You can take the boy out of Barnes but… well, actually maybe not. In between promoting ‘Tenet’ and being Batman in the DC reboot, Robert Pattinson headed back to his old Thames-side stamping ground to reopen Barnes’s The Olympic Studios in time to show, well, ‘Tenet’. Anything Tom Cruise can do and all that… Pattinson plays a dapper intelligence operative in Christopher Nolan’s epic, mind-scrambling blockbuster and pretty much steals the show. For his next trick, he’ll be reinventing Bruce Wayne in Matt Reeves’s ‘The Batman’. The Olympic, a three-screen independent cinema, is the latest in London to reopen post-lockdown. BFI Southbank follows suit on Tuesday, September 1. Early tickets sales suggest that audiences are returning to London cinemas – specifically to see ‘Tenet’ – in numbers. Odeon BFI Imax, which is showing ‘Tenet’ in 70mm, sold out its Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night screenings, while Mile End’s Genesis is reporting sell-out screenings of the blockbuster – albeit at reduced capacity for social distancing purposes.
‘Our 35mm screening reached capacity hours in advance yesterday,’ says Genesis general manager Matt Whiteley. ‘Around 80 percent of our sales for the opening few days have come as pre-bookings which is a change from pre-lockdown and it enables us to keep queues at our bar, kitchen and kiosk to a minimum.’
At Dalston’s Rio Cinema, evening screenings of ‘Tenet’ are selling out – last night’s included. ‘It was a return to the cinema for so many people,’ says Rio manager Tim Stevens. ‘They came in groups, they all used the bar, everyone took the rules seriously, and a sell out audience loved being back.’
While ‘Tenet’ is the biggest game in town for the moment – Odeon has 10,000 ‘Tenet’ showtimes scheduled across the UK – Peckhamplex chairman John Reiss cautions that more big releases will be needed in the weeks ahead. ‘Opening admission levels are pleasing but it is far too early to forecast the next weeks and months,’ says Reiss. ‘Much will depend on the flow of films and distributors need to be bold and supportive of exhibition.’ If you’re planning to make a return to the cinema, book ahead. And take a face mask, of course.
What was your first experience of Notting Hill Carnival like?
‘It was about six months after I met my husband [the late Vernon Williams, one of the co-founders of Notting Hill Carnival] in 1975. That was when I learned he had connections to Trinidad and he had brought a costume band. I went with him, and I couldn’t believe that there were costumes or Carnival, or anything happening in London, I was so excited. I felt very proud that they had taken the trouble to bring the art into London, and share with everybody what was so important in our Trinidad culture. That was my first important memory of Notting Hill.’
What’s your definition of mas, and what it means to play mas?
‘I’m a Trinidadian and Carnival is an integral part of our lives. It’s a significant legacy that we have been handed from our Black history, it’s part of our heritage. In Trinidad and most of the Caribbean offshoots of Carnival, the origins stem from the emancipation of slavery. A lot of the traditions, and even the music that we still play now, stemmed from these African slaves trying to communicate because they were forbidden to by the white slave masters. They started their own forms of celebration and communication through some of the characters we still portray today. That’s why I think it’s essential. You could look at it like Christmas or Eid or Diwali. It’s almost like a religion for us, and it needs to be celebrated. We need to understand where we’ve come from so that we can really understand where we’re going.’
What is different about Notting Hill Carnival, compared to other Carnival celebrations across the world?
‘In London it’s quite different because it’s much more inclusive. We have a lot of different traditions that are encompassed within the Notting Hill Carnival scene, like the Brazilian bands. All sorts of people use Notting Hill Carnival as a platform and I think it’s important. The Carnival is not indigenous to London, so we have to bring elements to it that are important to us.’
You work with your daughter to create costume designs for Genesis. What’s it like working together as a Notting Hill Carnival family?
‘It’s exciting. We must be quite rare, to have children work so closely. It’s very important to us. My husband introduced me to Carnival when we met, and I was so in awe of all the talent that I saw from that time. Those were some of the reasons that made us start our own band [Genesis Mas]. I just felt like I had won the lottery when I met my husband because he was a fellow Trinidadian. I was so excited that somebody could share the culture with me, and when I found out he was a designer himself, that was like heaven. So that was something I wanted my children to be very much steeped in, our legacy. The life we both came from. And they did, they are prolific pan players, and my daughter is a genius designer. She learned all of it from her dad. I felt so lucky that they adopted and embraced our culture, even though they were born here.’
Do you find it makes it easier, or harder, to design as a team with your own daughter?
‘It makes it easier. I think it has brought us a lot closer. If I tried to interpret something and I said “look, that is not going to work”, she would modify that design. I make things and I put them on her. I’ll say “nobody is going to go on the road looking like that. Make it aesthetically pleasing, as well as comfortable to wear”. We can do that 24/7. I don’t have to wait to make an appointment, and she doesn’t have to either. She just says “mum I’m coming over, I don’t like how this looks”. It’s a really wonderful working relationship we have.’
As Carnival is not taking place on the streets this year, what would you like people to reflect on, and understand about Notting Hill Carnival?
‘I would like the public to appreciate the art, and understand that Carnival is a creative art. Some of us are passionate about it because it’s part of our heritage, others do it as a business enterprise, so a lot of the costumes are coming from different perspectives.
I once did the opening ceremony speech for Notting Hill Carnival. I had ten minutes. I was told, people are always asking “why do we bother? Why are we on the streets?”. So I framed my little talk around that, about the legacy, the Caribbeans and the Africans, and about the celebration of freedom and so on. About two hours later I saw these women running towards me on the street. This woman came up to me with some of her friends and said “I’m sorry to bother you and your band but I heard you this morning, and do you know it was the most amazing thing I’d ever heard? I had no idea why the Notting Hill Carnival goes on. I was one of those people who said “why do they bother?”. But it was so enlightening, and I now understand what it means.” That made my day. There must be hundreds of thousands of people like her. We need to send that message.’
Genesis Mas Band is scheduled to perform on the Parade Channel of this year’s online Notting Hill Carnival, Sun Aug 30 and Mon Aug 31, streaming 12pm-8pm daily. Find out more here.
For more timings and schedule details on the online Notting Hill Carnival, check outour guide.
As you probably already know, Italy is a spectacular country to visit and live in. From the top of the boot to Sicily, there’s such a wide variety of Italian towns, cities, and landscapes to see that you could spend a lifetime seeing them. To help you choose (or to overwhelm you even more), we’ve compiled a list of the 15 places to visit in Italy, excluding the well-travelled Rome, Florence, and Venice travel circuit.
Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and updated for accuracy
15 Places to Visit in Italy
The tortuous road winding above the sea from Naples to the towns dotting the Amalfi Coast might just be the most beautiful (and white-knuckled) road you’ll ever take. The towns careen down the cliffs and are pushed up to the sea by the mountains, creating some spectacular views. The best towns to stay in are Atrani, Amalfi, or Ravello.
Ask most Italians and they’ll tell you that Bologna has some of the best food in Italy. After feasting on cured meats and egg pasta, walk it off in this liberal-leaning student town. Visit the stunning medieval old town, with its arcades and 22 towers and you’ll understand why Bologna’s nicknamed is ”La turrita”
Here’s another one of those quaint postcard places featuring hills and sea. If you go, walk the paths between towns, and try to do it in the offseason. Don’t miss the authentic pasta al pesto: one of the most famous Italian recipe it’s actually native of this region!
Skiing in winter, hiking in summer, the rocky peaks of the Dolomites are Italy’s favorite mountains. Find yourself a charming agriturismo and breath the fresh mountain air. After the exercise, it’s time for a reward: cheese, polenta, ravioli, strudel, and craft beer should be enough!
Island hopping in the Aeolian Islands
If you thought island hopping was a Greek thing, think again. The Aeolian Islands are among the most incredible places to visit in Italy. These volcanic rocky beauties north of Sicily still have spots where you can drop out of time. Fresh swordfish and eggplants should do the rest.
Isola del Giglio
Perhaps, most people know about this corner of paradise because of the sinking cruise ship back in 2012. It took a few years to remove it but now the island is back to its magnificence. Off Tuscany’s coast, this small island is a perfect getaway from the bustle of the mainland. Go snorkeling, eat fresh fish and laze under the sun with only Italian tourists on site. Speaking of islands, this is absolutely one of the best places to visit in Italy!
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The Italian lakes
Far up near the Italian Alps, there are more gorgeous lakes than just Lago di Como—famous for being George Clooney’s favorite. Lago Maggiore, Lago d’Orta, and Lago di Garda all have charming towns clutched to their shores and pristine waters.
Down in Puglia, Lecce is a pretty Baroque city that doesn’t see great masses of tourists. From Lecce, explore Italy’s heel, called the Salento, where a relaxed, thoroughly Italian pace of life pervades all year round.
This walled town sits between Pisa and Florence and makes for a great Tuscan alternative. Impressive churches, narrow streets, and tasty local specialties. If you’re looking for the typical dreamy Tuscan town, Lucca could be the ideal place to visit in Italy!
Once you are in Matera, you’ll discover that you’ve never been anywhere quite like it. It’s known for its cave-houses that run up and down the two sides of the hill, where many of Matera’s residents live. Stay in a troglodyte house or hotel and live like the locals.
Live it up with the rich and famous on Sardinia’s sands. The cerulean waters are absolutely to die for in the summer when Italians and many others come to worship sun, sea, and delicious Sardinian food. Looking for Carebian style crystal water? Sardinia is no doubt the place to visit in Italy.
One of the jewels of Umbria, Perugia fills up in the summer for the Umbria jazz festival and in the autumn for the European chocolate fest. All other times of the year it’s a sleepy college town situated on top of a hill that overlooks the rolling Umbrian countryside.
When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D., the busy towns of Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum were covered with lava and preserved for history. It is an edifying and enlightening experience to walk through the streets, shops, houses, and baths and imagine how they were during the height of the rich Roman Empire.
Abruzzo’s National Park
If Italy seems strikingly void of nature for your taste, then head to the National Park in Abruzzo. The mountain terrain is some of the wildest in the country, and many people come to try to spot its indigenous bear (with a guide of course!). If you are looking for a non-touristy destination, this is THE place to visit in Italy!
It would be a shame to leave Italy without spending some time in the Tuscan countryside. Especially since there are so many to choose from. Take your pick of Volterra, Montalcino, Montepulciano, or San Gimignano. And don’t forget to try the wine! Tuscany is a great stop for your roadtrip through Italy – don’t miss our list of some of the best road trips in Italy which includes a drive through Tuscany
That’s a small list of ideas for your next trip to Italy. If you want to get even more insights for the perfect trip, be sure to take an Italian food tour with Eating Europe. It’s a great way to learn about the culture and cuisine as you explore new places.
Travellers returning from any of those countries must provide an address where they will self-isolate for 14 days (or risk a fine of up to £1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or £480 in Scotland). During those two weeks, they cannot go to work, school or any public place, nor have visitors – except for essential support.
So which badly-afflicted countries could be next? Grant Shapps, the British transport secretary, suggested on August 14 that any country recording more than 20 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period could lead to quarantine measures being reintroduced.
‘With France and these other countries, Netherlands and elsewhere, the numbers have now just gone above the threshold, which is about 20 cases per 100,000, but measured on a seven-day rolling average,’ Shapps told the BBC.
Looking at updated figures, countries still on the travel corridor list that appear to have higher levels than the UK currently include Sweden (37), Iceland (31), the Czech Republic (35), Denmark (27), Ireland (27), Poland (26), Bulgaria (25) and Cyprus (24). Greece’s cumulative number of cases has more than quadrupled in less than a month, from seven to 29 cases per 100,000. (The UK figure is 23.)
Another indication, meanwhile, is whether Scotland has already acted in adding a country to its own ‘quarantine’ list (as it did, for example, before Spain was removed from England’s travel-corridor list). As of last week, travellers coming into Scotland from Switzerland are required to self-isolate for 14 days. The country’s cases have soared to 21 per 100,000 over seven days, and it is likely to be among the next batch of nations added to England’s list, according to The Times.
As for the other destinations, if those trajectories continue, then it is possible the government could bring back a travel quarantine. So basically: think very carefully (and look hard at the stats) before you book a foreign holiday in the weeks and months to come.
I’ve always felt like the most average person on the planet. I’ve tried my hand at loads of stuff over the years, but I’ve never been able to find my hidden talent. I’ve tried drawing (other than a half-decent Darth Maul when I was 12, no joy there), drumming (using both hands and both feet? Madness), fencing (let’s not go there) and fishing (eight sessions, zero catches). I couldn’t even make the A team at football and MY dad was the manager. So, as you can tell, bang-average (or worse) is pretty much where I’m at.
Then lockdown happened. Suddenly there were more hours in the day than I knew what to do with – a uniquely rare opportunity to get really good at something. So, naturally, I spent this time watching Louis Theroux documentaries and eating Kettle Chips by the bag. Then it hit me: I could greedily exploit Time Out’s partnerships in the world of celeb-studded online courses to make myself talented. After all, if Gordon Ramsay can’t teach me to cook, what hope is there? So, this is it. Through the power of MasterClass, I’m going to get good at one thing a week. Well, I’ll try at least.
Week two: Gordon Ramsay teaches cooking
You know how some people have a natural chemistry with cooking, a bit like an artist with a blank canvas? Yeah, that’s not me. It’s not that I am a terrible cook, I just have no feel for it whatsoever. When the method says ‘cook until lightly browned’ I immediately freeze. What kind of brown? Copper? Is copper even brown? I have no idea. So I’ve mostly stuck to the chief pot washer rôle. Until this week, that is. Let’s give it a go.
The course: If there was any doubt that it is the actual Gordon Ramsay presenting this course, it quickly evaporates when he starts dropping F-bombs every other sentence. That, combined with his soul-piercing stare and some overly-dramatic opening music, is enough to convince me I am going to be a good cook. Out of fear, if nothing else.
As I get through the initial lessons, Ramsay tells me a great cook needs great equipment. Good non-stick pots and pans, a high-quality knife collection, even a blowtorch and a smoking gun. Well clearly Gordon has never seen the kitchen in my student-esque house but I’m not even sure we have a potato peeler, let alone a bloody blowtorch. Nonetheless, I feel like I’ve learnt the basics and I’m ready to get going.
The meal: I’ve decided to start simple: poached egg with mushrooms and bacon on brioche toast. I’m sorry. I know you probably wanted me to attempt something like a leg of lamb, but in case you missed last week’s lesson, I’m already £30 in the hole, so egg it is. Also cooking the perfect poached egg is something that’s always eluded me, so I’m eager to master it.
It starts out pretty easy. I’ve got all the prep nailed, cutting with the proper technique. The bacon has cooked until browned (I hope) and the mushrooms are in there, too. I’m tossing them around the pan like a pro. Then I have to get the toast under the grill just before the egg goes in and the pressure ramps up. It’s all going on at once and it’s a lot to handle. With the water swirling like a whirlpool, the egg goes in. I’m sweating bullets now. Then the white wraps around the yolk like a beautiful Christmas present and I’m over the moon. Here we are, the finished dish.
The verdict: This is easily the most successful MasterClass I have done (did you not see that poachie?). I know it’s not very impressive to those of you who knock up stellar dishes every day but for me, it’s a big win. Granted, it took me about half an hour to do what Gordon manages in just eight minutes, but I’m chuffed. The egg is nice and runny, the mushrooms and bacon are salty and delicious and the perfectly-brown toast soaks up all the goodness. I even had my girlfriend verify the taste in case I was on some kind of post-cooking high. Two thumbs up. Thank you, Gordon. It might only be one (pretty simple) dish, but damn it, I CAN COOK.