cornwall “jogs on” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrfGa_n5H2k&feature=related
A horrible middle class brat named Maddie “jogs on” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7PTDfOq4Q0&feature=related
Thursday, October 13
Heather Mills puts her Sussex home up for rent
Has Heather Mills, the daughter of a convicted fraudster, spent her entire £24.3 million divorce settlement? We all knew that this lady with an interesting past was a spendaholic but the fact that she’s put her 8 bedroomed country home up for rent for £7,995 per month could be an indication that the former wife of Sir Paul McCartney is suffering like the rest of us during this economic slump.
Mills’ arts and crafts residence in Brightling Road, Robertsbridge, Sussex dates to 1914 and stands in 15 acres of wooded grounds. Bought with part of her divorce settlement, the house includes 6 reception rooms and 6 bathrooms and a childrens’ play area that the former glamour model plainly created for her daughter Beatrice. The kitchen is designed for the cooking of the vomit inducing “plant based raw diet” meals favoured by Newcastle born Mills and features a Rangemaster oven, Maytag fridge freezer and a wine cooler. A cloakroom is appropriately described as featuring a “Crapper’s WC” and the master suite includes an “en-suite” shower room with a “rain sky waterfall shower” large enough for the ego of a woman best known for hurling a jug of water over Fiona, now Baroness Shackleton.
Mills’ lack of business acumen since her divorce has been clearly illustrated several times over. First there was the disaster of the Vbites café she opened in Hove Lagoon in 2009. Diners were not impressed and described the food as “of such poor quality” and “tasting like worms.” Equally the investment of this proven compulsive liar, who was previously engaged to my neighbour Raffaele Mincione, in Redwood Foods hasn’t exactly paid off either.
Brand Heather has never rung true in my mind and yet again her attempt to rent out her home is only indication of another hurricane she must be fronting.
If you do fancy living like Heather Mills, contact Savills of Tunbridge Wells on +44 (0) 1892 314 453. Website: http://www.savills.com
If you can stomach reading her bile, go to Heather Mills’ official site at http://www.heathermills.org
For more on Vbites see http://www.vbites.com
If you really wish to follow Heather Mills you can find her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/heatherofficial
Tuesday, December 6
Tuesday, March 6
A review of Valt Single Malt Scottish Vodka
When thinking of places where vodka is made, Poland and Russia are probably the first places that come to mind.
Valt Single Malt Scottish Vodka, however, is unique in being the only single malt vodka from Scotland and Ricky Christie, it’s founder, claims to be on a mission to “change your perspective.”
Christie describes his vodka, which currently sells around 3,000 cases a year, as having a “barley sugar and cream nose, [a] sweet vanilla ice cream taste [and a] warm melting butter finish.” I personally found it very distinctive and much more punchy than the standard “colourless, odourless and tasteless” description that is applied to most vodkas. Valt is not a vodka for a traditional Stoli fan but more one for someone willing to be a little more adventurous in what they consume.
The spirit is made with water from the famous salmon fishing river, the 107-mile long Spey, and Scottish malted barley. Using a traditional copper still, Valt is a vodka that undergoes a charcoal and chill filtration and one that is quintuple distilled. The result is a pure and mellow taste.
Christie first launched Valt in the UK but it is now also available in Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, Malta, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Poland. It can also be found in Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore and Jakarta but the brand has yet to conquer the biggest and toughest spirits market, the United States of America.
Nonetheless, Valt’s progress since launch in 2006 is somewhat impressive and case sales of some 10,000 a year are now within reach. Rabbie Burns would be proud.
For more information about Valt Single Malt Scottish Vodka, go to: http://www.valtvodka.com
Follow Valt Single Malt Scottish Vodka on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/valtvodka
To purchase Valt Single Malt Scottish Vodka for £24.95 a bottle, go to Master of Malt: http://www.masterofmalt.com/vodka/valt-single-malt-vodka/?agegate=true&gclid=CKu2nZTiz64CFcImtAod9XXhlw
Tuesday, March 13
My thoughts on the arrest of Charlie and Rebekah Brooks
Whilst growing up, at home, when my family spoke of “hacking” we were talking about taking the horses out into the countryside. Now, sadly, this term has become more associated with Rupert Murdoch, News Corp and a bunch of bleating celebrities than with a leisurely pleasure ride.
When the former chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, whom I’d argue has wrongly been made the sole “she-devil” of this seamlessly growing scandal, was arrested along with her husband this morning, I have to say I immediately thought how convenient the timing must have been for many in the public eye.
Today marks the start of The Cheltenham Festival 2012, an event that undoubtedly the horse trainer Charlie Brooks and his wife would have been attending. That their home in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire happened to be raided on this particular morning, to me, seems like nothing other than an attempt to prevent further “horsegate” references and a bid to save further embarrassment for David Cameron and the Metropolitan Police.
Recent revelations that Scotland Yard had lent an ex-police horse, Raisa, to Mrs Brooks were not helpful to the Prime Minister, who had to concede he’d ridden the animal in the company of Mr Brooks, an old friend from their Eton schooldays. Puns a plenty followed and they were something that Cameron did not want to on “furlong.”
As such, the inevitable photographs that would have appeared this week of Mr & Mrs Brooks in their tweeds with racehorses would have just brought further salaciously horsey headlines and further embarrassment. I do indeed suspect this is the real reason for the arrest of the couple between 5am and 7am this morning.
The Brooks’s may be guilty. They may be innocent. Either way, the timing of their arrests just stinks on the part of Operation Weeting. Though I’ll not gain many plaudits for suggesting this, I say shame on the Metropolitan Police.
For more on The Cheltenham Festival, go to: http://www.cheltenham-festival.co.uk
For a profile on Mr & Mrs Charlie Brooks by The Daily Telegraph, go to: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/9140263/Profile-Rebekah-and-Charlie-Brooks.html
Friday, March 16
The nuisance conman who pounds the streets of Kensington & Chelsea
When an old man approaches you in the street complaining he’s lost his wallet or can’t afford a bed for the night, no decent person would disbelieve him or begrudge him a few pennies.
On the streets of Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea, however, in the last year I’ve regularly encountered an old man who is plainly seizing on such pity and abusing it. This chap makes the grifters of the BBC’s Hustle seem like amateurs and he’s probably raking in upwards of £300 a day.
The individual I mention is probably about 65 years old and his favourite haunts seem to be Walton Street, Beauchamp Place, Sloane Street, Cadogan Place and Draycott Avenue. He is certainly a beggar who opts to limit himself to the finest streets and it is certainly apparent why he does such.
The first time I encountered him I was with a friend. The man concerned approached us with a story of how he’d been pick-pocketed and requested £50 for a train ticket to somewhere up north. My friend opened her wallet and handed him the cash and he went on his merry way leaving her thinking she’d done a good deed.
The next time I was stopped, the same man told me a tale of how he couldn’t afford a bed for the night. “Could you give me £50?” he enquired. I pointed out that we’d met before and he flat denied it. In astonishment, I mumbled some excuse about not having any cash and turned to leave but then his vitriol began to flow: “F**k you, you f**king piece of Eurotrash,” he screamed. I got away as quickly as I could.
Days later I was in Beauchamp Place and he managed to block my path. Plainly, for all of his audacity, he doesn’t or cannot remember who he spins his yarns to and this time my friends and I were given a story about his wife having suddenly died and his being unable to afford a train ticket to Gloucester. “Give me £50, will you,” he politely requested. Yet again, I explained that we’d met before. Yet again, he denied such and realising he wasn’t getting a cent, the swearing commenced.
All other encounters have been similarly peppered with tales of woe and always end with a request for £50. His success is obvious as the man wouldn’t continue haunting our streets if his strategy didn’t result in people paying up. Many locals have also told me of their conversations with this man and some tell me that they too parted with their cash. Finally, though, I managed to get a snap of the con artist the other day and I publish it here as a warning to my readers.
Don’t get me wrong: I entirely support helping those in need and there are indeed several poor old people who I assist locally when I run into them but confidence tricksters such as this really should be stopped from conning tourists and locals.
If you spot this man, report him to the Metropolitan Police’s Chelsea police station at 2 Lucan Place, London, SW3 3PB on 0300 123 1212 or go to: http://content.met.police.uk/Borough/Kensington
Watch clips of the BBC’s Hustle at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007gf9k
Friday, March 23
The conviction of billionaire John Goodman
I have followed the trial of John Goodman with great interest in recent days and today’s verdict was not surprising given his lack of recollection of the tragedy that he caused.
On the 12th February 2010, Goodman, who sold his family business, Goodman Manufacturing, for $1.43 billion in 2004, crashed his Bentley Continental GTC at speed into a Hyundai Sonata driven by a 23-year old engineering graduate named Scott Wilson at a stop sign at Lake Worth Road and 120th Avenue in Wellington, Florida. Wilson’s car was catapulted into a canal and he subsequently drowned.
Goodman, who also founded the International Polo Club Palm Beach and was a protégé of the $7 billion Ponzi-schemer Sir Allan Stanford, claimed: “I don’t know what happened,” whilst on the stand this week before adding that the car suddenly lurched forward at the intersection. He continued: “I began to apply my brakes, and the car did not seem to be stopping as easily as I was used to.”
Goodman, who stated that he drank two shots of tequila and two shots of vodka at The Players Club prior to the accident, then fled the scene leaving Wilson to drown belted in the driver seat of his vehicle. In court he argued that he did not know he’d hit another driver and headed to the “man cave” of a nearby barn where he downed yet more booze to “alleviate [his] pain.”
Next, Goodman went to a trailer park and woke a woman named Lisa Pembleton. Here, an hour after the accident, he called first his girlfriend-daughter Heather Laurso Hutchins (also known as Heather Colby), an assistant and then finally 911 at 1.55am at the instructions of Pembleton.
In defence, Roy Black, Goodman’s attorney, blamed the accident on a fault with his “out-of-control runaway monster” Bentley. Bentley’s spokesperson, Valentine O’Connor, said in response:
“We have complete confidence in our vehicles, and are prepared to demonstrate such confidence when appropriate.”
If indeed a fault were with the car, it would be the first Bentley in the United States to have experienced a “throttle-brake-computer” failure and plainly the jury didn’t believe such.
The trial attracted significant media interest not only because of Goodman’s wealth and status but also because of the witnesses called. Amongst them was the “David Beckham of polo,” Ignacio Figueras, who had been paid $120,000 to play on Goodman’s polo team. Figueras testified that he had not seen Goodman “impaired” that night when he had worked as a “celebrity bartender” at the White Horse Tavern but as he’d left the party early, his evidence plainly didn’t count for much.
The key argument against Goodman came from Prosecutor Sherri Collins who argued that Goodman could have saved Wilson’s life had he not walked away:
“He called his friend, and she had to talk him into calling 911… That is absolutely failure to render aid, that is absolutely failure to give information, that is absolutely not informing the authorities…. If the defendant had rendered aid, Scott Wilson would have lived.”
Today, John Goodman was convicted of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. Sentencing has been set for 30th April and it is expected that he could get up to 30 years in jail.
Of the verdict, State Attorney Peter Antonnacci commented:
“Scott Wilson was a young man with a bright future and his life was tragically cut short. I hope that Scott’s family now experiences some closure so that the healing process can go forward in this particularly tragic event.”
Lily Wilson, the mother of the victim, added:
“I know that it took a lot for them to come up with a conclusion and justice has been served… I’m always gonna miss my son… I will always cherish his memories. And now, coming from me and the rest of the family and his friends, it’s time for the healing process to begin.”
This case is indeed a tragedy for all involved. Scott Wilson lost his life because John Goodman did not attempt to save him but equally a man whom many describe as “generous” and “decent” is heading to the clink. Today was not a day when the Goodman family could say: “Thank goodness for Goodman.”
For more information on the International Polo Club Palm Beach, 3667 120th Avenue South, Wellington, Florida, FL 33414, go to: http://www.internationalpoloclub.com
For more information on The Players Club Restaurant, 13140 Southshore Blvd, Wellington, Florida, FL 33414, go to: http://playersclubrestaurant.com
Tuesday, March 27
A review of Novikov’s Asian Restaurant
I went to Novikov expecting something brash and “oligarch-tastic” having read articles that bigged up this recent Russian arrival at the heart of Mayfair as just such. As Wayne Rooney once said: “How wrong was I?”
Novikov is owned by Arkady Novikov, a man who heads an empire that includes over 50 restaurants in Moscow, supermarkets, multiplex cinemas and florists. Dubbed the “blini baron,” the maverick Novikov employs some 7,000 people in total and counts a clientele of Bill Clinton, Vladimir Putin and Naomi Campbell amongst his patrons. He doesn’t have an office as he prefers to work out of whichever restaurant needs his attention at any given moment and keeps his employees on their toes by aiming to visit each of his restaurants at least once a week. Novikov Berkeley Street is the first foray into restaurant ownership outside of Russia for a man who also purchased the late Gianni Versace’s Villa Fontanelle on Lake Como for £26 million in 2008.
Novikov London is a vast 400-seat restaurant and bar that is open daily from 7.30am to 11.30pm and split into three parts. In this colossal space, which cost some £8 million to create, is an Italian restaurant and a large wood paneled bar but what I got to try along with my esteemed dining companion, Anthony Brown, was their superb pan-Asian restaurant.
A natural haunt for Mayfair’s wealthy “hedgies,” the clientele of the restaurant also numbers Rhianna, David Walliams, Lara Stone, Tamara Ecclestone, Nick Candy and Holly Vallance. Here indeed is a place where the modern day equivalents of Jay Gatsby can feel perfectly at home.
The pan-Asian restaurant is understated and dark. Though I personally found that the tables were a little too close together, I was especially impressed by the knowledgeable and friendly staff as well as the open “market” area showcasing the finest seafood, fruit and vegetables.
The menu parades diners through a culinary tour offering a spectacular selection of Asian dishes. Divided into sections that include dim sum, maki, sushi and sashimi, we started with some edamame with sea salt (£4) before trying a most sophisticated Thai yam bean dumpling (£6) and some steamed king crab and parma ham dumplings (£9). The 5-piece prawn tempura with a tesuyu sauce (£17) was simply divine but the only disappointment was that the wasabi was not quite punchy enough.
We continued with a California maki roll (£12) that contained some of the most fantastic crab I’ve ever tried. Accompanied by deliciously juicy ginger, this was one of the highlights of the meal but the undoubted number one hit was the unagi (£17), a dish made from Japanese freshwater eels. Sweet yet also salty, this grilled dish alone will make me revisit Novikov again and again. Our next choice was yuzu soy dressed tuna sashimi (£17) that had been flash cooked for 2 to 3 seconds. This was itself delicious but the citrus was a little overwhelming.
For the main course, we opted to share a 180g chilli ginger spicy beef fillet (£24) served with steamed jasmine rice (£5) and a roast half duck with a Chinese spiced soy sauce (£22). The former was phenomenal and definitely deserving of a mention in despatches.
For pudding I opted for a green tea crème brûlée accompanied by a punchy guava sorbet (£8) that was unusual and delicious. Mr Brown’s poached pear, however, was a dish that he described as “a little pedestrian.”
Novikov is somewhere that I urge readers to try. Deservedly lauded as “Russia’s most successful restaurateur,” Mr Novikov is on to a winner in Berkeley Street and I predict further openings in Europe will, in due course, be equally well received. His attention to detail and fastidious nature are, in my opinion, plainly what makes him and his restaurants such a runaway success.
I’ll leave the final word with Mr Novikov himself: “People often ask me whether I plan on continuing to expand. I always tell myself, ‘Enough. Stop.’ But I just can’t!”
Novikov, 50a Berkeley Street, London, W1J 8HA. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7399 4330. Website: http://www.novikovrestaurant.co.uk
For more information on the Novikov Restaurant Group, go to: http://eng.novikovgroup.ru
Follow Novikov on Twitter at: http://www.twiter.com/NovikovLondon
Wednesday, March 28
Tablecloths and bedspreads from Jaipur
It is always good to see a young friend launching a new business and Sophie Rossdale is a fine example of such.
During a trip to India, Rossdale discovered a team of artisans who made the most appealing tablecloths and bedspreads and set about importing them into the UK.
Hand-printed in “The Pink City” of Jaipur in Rajasthan, the colourful designs she chose combine an “authentic Indian style with a modern European twist” and they certainly will enliven any dining space or bedroom.
Prices for the cloths start at £20 and bedspreads start at £60 each. Available in small and large sizes, the tablecloths measure 2.4m x 1.7m and 2m x 2m. A large bedspread is 2.7m x 2.2m.
“I picked these designs because they bring joy to any room. They are of the highest quality and are easy to wash, dry and press. They also make great gifts for friends and family.”
An overview on the pioneering Fisker Automotive company
Electric vehicles have long interested me. A formidable engineer I knew was hugely sceptical of the early offerings but another friend, Nicko Williamson, has been a pioneer in green vehicles through his hugely successful Climate Cars taxi business. Williamson recently was named one of London’s “1,000 most influential people” and has even gained endorsement from The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
In the main, electric cars are ones that I can’t say I’d choose to travel in. After reading in October 2010 of a lady named Judit Nadal who died in London in what her husband described as a “flimsy vehicle,” I became even more suspicious. The badly designed G-Wiz, following this tragic death, brought to this class of vehicles as much of an association with danger as they already had with a lack of both range and power. Thankfully, this image is now changing thanks to a company named Fisker Automotive.
On a recent BBC Top Gear show, presenter James May introduced viewers to the Fisker Automotive’s first model, the Karma. Here, he stated, was a car that truly is a stunningly designed electric vehicle but also one that actually is pretty swift off the mark too.
The normally cynical May praised the Fisker Karma as “probably the most politically correct car on earth” whilst his guest AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson, himself a confirmed petrolhead, described it as a “cracking looking jamjar.” That these two car lovers were impressed immediately drew me to examine this vehicle further.
Capable of achieving 0 – 60 mph in “just a tad over 6 seconds,” the Fisker Karma may only be capable of a top speed of 125 mph but it has more torque than a Bugatti Veyron because of its electric motors. It is, according to May, a 2.5 tonne vehicle that is a “pleasure to drive.”
Unlike other electric vehicles, the Fisker Karma boasts a 2.0 litre General Motors sourced petrol engine that, when engaged, creates more electricity. Effectively this is a vehicle with an onboard power station and one that additionally boasts a 120-watt solar panel on the roof. The car, though, is also the only luxury electric vehicle currently available that has an ability to travel 50 miles on electric only with zero emissions. Environmental considerations here plainly don’t sacrifice an enjoyable drive.
To Henrik Fisker, the Danish co-founder of Fisker Automotive, style was also a key consideration. Fisker was responsible for the styling of vehicles including the Shelby GR1 concept, the Aston V8 Vantage and the BMW Z8 Roadster in previous roles at the Ford Motor Company, Aston Martin and DesignworksUSA, BMW’s California-based design studio and in the Karma he’s again shown his ability to create a vehicle that stands out.
The design keeps sustainability in mind. Fabrics are sourced from the Bridge of Weir Scottish leather makers, who insist upon the suppliers abiding to the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s conditions, and in the EcoChic Karma model it is possible to have an interior that is made with completely animal-free materials. Diamond Dust™ paint is free of solvents and wood trims are unvarnished and reclaimed from Californian wild fires.
Fisker Automotive has built about 2,000 units and delivered 840 of them to 46 dealers and distributors throughout the USA. The company claims that: “orders are outpacing production” and Al Gore, Colin Powell, Leonardo di Caprio and Ashton Kutcher already number among their customers.
Today, Fisker Automotive announced the appointment of Tom LaSorda, a former CEO, President and Vice Chairman of the Chrysler Group, as their new CEO and gave him full responsibility for the company’s day-to-day operations. This move comes after recent speculation that Fisker Automative was about to go under after it laid off around 65 of its 700 workers following issues with various loans from the US Department of Energy. The appointment of a titan of LaSorda’s standing, industry experts suggest, puts paid to such rumours.
As part of today’s deal, in a business that management claim will turn a profit by 2013, LaSorda has invested his own money in the company whilst Fisker will now concentrate on brand building and designing new vehicles.
This January, Fisker Automotive displayed the Karma in the window at Harrods in London during the Winter Sale to showcase it to an international audience. Priced from $102,000 (around £86,000), the Fisker Karma will become available in markets outside of America in the coming months. A second vehicle, the Fisker Surf Shooting Brake, will be launched at a later date.
In the UK itself, the Fisker Karma will be on sale in 2013 and I, for one, will very much look forward to hearing more about this groundbreaking and luxurious electric arrival.
For more information on Fisker Automotive, go to: http://www.fiskerautomotive.com
Follow Fisker Automotive on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/fiskerauto
For more on Climate Cars, go to: http://www.climatecars.com
All images © Fisker Automotive 2012.
Tuesday, April 3
A review of Roberto Cavalli Vodka
The Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli is best known for using exotic wild animal prints in his creations and for giving jeans a “sand-blasted look” that has become the standard style for the majority of brands.
Born in 1940 in Florence, Cavalli sells his main lines in over 50 countries and owns various clothing brands as well as producing watches, perfumes and eyewear. Married to Eva Düringer, who he met when he was a judge at the Miss Universe 1977 pageant, Cavalli’s success is often attributed to his success at maximising returns from “celebrity endorsement.” Victoria Beckham, Halle Berry, Brigitte Bardot, Mary J Blige, Elton John, Sean “P Diddy” Coombs, Kate Moss and Shakira all number amongst his muses and customers.
The father of five children from two marriages, Cavalli chose the symbol of the snake as the mascot for his fashion house and most of his inspiration is said to come from nature itself. His brands especially prospered in the United States after the plot of an entire episode of Sex and the City centred upon a Roberto Cavalli dress but it is his wife who is credited with transforming his business fortunes. “I was thinking maybe to stop,” Cavalli told Time International, “… but then Eva became interested so I started—for her—to involve myself again.” Today, his net worth is estimated at $500 million.
After being told about Roberto Cavalli Vodka, I got in touch with Tommaso Cavalli, the eldest son of Roberto Cavalli, who has built himself a successful career breeding horses and developing the family’s wine and spirit range. Based in Chianti, where the family also produce their Tenuta Degli Dei range of wines, Tommaso Cavalli, in a 2010 interview for DNA India, suggested:
“When people hear about Cavalli Vodka or Wine, they want to try [it] out because of the name.”
This indeed tallies as there have been various attempts at cashing in on fashion and celebrity in the vodka market in recent years. Most, though, have floundered or been trounced as shoddy attempts to take on Grey Goose and Belvedere. I haven’t heard, for example, much of Donald Trump’s vodka since 2006 and critics described it as one that “will produce a not-so luxurious hangover.” Roberto Cavalli Vodka, launched in 2005, however, has deservedly proved itself truly to be an exception to this trend.
Packaged in a stylish frosted bottle, this is one that has been designed to look elegantly sophisticated. Tall and slender, with an appropriately snake like climbing up it, this is a bottle that suitably reflects the “ultra premium status” of Cavalli’s brands.
The vodka itself is 40% ABV and uniquely is made entirely in Italy. The purest water is taken from the Monta Rosa slopes and the finest of grains come from the valleys where the South-Western Alps meet the River Po, Italy’s longest river. Filtration through flakes of Italian Carrara marble results in a taste that I found subtly peppery with a slight hint of citrus. Roberto Cavalli Vodka, as a result, makes a perfect martini but also works well in long drinks.
Of the vodka that bares his name, Roberto Cavalli concludes:
“I love the pureness of vodka, especially of my vodka: it is like water and fire coming together in a single element.”
If you’re looking to add an element of style to your drinks cabinet, make sure you add a bottle of Roberto Cavalli Vodka. It can only add to your status as one who’ll be considered both super cool and super chic.
For more information on Roberto Cavalli Vodka, go to: http://www.robertocavallivodka.com
Purchase Roberto Cavalli Vodka through TheDrinkshop.com for £48.95 for a 70cl bottle at: http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=3682
Follow Roberto Cavalli on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/roberto_cavalli
Wednesday, April 4
Thursday, April 5
The case of Samantha Brick
This probably will be one of the shortest pieces I ever write, as, frankly, I don’t want to give Samantha Brick any more publicity than she’s already brought upon herself.
Brick, a Daily Mail journalist, wrote a piece on Tuesday in which she proclaimed that she was “beautiful” and that other women hate her as a result. She arrogantly concluded the piece by stating:
“Perhaps then the sisterhood will finally stop judging me so harshly on what I look like, and instead accept me for who I am.”
The article attracted a huge amount of attention and over 5,000 comments. It even trended on Twitter but what the press and public seem to have failed to realise is that this is nothing other than a publicity stunt created by her employers in order to boost sales. Everyone, it seems, has fallen for this hook, line and sinker and the key beneficiary is indeed none other than the Daily Mail.
Ms Brick, when she wrote her article, knew exactly what she was doing and I assume she’s been paid handsomely in return for the abuse that has followed. I, for one, had never heard of her until yesterday and I hope now that she’ll fade back into much deserved obscurity. Those I dined with last night thankfully felt the same.
The Daily Mail created the “beautiful” Samantha Brick. Please, now, can they take her away?
Read Samantha Brick’s original piece at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2124246/Samantha-Brick-downsides-looking-pretty-Why-women-hate-beautiful.html
Follow Samantha Brick on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/SamanthaBrick
Friday, April 6
Profile: The very well connected Jacqueline Branston
Jacqueline, Jackie to her friends, Branston is a lady described by the Who’s Really Who author Richard Compton-Miller as being one that: “hears, sees and says nothing.” Discretion is a key part of her makeup and with the launch of her new concierge business, many others will undoubtedly benefit from her access to the highest echelons.
Aged 15, Branston was discovered by a talent scout whilst on a secretarial course. She appeared in an advertisement for The Cutty Sark clipper ship in Time Magazine and was then headhunted by the Lucie Clayton modeling agency.
In turn, huge success followed. Branston starred in commercials for Cadbury’s, Fry’s Turkish Delight, Bisto and Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes and was photographed by Patrick Anson, the 5th Earl of Lichfield. She dated both Warren Beatty and George Hamilton.
A move to New York followed and Branston became friends with Andy Warhol, who sketched her, and involved in all manner of activities in the arts. A career change after gaining an art degree from the Institute of Contemporary Art led her into organising exhibitions for emerging artists. These became renowned not only because of the quality of the works of those she represented but also due to the gravitas of those who attended them.
In the social whirlwind that ensued, Branston was even kidnapped by the Berber tribe whilst at the 50th birthday party of publisher Malcolm Forbes in Tangiers. She successfully turned her hand to charitable fundraising as well, helping Helen de Rothschild with the restoration of Versailles and in raising funds for statues of Mozart in Orange Square, SW1 and Raoul Wallenberg in Great Cumberland Place, W1.
Back in London, today, Branston is utilising her connections to help visitors from China, Russia and the Middle East. With her chauffeur driven Mercedes, she offers access to the best events, restaurants and clubs. She can secure access to the most elusive theatre tickets or provide introductions to personalities and most of all show you a London that you never new existed.
Jacqueline Branston is truly a lady for all seasons. Make sure you’ve got her details in your Rolodex.
For more information on Jacqueline Branston’s concierge service, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Jacqueline Branston on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/jackiebranston
Sunday, April 8
Monday, April 9
Profile: Sculptor Edward Waites
Continuing my series of profiles of up and coming talent, it was a pleasure to recently meet the extremely talented Suffolk based sculptor Edward Waites.
A specialist in animal sculpture, 24-year old Waites is largely self-taught. Leopards, lions, rhinos, horses and bulls are a firm favourite as subjects and his aim is to capture and emphasise their muscles, sinew and movement.
Passionate about his craft, Waites, who lives near Newmarket, has already made impressive inroads into his chosen profession at such a young age. He has produced works for Lady Bamford and Ivan Massow and his sculptures can also be found in several royal collections around the world. Represented primarily by the W. H. Patterson gallery in Mayfair’s Albermarle Street, Waites also works on a commission basis.
Recently Waites has expanded into creating miniatures of birds, bovine animals, dogs, domestic animals, horses and wild animals. Produced as limited editions and very reasonably priced between £80 to £180, these represent an easy way to begin collecting and great value for money.
From May 16th to 20th, Edward Waites will be exhibiting at the Animal Art Fair on the River Side Walkway on the South Bank in London. Don’t miss it.
Follow Edward Waites on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/Edward.Waites.Sculpture12
Follow Edward Waites on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/EdwardWaites
For more information on the Animal Art Fair, go to: http://www.animalartfair.com
Tuesday, April 10
Sunday, April 15
Monday, April 16
A review of Julian Fellowes’s “Titanic”
Against better advice, I watched all four episodes of Julian Fellowes’s Titanic television drama. Nothing much happened in the first three episodes but unlike many others, I preserved and watched the final episode on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the White Star passenger liner.
Fellowes is a man who has had remarkable success with both Gosford Park and Downton Abbey. After playing bit part roles in such series as Fantasy Island, Our Friends in the North and Aristocrats, his career took off in 2002 when Gosford Park won an Oscar for the Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Since then he has been ennobled and become a darling of the middle classes.
Described by John Doyle of The Globe and Mail as “a high-grade nobs-and-slobs story,” viewing figures fell from 9 million to 3.5 million between episodes 1 and 3 with good reason. To me this was a drama that lacked pace and repeatedly rehashed the same tales. It was tediously futile and an utter waste of four hours of anyone’s time.
Fellowes’s Titanic was truly a damp squib of a drama. May it, like the 1,514 tragic souls lost on 15th April 1912, rest in peace.
View ITV1’s official website for Titanic at: http://mip.itvstudios.com/programmes/drama-comedy/618/titanic
For more information on The Titanic Memorial Cruise, go to: http://titanicmemorialcruise.co.uk
Wednesday, April 18
The sale of The Hellman Heller Mansion in San Francisco
For several years, I enjoyed annual trips to California for San Francisco’s International Film Festival. On my visits I stayed in a tower in one of the smartest addresses, Pacific Heights. The area is home to the city’s elite, the most famous being the author Danielle Steel, and the 1990 thriller Pacific Heights, directed by John Schlessinger CBE and starring Melanie Griffith, Matthew Modine and Michael Keaton, was also set there.
During my visits I regularly marveled at the architecture of this wealthy neighbourhood. One building that I found especially striking was a mansion one block north of Lafayette Park at 2020 Jackson Street. An advertisement for this historic home caught my eye this morning as it is now for sale through agents Coldwell Banker.
The 11,500 “single family residence” consists of a grand reception hall, living room, salon and catering kitchen on the ground floor. Below this is an informal dining kitchen, baking kitchen, wine cellar, au-pair’s bedroom suite and a large garage. The first floor comprises of a master bedroom suite of bedroom, dressing room, walk-in-closet, terrace and his and her bathrooms, as well as an office and an additional bedroom. Four more bedrooms and 3 further bathrooms are located on the floor above along with a media room. Outside space, with panoramic views towards Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, is provided in the form of a lower level garden area and a ground floor terrace.
Constructed in 1902 as a wedding gift from Wells Fargo Bank president Isaias Hellman (1842 – 1920) to his daughter Clara Hellman (1878 – 1959) on her marriage to a prominent lawyer named Emanuel S. Heller (1865 – 1926), 2020 Jackson Street is a mansion in the Louis XVI I style. The property cost some $45,000 to build and was designed by a well-known Bay Area architect named Julius E. Krafft, who had emigrated from Germany in 1872. Many original features survive to this day, amongst them mahogany paneling, herringbone wooden floors and a double-curved grand staircase.
In 1906, the devastating earthquake and subsequent fires that hit San Francisco killed circa 3,500 people and caused some $400,000,000 in damage to the city. The Hellman Heller mansion, partly due to being situated on the strong bedrock of Pacific Heights and partly due to Krafft’s design, survived intact. For a period it became the temporary headquarters of the Wells Fargo Nevada National Bank, the Union Trust Company and also the offices of Heller’s own law firm, Heller Powers & Ehrman.
It is said that this group of business leaders were squeezed into one room with an adjoining water closet. Whilst conducting the mammoth task of clarifying deeds and dealing with insurance claims, they had nowhere other than a tiny bathroom in which to conduct confidential conversations.
In later years, Heller’s company evolved and became known just as Heller Ehrman. The prospering organisation negotiated the finance for the Bay Bridge, established the consortium that built the Hoover Dam and took Levi Strauss & Co. public and then private again. Heller Ehrman LLP, which grew to employ more than 730 attorneys in 15 offices in the United States, Europe and Asisa, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008.
The Hellman Hellers used 2020 Jackson Street to hold many glittering functions even as they grew into their dotage. The most lavish came in 1945 when the main reception was held in the house for the United Nations Conference on International Organisation. At the conference, the 50 representatives drew up the United Nations Charter.
After Clara Hellman Heller, who was also the first woman to sit on Wells Fargo’s board of directors, died, 2020 Jackson Street passed to various subsequent owners. It became publicly prominent once more when it was chosen in 1991 as the San Francisco Designer Showcase home. This year, 21 years later, that honour has been bestowed upon the building again.
Established 35 years ago, I recall friends speaking of the San Francisco Designer Showcase with great enthusiasm and at 2020 Jackson Street, over 30 designers have been given space to get creative. The result includes rooms such as “The Gentleman’s Study” by Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design, a “Telephone Room” by Robert Brill Design and “The Press Room” by Lisa Baskamis Interior Design. Even the lift has had a makeover courtesy of Lawanna Cathleen Design.
Conceived to raise funds to aid students at San Francisco University High School’s, the annual event has raised nearly $12,000,000 to date. Running from 28th April to 28th May 2012, general admission tickets are priced at $30. A gala night, with tickets at $175 each, is to be held to mark the opening night on Friday 27th April.
The Hellman Heller residence is said to have cost ten times average construction costs when it was built in 1902. Today it is for sale at $17,500,000, a reduction of some $2,500,000 on the asking price of what it was launched onto the market for in 2011.
Perhaps, indeed, participation in the 2012 San Francisco Decorator Showcase will result in 2020 Jackson Street’s owners banking a sale for this truly spectacular home.
For more information on The Hellman Heller Mansion, contact either Dona Crowder of TRI Coldwell Banker on +1 415 229 1399 or email email@example.com or Clark Johnson of Coldwell Banker on +1 925 831 3332 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For details, go to: http://www.2020jackson.com
For details of the 2012 San Francisco Decorator Showcase at The Hellman Heller Mansion, go to: http://decoratorshowcase.org. Contact Denise Lamont on +1 415 381 8793 or email email@example.com for more information.
Friday, April 20
My response to Terence Blacker’s piece attacking Pippa Middleton
Pippa Middleton is not someone I know. I have seen her in bars and at parties but never spoken with her. I do not especially find her derrière attractive and I do not consider her to be one of the world’s most influential people.
This morning, however, I responded on Twitter to a journalist named Terence Blacker about a comment piece he had written for The Independent. In it, he named Miss Middleton a “national embarrassment” and made a factual error in stating:
“She has not used her fame to any charitable effect, but has availed herself of a £400,000 publishing advance for a book, presumably ghost-written, on party planning. In her smiling, dimpled way she has done more harm to the cause of women than any airhead celebrity or Page 3 girl.”
Mr Blacker is wrong: Along with her brother James, Miss Middleton completed a 56-mile cross-country ski race for the Magic Breakfast charity in Sweden in March. At the time she stated:
“My brother and I are raising money for Magic Breakfast, a small registered charity that fights child hunger through breakfast clubs and delivering free breakfasts (bagels, cereal, juice and porridge) to thousands of state primary school children in the UK particularly our inner cities.”
In total, the pair, hats off to them, to date have raised £12,039 for this worthy cause. They have also previously aided other charities, much to their credit.
I would suggest that Mr Blacker ought to correct his error by donating his fee for this article to Magic Breakfast. He can do so by visiting Miss Middleton’s JustGiving page. Instead, in reply to my Tweet pointing out the inaccuracy, all I got in response was:
“Nope, sorry. I really can’t see Pips as an influential role model.”
In turn others responded and I began to understand how Samantha Brick must feel. I’m a big Twitter fan but the barrage of nonsense I received was just tedious. I only pointed out a factual error. I did not say that Miss Middleton had done anything miraculous. The comments included:
“It has nothing 2do [sic] with jealousy, it’s 2do with a young lady doing zero work each day yet living life reilly [sic]… It’s not as if she spends her time doing good, like the Royal Family, she just likes to party.”
Too many in Britain mock success. Our media builds individuals up only to take huge pleasure in knocking them down. The Middleton family represent a remarkable story and we should all celebrate them. Good for Pippa Middleton for enjoying the world she now inhabits but also good for her for using this fame to do good for others. Yes, Miss Middleton has made mistakes, but honestly hold your hands up and admit it: from time to time, don’t we all?
Read Terence Blacker’s piece at: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/terence-blacker/terence-blacker-cant-the-editors-of-time-magazine-see-pippa-middleton-is-a-national-embarrassment-7661423.html
To donate to Pippa Middleton’s Vasaloppet charitable challenge, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/vasaloppet/new
One of the Brown-Forman family of booze barons who is now making it on his own. This Laguna Beach resident sold his tequila brand for a profit of $10 million in 2007 and is now educating the world in the Right way to drink gin.
Sunday, April 22
An iconic home that has periodically been for sale for some 7 years with hardly any variation in the price asked for it
The fantastically named Thunderbird, set in Branksome Park, Poole’s answer to “Millionaire’s Row,” is a prime example of the saying:
“If it sells in a week, it’s underpriced… If it doesn’t sell in a year, it’s overpriced.”
Branksome Park is an area of Dorset that has always been popular with personalities. Amongst those who have lived there are J. R. R. Tolkein, Tony Blackburn, Bob Monkhouse and Tom Jones. This is a 360 acre estate where houses sell for up to £6,000,000 and one that is said to be well thought of because of it’s opulent dwellings and proximity to beachfront walks at Alum and Branksome Chines.
Periodically on the market since 2005, the design of the art deco styled Thunderbird was conceived by Eddie Mitchell of Seven Developments to reflect his love of Gerry and Slyvia Anderson’s Thunderbirds and their creation, Tracy Island. Mitchell is a man who doesn’t go for conventional names: other properties he’s developed include Bowie, Daytona, Dragon Fly, Moonraker and Utopia.
Shaped as a bird with two wings, the high-tech 6,000 square foot Thunderbird includes vast open plan living areas, 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and a heated triple garage. Leisure facilities take the form of a cinema room with 50” Panasonic wall mounted plasma screen, a gymnasium with three exercise machines and a 50ft infinity style pool. The property also boasts a heated triple garage and it is set in a plot of approximately an acre of landscaped grounds.
Thunderbird is a well thought of building. It won the Best UK and the Best Dorset Property at the Daily Mail Property Awards in 2006 and the Best House Award at the National Housebuilder Design Awards in the same year. Though reports have periodically spoken of footballers, aristocrats and even Noel Gallagher buying it, the house has for some strange reason languished on the market for some 7 years. Seven Developments have now again placed it on the market, this time through Sotheby’s International Realty.
Since coming to the market in 2005, the price for Thunderbird began at £4,000,000 and has gone as low as £3,500,000. Seven years have made little difference to the attitude to pricing as Sotheby’s now ask £3,950,000 for the freehold interest. On a separate website, Thunderbird is also available for £6,250 per month should someone prefer to only temporarily live like Agent Tracy.
How long, I must ask, will it be before someone can finally announce: “Thunderbird: Going, going, gone?”
For more information on Thunderbird, contact Glynn Evans of Sotheby’s International Realty’s Canford Cliffs office on +44 (0) 1202 709 283 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. More details can be viewed at: http://www.sothebysrealty.co.uk/eng/sales/detail/204-l-1908-4000029354/thunderbird-poole-en-bh13-7an
For more information on Branksome Park itself, go to the community’s website at: http://branksomepark.com
Wednesday, April 25
The sale of an Aston Martin Virage Volante used by Prince Charles
A press release pinged into my inbox this morning from Bonhams that immediately caught my attention. It came from Leonora Oldfield of Bonhams, someone I hadn’t heard from since the days when we were both involved in fundraising for Lady Meyer’s PACT.
Most of my readers will know of the subsequent stories covered by The Daily Telegraph and The Independent about how that particular organisation operates and I don’t wish or need to dwell on that matter further.
The press release itself contained something that I found far more fascinating. In it, Bonhams announced that they are to auction an Aston Martin Virage Volante that was used by Prince Charles from 1994 until 2008.
This spectacular 6.3 litre soft-top vehicle has been on display at Aston Martin’s headquarters at Gaydon since another Aston Martin owned by the environmentally conscious prince was converted to run on bio-ethanol distilled from surplus British wine. That vehicle, an Aston Martin DB6 MKII, was most famously also used by Prince William to drive his new wife from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House after their wedding last year.
Bonhams quote a pre-sale estimate of £50,000 to £70,000 for the dark green Aston Martin Virage Volante. It will be auctioned at the Aston Martin Works Service at Newport Pagnell on 19th May 2012.
Prince Charles once said: “I’d rather go by bus.” I feel rather differently: I’d rather take this Aston any day.
For more information on the sale of the 1994 Aston Martin Virage Volante used by Prince Charles, contact Bonhams on +44 (0) 20 7468 5801 or email email@example.com. View details of the sale at: http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20142
Follow Bonhams on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/bonhams1793
Friday, April 27
Started a property empire with a loan of £6,000 from their grandmother in 1995. Now said to be worth anything upto £13 billion, this pair are most famous for their One Hyde Park development next to The Mandarin Oriental. London based Nick is married to the Australian singer and former Neighbours actress Holly Valance whilst Monaco based Christian is married to a former “It-girl” named Emily Crompton. In one interview Nick was quoted as saying: “We’ve probably got about 10 cars”. With this much wealth, what’s a car between friends?
Hailing from Ukraine, Adrianova is making her mark photographing the likes of Steven Berkoff, Barbara Minto, Basia Briggs, Arfi Lamba, Gina Miller, Aita Ighodaro and Drummond Money-Coutts. An exhibition at Linley in Mayfair in October 2012 was a mammoth success. Be sure to book her now as this awareness of this talented lady is spreading like wildfire.
The eldest of four brothers, Alex is a scion of the oldest family in Zimbabwe. His family’s business creates masterpieces in silver, gold and leather and brings the mystique of Africa to the West. Their patrons include HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, Denzel Washington and J. K. Rowling.
Former filmmaker who came up with his own cloudy apple juice. Cheltenham College educated, he’s expanded into a whole range of juices under the brand name Eager and even also tried to revitalise bingo.
He swam into the path of the Oxford vessel in the 2012 Xchanging Boat Race. Oldfield claimed to be protesting about “elitism” but it transpired that he was himself educated at a private school and the LSE. His hypocrisy knows no bounds and thankfully he ended up in the clink.
A freelance writer who declared herself to be “beautiful” in a piece for the Daily Mail. Their readership soared whilst she made an utter mockery of herself. Goodness knows what nonsense she’ll spout next.
Opinionated Tweeter who happens to be married to the Speaker of the Commons. She’s hung out with gypsies and camped in the Celebrity Big Brother house. She particularly loves baiting Tories and being photographed wrapped in nothing other than a towel. Most people, thankfully, just ignore her.
The sale of a Pontiac Chieftan previously owned by both Keith Richards and a husband of a survivor of the 1912 Titanic disaster
In 1971, the “mad, bad and dangerous to know” musician Keith Richards decided to go into tax exile at a house named the Villa Nellcôte at Villefranche-sur-Mer in France to avoid having his assets seized by the British government. It was here, in the basement, that The Rolling Stones recorded much of their album “Exile on Main St” whilst enjoying what has been described as: “the coolest, most drugged-up house party ever.”
The Villa Nellcôte is a 19th-century Côte d’Azur mansion brimming with history. Originally named the Chateau Amicitia, the villa was built in 1854 for a businessman named Eugene Thomas. Bought by Count Ernst de Brulatour, the first secretary of the American embassy in France, in 1904, it was then sold to Samuel Goldenberg, a director of the Goldenberg Brothers & Co. lace importing business and a survivor of the 1912 Titanic disaster.
Goldenberg, whose business was capitalised at a staggering $1,500,000 in 1912, and his wife Nella’s passion were the dogs that they bred. In 1902, they had discovered an especially unusual bulldog that they imported to France. This dog, Ch. Nellcôte Gamin, is credited with being the scion of French bulldogs. In the dog’s honour, the Goldenbergs renamed the Chateau Amicitia the Villa Nellcôte.
In 1921, the estate was purchased by Alexandre Bordes, the founder of a shipping company specialising in the transit of nitrate solder between Chile and France. From their travels, he and his brother also bought back numerous exotic trees and planted them in the parkland around the villa. An avenue of trees leading to the house is named the Avenue Louise-Bordes in honour of Bordes’ wife.
During the Second World War, the Villa Nellcôte was seized by the Gestapo. Swastikas were painted on the heating vents in the cellars and it was later here during the Rolling Stones occupation that Mick Taylor is said to have co-written “Ventilator Blues.”
Richards paid $2,500 a month to rent the house but did not exercise an option to buy. He lived there with Anita Pallenberg and their son Marlon from April to November 1971 and continued to rent it for a year after he left. Visitors are said to have included Atlantic Records executive Marshall Chess, the sax player Bobby Keys, the Rolling Stone journalist Robert Greenfield and Stash Klossowski, son of the painter Balthus. Absinthe and drugs flowed freely and the elegant villa is said to have looked more like a squat by the time the Stones departed.
Of his time in this impressive house, which is now owned by a Russian and said to be worth in excess of £100,000,000, Keith Richards commented:
“Upstairs, it was fantastic – like Versailles… But down there… it was Dante’s Inferno.”
During his time at the Villa Nellcôte, Richards purchased a 1950 Pontiac Chieftan ‘Silver Streak’ convertible to ferry him and his entourage around.
Well documented in photographs from the time, this 4.4 litre vehicle had originally been purchased new for $2,190 by an American academic and Advisor to the Ministry of Finance of China named William Forsythe Sherfesee. Sherfesee lived nearby at the Villa Bontoc, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and was a neighbour and friend of the writer Somerset Maughan. His wife, Emily Ryerson, was another survivor of the Titanic disaster and the tale of his 9,000-mile dash to marry her in 1927 makes for most fascinating reading.
Complete with documentation showing the ownerships of both Sherfesee and Richards, who himself retained the car until 1985, Bonhams are to offer this historic Pontiac at an auction on 30th April at The RAF Museum, Hendon, London, NW9. A guide price of just £18,000 to £22,000 is quoted for this piece of rock legend.
As Keith Richards once said: “You’ve got the sun, you’ve got the moon, and you’ve got the Rolling Stones.” Now, whoever buys this Pontiac will get a hell of a load more.
For more information on the 1950 Pontiac Chieftan ‘Silver Streak,’ contact John Polson of Bonhams on +44 (0) 20 7468 5803 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. View more details and photographs at: http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20141/lot/344/?page_anchor=MR1_results_per_page%3D500%26MR1_module_instance_reference%3D1
Read an account of William Forsythe Sherfesee’s 9,000 mile alter dash to marry Emily Ryerson at: http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/chicago-widow-sends-plane-gale-delays-9000-mile-race-altar.html
Alerted the world to the story of Julia Cross and writes brilliantly about all manner of matters for the Daily Mail and Evening Standard. Addicted to chocolate, white wine and especially peanut butter. It must, however, come straight from the jar.
Lottery winners who continue to claim benefits. Scooped £10,200,000 in the EuroMillions Lottery in 2005 yet still get a Motability car every three years and £500 a month in disability benefits. In answer to their critics, all Mr O’Shea could say was: “We’re entitled to it.” We, equally, are entitled to criticise.
Eton educated Gilkes is a club-trepreneur who has made waves in Chelsea and Battersea. He also appeared in The Iron Lady and launched an Italian pizzeria and karaoke bar named Bunga Bunga with a performance by the X Factor star Wagner.
Former restaurateur whose family are city legends. His pride and joy is a classic Mercedes-Benz Grosser and he’s often to be found propping up the bar at La Brasserie teaching Cockney rhyming slang. A maestro in the kitchen, feasts by him are hugely sought after.
This septuagenarian hails from Barri, Italy and was married to one of the founders of Haymarket Publishing. She once won a sports car in a raffle at Harrods and when presented with it replied: “What is a Porsche?” She gave the vehicle back soon after. Don’t get her started on what she thinks about the royals but watch out, if Michael Jackson comes on the stereo, she’ll be dancing on the table.
He first came to prominence as Ned Parker in Neighbours and since 2012 has been in teen drama Hollyoaks. O’Connor has also worked as a graphic designer and in typical Aussie fashion, once shared a 3-bedroom flat with 7 others.
A Liverpudlian who moved from shooting with guns whilst in The Grenadier Guards to snapping the best-known personalities. Always kitted out in the finest garb, he’s particularly partial to a stiff G&T at 12 noon.
Saturday, April 28
He was labeled “Baron Von Essen” but evidence of his pedigree failed to surface. Starting in 1990, this buccaneer built up a collection of 26 luxury hotels but the £300m empire, developed with loans from bankers who plainly asked very few questions, collapsed in 2011. Since then, instead of quietly going to ground, he’s bought a Rolls-Royce from his friend Michael Winner and appeared at quite a few parties. Watch out: “The Talented Mr Davis” is plainly plotting his next move.
Like his entrepreneurial father before him, Sam Higginson is making waves in the world of online marketing. A proud Lancastrian, Higginson’s latest venture digitalbox is changing the way we buy online.
Entrepreneur who launched Climatecars at the age of 23. His grandfather won the Isle of Man TT in 1908 and his fleet of Toyota Prius taxis are now taking over our streets. He’s a bit of a foodie himself and also plans to open a restaurant one day.
He was Emmerdale’s number one bad boy for several years but with the help of his agents at Curtis Brown, his career is stepping up a gear. He’s also appeared in Spooks and Doctors and is well known for cooking up a pretty mean brunch.
A former parking warden who was probably the only decent one out there. He refused to behave like his grasping colleagues in Kensington & Chelsea (who referred to themselves as “Ali Baba and his 40 thieves”) and got constructively dismissed as a result. He rightly got £20,000 in compensation at an industrial tribunal but decently commented: “’I’m very disappointed because I believe that justice has not been done. My job was worth more to me than any amount of money.”
A former broker who has survived a plane crash and taken on the European Commission. He’s onto his second stint as leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and has penned a set of memoirs named “Fighting Bull.” Farage thinks that: “Politics need a bit of spicing up.” He’s certainly making good progress to date.
As the presenter of CBBC’s Newsround for ten years from 1998 to 2008, he became a favourite of children throughout the land. As the Entertainment Correspondent for BBC News, now, and in between jetting around the globe in search of celebrity news, he’s often to be found enjoying a tipple or two at Bart’s, Maggie’s or Bunga-Bunga. His fan club brims aplenty.
A Spectator columnist since 1977, this controversial Greek-born journalist and socialite most definitely enjoys the “High Life.” He’s a judo champion and thinks nothing of criticising the Israeli government and mocking Princess Michael of Kent. Don’t get him started on Libya or Tony Blair. The titles of two of his books give much away about his character: Princes, Playboys & High-Class Tarts (1984) and Nothing to Declare (1992).
Having followed in the footsteps of her sister, Poppy, into a career in modeling, this Burberry muse became one of the hottest commodities of 2012. She describes herself as a “professional human being” on Twitter and “likes eyebrows and playing the drums”. She had a small part in the 2012 film adaptation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.
Daughter-in-law of Bernard and Ruth Madoff. Her husband, Mark, tragically committed suicide after the Ponzi scheme was revealed. Instead of retaining an ounce of dignity, this shameless woman has featured in a photoshoot for Harper’s Bazaar and written a book titled The End of Normal. It’s a pity she couldn’t keep quiet out of consideration for Bernie’s other victims.
Danish creator of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Aston Martin DB9, Shelby GR1 concept and BMW Z8 Roadster. His latest visionary output is the Fisker Karma, an eco friendly luxury sedan that is simply stunning. Quite rightly he’s been described as: “The greatest living car designer.”
Mr Novikov controls over 50 restaurants in Moscow but doesn’t have an office. He started out with a loan of $50,000 from a Soviet cooperative after being turned down for a job at McDonalds. He now also owns supermarkets, cinemas and florists and is dubbed the “blini baron.” Aside from his 7,000-person empire, he owns the £26m Villa Fontanelle on Lake Como and is said to be especially partial to bread, black cherries and apricots.
A self-made billionaire, Frank was the Hugh Heffner of the booze industry. He had major successes with both Jägermeister and Grey Goose vodka. A personal profit of $1.6 billion from the sale of the latter allowed him to become philanthropic and especially eccentric. In his final years he conducted most of his business deals from bed whilst smoking custom made Davdoff cigars. He died on his private plane in 2006 but will be remembered as the man who changed vodka.
“The Bouncing Czech” was variously an MP, a spy and a media mogul. Before his empire collapsed he stated: “You are as safe with me as you would be in the Bank of England.” He was a notoriously bad tempered beast of a man and in death he remains as large and as colourful as he was alive. Various theories can be found on the internet about him being killed by Mossad, working in a fish and chip shop in Huddersfield and hanging out with Shergar the racehorse. Thankfully, instead, he’s safely been laid to rest on the Mount of Olives.
A fantasist of the first order. She invented a tale of being raped by Neil and Christine Hamilton and sold her story to a national newspaper. She went to jail and has thankfully now faded into obscurity. Her story should be a lesson to those who tell lies: eventually you get caught.
He’s a harmless sort but like most who go on reality television, he takes “fame” a little seriously. This The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) “star” likes to share revelations such as his best feature being his lips, how he’d like to trade places with HM The Queen, having slept with 5 women in a night and being on the verge of buying a £5.2 million Sunseeker yacht a little too freely. Oddly enough we’re yet to see this 20-something year old on a boat even a third of the size of Brenda’s.
Born in Israel, Maiman served in the Israel Defense Forces for 3 years but it is photography that is his true passion. This New Yorker has exhibited in collaboration with Richard Young and Stephen Webster and his continuing journey will no doubt be utterly fascinating.
“Lucky,” as he was known to his friends, was a man whose luck ran out on the 8th November 1974. A prolific gambler, Lord Lucan disappeared following the killing of his children’s nanny and he was subsequently declared legally dead in October 1999. Conspiracy theories as to his supposed whereabouts continue to this day. Amongst the most ludicrous are that Arnold Schwarzenegger murdered him and that he’s hiding out in Kenya. This is a mystery that is unlikely ever to be solved.
You won’t meet a maître d’ like him. Scomparin does a mean Liverpudlian impression and following a stint at the now defunct Ilia, he’s moving on to pastures new. An evening in his company is always going to be jolly.
Swedish Konjic fitted engines for Volvo and was a cocktail waiter before being discovered by Gucci. Handsomely paid as a model, he’s now half of what the Evening Standard describe as: “Fashion’s hottest couple” (with Julia Restoin Roitfeld, daughter of former editor-in-chief of Vogue, Carine Roitfeld).