Jasmine’s Juice-7 need to know facts about the KOOZA show, by Cirque Du Soleil, at the Royal Albert Hall.

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The Cirque Du Soleil troupe do an annual residency each January in London, and this month its all about their KOOZA show – which is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil, combining the two circus traditions of acrobatics and clowning in spectacular style. It tells the story of The Innocent; a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world, through contortionists, trapeze artists, the high wire and the breath-taking Romanesque gladiator soldiers on the ‘Wheel of Death’. Accompanied by a live band and singers, these are the facts you need to know.

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1. IT’S A REAL CIRCUS, BUT MODERN.

A traditional circus is a company of performers that usually includes clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, hoops, tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists and big stunts.

Cirque has all these but the vamped up, new world contemporary versions that are based solely on human skills. That means no animals. (Unless you count the giant man dressed as a dog). The jokes are a bit old and predictable but the talent makes up for those flat moments. I’d love them to tech it up a bit and have the flying trapeze artist wear a go-pro for the giant screen so that we could all experience her flight around the venue and feel nauseous.

2. THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL IS A GREAT VENUE FOR A CIRCUS, BUT CIRQUE IS NOT A GREAT PERFORMANCE FOR THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL.

Even though the circus genre has always been in the round, this performance at RAH seems to have catered for only seats front and centre. When the clowns attempt to mime their storylines, its tough to follow when sat behind them whilst unable to see their facial expressions. Also, all the formation dancers, audience interaction and dance patterns are choreographed for a proscenium arch stage, not in the round.
So yes, even though I was in a fancy grand tier box with all the trimmings of a waiter, food and champagne I still had a bad seat. #FirstWorldProblems

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3. IF YOU’RE GOING TO SEE A CIRCUS SHOW, THIS IS THE ONE TO SEE.

Over 30 years old, Cirque Du Soleil s the largest theatrical producer in the world, with performers that hail from all across the globe. The shows employ approximately 4,000 people from over 40 countries and generates an estimated annual revenue exceeding £600million.

My very politically incorrect music industry rock and roll legend guest said ‘’you can tell they’re all from circus countries’’. After challenging him, telling him off and googling to check, he retorted ‘’see, I told you, India, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia’’.

The Cirque Du Soleil site takes around eight days to construct and three days to pack up. Anywhere from 50–75 large tractor-trailer containers are necessary to transport the vast amount of equipment. Five generators are used to provide electricity to the site. So it’s a very big pimping, bling bling standard of burlesque, cabaret, clowning and acrobatics, hence it has a big reputation as an International brand.

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4. THE TEARS OF A CLOWN IS REAL THING, EVERYONE HATES ON THE CLOWNS.

You can’t have a circus without a clown, but ever since I can remember, clowns have had a rough ride. From having to load their faces up with tonnes of white paint and screw their hair up, to wearing shoes that don’t fit, and their job title being a phrase that we now use as an insult. A clown is meant to be a comic performer who uses slapstick and mime to generate laughter but alas at KOOZA the audience used their clowns entrance cue to visit the bathrooms.

In my lifetime clowns have mostly made toddlers cry, generated fear in adults, and in this show are reduced to keeping us distracted whilst the rest of the cast prepare the stage for the next set, for the performers that will make us gasp, point and clutch our hands to our faces. Whilst the opening act of trampolining clowns being flipped into the air sets the scene well, the continuous slapstick and gurning can get a bit tiresome. Clownphobia sucks.

Everyone used to love clowns; they made people laugh smile and mesmerised us, now they are the scourges of the circus word. In this ever fast paced society we want the big stunts and need to gasp with our hearts racing before we will confess to being entertained. Are you not entertained asked Maximus Decimus Meridius and Jay Z. No, not when the clowns are on we’re not.

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5. THE SHOW IS BURSTING WITH FIT, LITHE BODIES THAT WILL MAKE YOU LUST AND FEEL BUSTED.

Turning up in London in January straight after Christmas whilst the rest of us have stuffed our faces and turned into Sherman Klump and Big Mama is just cruel and frankly, offensive.
The perfectly shaped, gymnastic bodies of the contortionist trio, in skin clutching lycra catsuits, have to be seen to be believed, as they bent and twisted themselves into all kinds of knots and human balancing pyramids. It made my ashtanga and bikram class poses look lame.

The strength of the elegant unicyclist, unperturbed by a young woman standing unaided on his head, is not something I see daily in my 9-5, so pretty damn impressive.

If you like parkour free running and BMX stunt ariel displays, then you’ll love the olde worlde originators. A quartet of high-wire performers skips, and then cycles, along wires of different heights with no safety net. We squinted our eyes to try and make out any fake trickery, but it was all for real. For real.

‎The Wheel of Death was without question the most impressive act of the show, and something I can guarantee most people will have never seen before. Two giant hamster wheels are held at the end of a turning bar. Two men walk, run, flip and more inside the separate wheels, and they make the whole device circle. Like human hamsters in giant wheels. Then they run on the outside, keeping their balance on a spinning wheel that is itself swung through space at break-neck speed. At one point they began SKIPPING on the top of the revolving wheel that’s spinning at and one guy stumbled and caught himself. I’m still cynical as to whether this was intentional to make the whole venue gasp simultaneously at the death defying risk. This set was like the James Bond opening sequence of free running from Casino Royale.

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6. THE NEGATIVE.

The running order should have been spread better. Part one feels a lil bland and flat, but persevere as part two is worth it! In fact, part one is so different that part two could’ve been a totally different company onstage.

Only go if you have center seats, as much of the show depends on you being able to see the action from the front, and the side angle view misses crucial moments.

A month and a half is a long time for the same intensely physical how to be at the same venue. I went half way through the run and the cast and audience felt lethargic. Go with loads of family and friends and make a lot of noise, get involved. The cast can only give back energy that they feel from their audience and vica-versa.

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7. TALENT LIKE THIS IS TRULY UNIQUE AND SHOULD BE VALUED AND RESPECTED MORE THAN YOUR AVERAGE.

Its well known in the arts and creative industries that it takes either 10 years of heavy graft or 10,000 hours of intense training to ‘make it’ in any field.

Clearly once you’ve made it as a music star or film star, you need to keep your ‘’instrument’’ tuned but you can probably fall into old die-hard habits that come naturally. These performers cannot take their eye off the ball for a nano-second, or they are literally, dead.

If a singer has a lapse onstage and forgets their song lyrics, they pull out the age-old tried and tested hold mic out to audience to sing-along. Lose concentration as a part of Cirque Du Soleil or miss a timing cue, and it’s a broken neck or cracked skull before bedtime.

The cast’s A GAME and focus has to be respected. Congratulations to all the magnificent performers, they all deserve awards. But as you and I know, they are just faceless talent. The star is Cirque.

Cirque du Soleil is performing KOOZA at Royal Albert Hall until February 19th. Grab some good seats now!

Jasmine’s Juice- Life Is A Cabaret Birthday Dinner Party. #JasminesBurlesqueBirthday

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Life is a cabaret my friends, so this weekend just gone I decided to celebrate my birthday, by gathering my nearest and dearest for a small group dinner and burlesque adventure, at Proud Cabaret in the city.

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As you can imagine, the ladies were intrigued and my male friends? Well, they didn’t take much persuading to eat, whilst feasting their eyes on semi naked ladies twirling their nipple tassels with wild abandon and call it an artistic evening.

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My circle of friends knows me for uniting them annually for my earth day, with a number of novelty celebrations over the years. So far we’ve had pyjama parties in my THE WORD days, underwear parties (in our youth when all was skinny and pert), geisha girls and pimps (where superstars Usher, Joe, Lennox Lewis, Damage and more partied), Motown (where everyone who’s anyone in #TeamUK got very sweaty all night), eighties old skool hip-hop (ditto!), black and white rat pack karaoke and more.

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JASMINE WITH NAUGHTY BOY.

I came about the idea of burlesque, after my London360 reporter Ellie Holland made a TV report about feminism and the burlesque movement.
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It looked classy and fun and not cheap and sexist, as I’d imagined.
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A quick e mail to 40 mates later and we were all dressed in 1920’s burlesque and glam Hollywood gear, and Charleston-ed our way down three flights of stairs in the city to an underground, smoky jazz club style venue.

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The venue is a secret hidden 1920’s speakeasy style lounge. All plush red velvet seating, every shade of lilac décor with gold trim and waitresses wearing nothing but basque’s, stockings and corsets, we were immediately whisked into another world with cocktails thrust into our excited fingers, with no phone signal or wireless for a whole evening of fun and frolics.

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Our personal waiter / maitre’ d for the night was a very polite, helpful chap called Valerio, who showed us into our VIP area. 40 of us were split between five separate booths. We were told that some seated 10 guests, but honestly eight was tight. So much so that when pop stars Naughty Boy, Emeli Sande and Zayn from One Direction arrived fashionably late, all the seats were taken, so they went to the bar, bought me a bottle of Dom P, drank a glass to toast and then politely scooted back to their studio session.

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All the guests had really made an effort to follow the 1920’s theme including actress and singer Preeya Kalidas and Celena Cherry-lead singer from the Honeyz, both brought their male guests who looked like original spat wearing jazz dancers.

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PREEYA AND CELENA WORK IT.

PR ladies Jodie Dalmeda, Jessica Huie MBE and Vannessa Amadi all looked elegant, MOBO CEO Kanya King was dressed to impress in a sparkly gold number, Laura Mvula’s manager Kwame rocked a sherbet coloured suit with his lovely wifey Maura in polka dots, RADA actor Jarren C didn’t need to act to become a strong, silent gangsta.

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FORMER D’INFLUENCE MEMBER / LAURA MVULA MANAGER- KWAME KWATEN AND WIFE.

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MOBO CEO KANYA WITH PREEYA AND DIANE HENRY.

Former rapper Cookie from Cookie Crew, BBC Marketing exec Jay Davidson and the two Adidas top ladies Poala Lucktung and Aisha Badmus danced wildly whilst taking selfies. Photographers Paul H and Richard Pascoe snapped away whilst looking like James Bond.

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Also in the house were my best mate since I was ten years old Anita, music industry legend Jack Stevens and his very fly young,hipster daughter Isabella, ITV’s Monique Richards, celebrity yoga instructor Marcia Sharp, Interscope Productions founder Troy Davis, music manager and clothing founder JP, Media Trust ladies Naomi and Elizabeth, director of Ida Pods Marsha Eberendu with her hubby, and many, many more.

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Dinner we were promised was ‘the best food’ in the form of a three-course meal, which each guest had already pre-ordered via e-mail as instructed the week before. Alas, two days beforehand we were apologetically informed that the wrong menu had been sent out and would we mind choosing again. No, we didn’t mind. So on the day, when informed by Valerio that he would have to take each guests orders AGAIN in person, it was all confused.com. Some of the food orders weren’t correct and two guests had uncooked through chicken satay’s brought to them! Eventually though things came through. The food’s not the best, with dishes with akin to a lonely, small piece of fish with no accompaniments and #sataygate, but that aside, the whole nights experience was on the whole, much fun.

The very politically incorrect show narrator and guide was a cross between The Joker and Julian Clary and very fast, cutting and as expected deliciously vulgar.

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The show happened simultaneously to the dinner courses being served. To begin with we had a very happy, smiley, seductive dancer with giant feathered fans doing her Dita Von Teese thing before ending up in just a sequined thong and twirling nipple tassles. She was followed by a more serious, intense, tattooed lithe body that jerked and danced exotically and was very mesmerizing.

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Halfway through dinner I was asked to go upstairs, as there was a guest that was at the door. I knew something was up when photographer extraordinaire Paul H accompanied me too. It was film producer Pikki Fearon (who had been involved in a motorbike accident 11 years ago and wheelchair bound ever since), with two bottles of champagne. He had come to surprise me and thank me for my help in helping him secure 450,000 tweets last week, which enabled funders to donate a bionic walking machine-that usually costs £100k – to him. He had only been required to generate 50,000 tweets so this was an incredible feat, and really showed how social media can be used to do good and change peoples lives.

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JASMINE WITH FILM PRODUCER PIKKI.

After dinner, the dj threw on classic and current party tracks and we were all dancing on podiums and misbehaving as encouraged. This venue could be really, uber cool but still lacks tiny management touches that could bring it better business and bigger brand profile. Check it out though, its a riot and an unforgetable night out.

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JASMINE’S JUICE- Preeya Kalidas To Star in West Ends New ‘Bend It Like Beckham’.

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JASMINE WITH PREEYA – STAR OF NEW WEST END MUSICAL ‘BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM’.

British actress and singer Preeya Kalidas is no stranger to the West End stage. The former Eastender whose other credits also includes film Four Lions, BBC Bodies, Britz,Mistresses, started her career as creating the lead in original production of hit Andrew Lloyd Webber / AR Rahman musical ‘Bombay Dreams’, will soon be starring in the West End’s newest addition, ‘Bend It Like Beckham – The Musical’.

Having starred in the original film, Preeya is the only returning cast member for the musical adaptation of Gurinder Chadha’s BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated ‘Bend It Like Beckham’. Having originally played ‘Monica’ in the film, Preeya returns to the musical as marriage obsessed, sister of Jess , ‘Pinky’.

Speaking of the new musical, Preeya says: “I was excited to be in ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ the film as I knew what a special project it was going to be, so I am delighted to be working with Gurinder and her team again on the musical which is set to make you cry, laugh and dance with fantastic music from some of the industry’s leading figures”

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PREEYA WITH FILM DIRECTOR GURINDER CHADHA.

‘Bend It Like Beckham – The Musical’ will be written and directed by Gurinder Chadha, who also made the 2002 movie starring Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley. The musical will be produced by multi Oliver award winning Sonia Friedman Productions.

The musical will retell the story of teenager ‘Jess’, a Punjabi Sikh who loves football but is forbidden to play by her parents.

Chadha has written the script for the show with Paul Mayeda Berges, who also worked on the film.

“Developing Bend It Like Beckham for the stage has been the most enjoyable creative process of my career so far,” Chadha said.

“It was always my intention to build on the film and to present its themes and storylines to live audiences in an exciting new dynamic way. I believe we are presenting a totally new kind of musical – part West End, part London Punjabi, but whole-heartedly British.”

‘Bend It Like Beckham – The Musical’ will open at the Phoenix Theatre on 24 June, with previews from 15 May.
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MAKE SURE YOU BOOK YOUR TICKETS!

JASMINE’S JUICE – Help #TeamUK Film Producer Pikki Walk Again TODAY With A Tweet!

pikki vid from MT Private on Vimeo.

This video shows pikki using the robot technology that has helped him walk for the first time in 11 years.

Today, you can help change someone’s quality of life, using the power of social media.

If I told you that simply by tweeting one tweet and having a friend do the same, you will dramatically change someone’s life would you help me?

We are all quick to spread viral videos that are funny, horrific, awesome and more but one click today could help someone walk independently again.

My friend, film producer Pikki Fearon was in accident 11years ago that left him in a wheelchair.

Nicholas Fearon known as ‘Pikki’, who broke his back in 2004, was told he would never walk again, but with his sheer determination Pikki turned his life around and has gone on to produce highly acclaimed feature films ‘Rollin With The Nines.’ and ‘Dead Man Running’. Keen to help others with spinal injuries Pikki is a regular visitor and mentor at Aspire, preparing for the Rio Paralympics in 2016 and inspiring people with disabilities to make the most of their lives by sharing his own personal experiences.

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PIKKI WITH 50 CENT WHEN THEY MADE THEIR FILM ‘DEAD MAN RUNNING’

Now there’s a new robotic machine, which will help Pikki walk again. REX Bionics & Robot Assisted therapy will change his life but it’s EXPENSIVE.

Today at 4pm in Harrow, Pikki will walk in front of press using Robot Assisted Physiotherapy (RAP) Using REX Technology at Aspire. Aspire is a national charity that provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury.

Aspire, PhysioFunction and Rex Bionics want to support as many people as possible with mobility impairments and give those who could benefit from Robot Assisted Physiotherapy a chance to do so by launching an appeal to raise funds to purchase a REX device.

During Robot-Assisted Physiotherapy (RAP), REX lifts patients from a sitting position into a robot-supported standing position, allowing them to take part in a set of supported walking and stretching exercises designed by specialist physiotherapists.

Wheelchair users are at risk of developing numerous medical complications from extended periods of sitting. By enabling them to spend more time standing, walking and exercising, REX may offer significant health benefits, including improved cardiovascular performance, maintenance of joint range, and a reduction in infections.

London-based film producer Pikki, will walk with the support of the REX robot for the first time since he battled back from life threatening injuries sustained in an accident 11 years ago.
Pikki, who is the first person use this new technology told me “Standing and walking again in REX felt weird and wonderful but natural at the same time. It’s fantastic to be back at eye level with everyone again”.

If everyone tweets ‪#‎PikkiCanWalk‬ today, funders could change Pikkis life. ‪#‎doSomethingBrilliant‬ with social media today!!!

We need 50,000 tweets today that say #PikkiCanWalk. Please do anything u can to spread the word.

Every eight hours in the UK someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. We can help them go from injury to independence.

I thank all of you in advance- I really appreciate your support.
This story will also be on ITV News tonight at 6pm.

Aspire (www.aspire.org.uk)

• Aspire is a national charity that provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury, supporting them from injury to independence.
• Aspire’s services include: Aspire Grants, Aspire Housing, Independent Living, Welfare Benefits Advice, Assistive Technology, Campaigning and Research.

JASMINE’S JUICE-MTV BRAND NEW, ADIDAS CHRISTMAS, SNOWMAN AND ST PAUL’S ORCHESTRA, 007/ BELVEDERE VIP PARTY.

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GEORGE THE POET IS ON MTV BRAND NEW’S LIST FOR 2015- HERE HE IS PERFORMING AT THEIR PARTY.

It’s the time of year when all the big brands put out their end of year lists. Lists of the most googled, best and worst dressed, films of the year and what to look for in 2015. This fortnight both the BBC and MTV released their ‘’ones to blow in 2015’’ lists. MTV launched their list with a party and performances at their annual Brand New party at Dstrkt in town.

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LAST YEAR’S MTV BRAND NEW NOMINEE KWABS SINGS AT THE PARTY.

Both last year’s nominee Kwabs and this year’s nominee George The Poet performed very powerful sets to rapturous applause. Personally I feel like George already blew this year as anyone and everyone has featured him on TV, radio, live shows and print press. MTV would’ve impressed me more if they’d have added new act Stomzy or similar. But all good. Georges profile so far has been national and hopefully MTV’s co-signing will lead to more international presence for this very talented young man and his fellow Brand New peers.

ADIDAS CHRISTMAS SOIREE

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Next Adidas threw a very small, intimate Christmas party at a real home on the south bank where their very close ambassadors enjoyed a very serene, warm, cosy house party style evening with food flowing from the kitchen, a giant Christmas tree and goody bags full of adidas superstars sneakers on exit. Attendees included comedian Eddie Kadi, film director Mo Ali, J2K, singers Shingai (Noisettes), Terri Walker, Roses Gabor, DJ Swerve, trainer Robert connoisseur Brooks, broadcaster Reg Yates and his lady beauty and fashion leader Tia Ward and many more.

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MY NIECE TIA WARD AND NOISETTES SINGER SHINGAI HAVE THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT.

We were even given the chance to paint our very own sneaker in the hallway. Food was by Roberts dub plate kitchen and included ‘one drop balls’- rice and peas and spicy daal in a crispy crumb, fish deep fried in red stripe batter, gungo peas humus and plantain strips, curry goat and plantain burger, chocolate and Guinness cheesecake. Hot mulled sorrel got everyone wavy and in the Christmas spirit!

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SHINGAI AND JAS GET INTO THE FESTIVE FUN!.

THE SNOWMAN AT QUEEN ELIZABETH HALL

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THE SNOWMAN AT QUEEN ELIZABETH HALL ACCOMPANIED BY ST PAULS ORCHESTRA AND MY FAVOURITE CONDUCTOR- BEN PALMER!

Clearly all festive minds align at the South Bank….I was invited to Queen Elizabeth Hall , again, on the Southbank to watch The Snowman movie accompanied by St Paul’s orchestra and the story of Peter and the Wolf narrated to a family audience. It was fascinating to see toddlers as young as three and early teenagers et their first experiences of classical music in a theatre setting. It was fascinating to see after a Noisy restless start by the kids in the audience it only took a couple of minutes for the rowdiness to settle down and hypnotize the children into the experience. There were Family unit’s everywhere. Grandparents. Parents. Friends, godparents and more. A whole vast side of society that us yummy media types without kids never collide with.

Last week dame Janet Suzman caused uproar by suggesting that theatre audiences weren’t as racially diverse as theatre wasn’t a part of ethnic culture. I laughed as I heard that as so many theatres like Shepherds Bush Empire and Hackney Empire are packed to the rafters for black comedy and black theatre nights. However, I spotted only a handful of BAME faces at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, which made me, wonder why people of colour don’t seek out amazing experiences like this for their children more often.

The story of Peter and the Wolf was told magically with a velvet voiced female narrator and the animated conductor Ben Palmer, explaining the story via the musical instruments of the Orchestra of St Pauls. They explained to the young audience that the parts of different story characters, would be told by the instruments. For example, the Bird would be portrayed by the soaring notes of the flute, the Duck would be played by the waddling oboe, the Cat by the leaping, pouncing the clarinet, the Wolf by the menacing French horns and the main role of Peter by the inquisitive, playful strings. As a fun way of Introducing kids and toddlers to music and the theatrical experience it was over in a quick hour.

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BEN PALMER AND HIS ORCHESTRA TAKE A WELL DESERVED BOW!

In an age where music lovers often question why Classical music is not taught in schools as a priority anymore and pop stars like Laura Mvula and the BBC are collaborating to change this with projects like their Ten Pieces, which is ten pieces of music which will act as a gateway to children learning more about classical music and inspire them to use music as a stimulus for their own creativity. Ten Pieces is an ambitious initiative for primary schools, which aims to inspire a generation of children to get creative with classical music. With a range of online resources, UK-wide events and close collaboration with partners, every primary school across the UK will have the opportunity to take part. The ten pieces were announced at the launch of BBC Music, as the BBC renewed its commitment to music and announced a series of initiatives, including support for emerging talent, digital innovations, landmark programmes and live events.

Live events like The Snowman at Queen Elizabeth Hall are an excellent gateway to helping young people expand their horizons and start their cultural life early. Conductor Ben and his female narrator storyteller were like a rapper interacting with his DJ as they handed the story to and from one and other. It was also interesting watching that whilst the whole orchestra was lead by and controlled by Ben, his power was limited, as he was lead and controlled by the classic timing and narrative of the film projected on the giant screen.

MEDIA FAMILY DINNER

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My nearest and dearest friends from the industry across a 20 year period and I had our quarterly dinner where we share show and tell as well as debate anything and everything on the radar to industry chat, wheels and deals, new acts, management changes, world social debates and more. Should certain music stars speak on political and social issues? Who is newly signed and dropped? Are the protests across the world relevant here? Where is the future of our music going? It gets very rowdy!

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BELVEDERE PARTY

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THE NEW LIMITED EDITION OO7 BELVEDERE VODKA BOTTLE.

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I finished my week at the Belvedere Party at the London Film Museum, where an exclusive party to celebrate the coming together of two truly iconic brands in what will be one of the most talked about partnerships of 2015 took place.

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JAMES BOND CAR WITH GUNS, ROCKETS, BELLS AND WHISTLES WERE ALL ON DISPLAY, MINGLING WITH THE A LIST!

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You will already know that the 24th James Bond movie Spectre is coming next year. Well Belvedere have become a partner and so have made 100 limited edition vodka bottles lasered with 007 and the MI5 building on them. The bottle even glows!

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TINIE AND I CATCH UP.

In the house were supermodels like Lily Cole, DJing was Tinie Tempah and his uber manager Dumi, leaders of major brands and all the iconic James bond cars, planes and jet ski’s for us to fawn over and pose with.

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TINIE MAKES THE HNWI JUMP,JUMP!

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JASMINE’S JUICE- THE GODFATHER AT ROYAL ALBERT HALL.

Ever since I can recall, the men I have been surrounded by from family, to friends to work colleagues, to random strangers, have cited The Godfather as being ‘one of the best films ever’.

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I think it’s to do with the testosterone filled themes of loyalty, brotherhood, vengeance, manhood, and lawlessness and of course the bad boy swagger factor.

So when trying to get to grips with this movie from a female angle, the lure of viewing it on one of the biggest screens in the world, at one of the most stunning venues and accompanied by a live orchestra, the temptation was all too much.

The showing of The Godfather at the Royal Albert Hall accompanied by a live orchestra! Sounds dreamy right! The Godfather was the latest in a series of classic films with live orchestral accompaniment at the majestic venue.

I’m embarrassed to say I only recently came upon the fact that these film events happen at the venue, after living in west London my whole life. But now that I know, I’ve been raving about them and been a fan of the venues fabulous film events ever since. So far I’ve taken my mum (Gladiator), my Godchild (Frozen) and my partner (The Godfather)!

Mum and my other half had never been there before but the showing of many of the venues movie runs, like The Godfather live with orchestra, is a great example of something anyone from any background, class or culture would love. If you want to experience the Royal Albert Hall but aren’t sure if the events are for you this is the type of easy break-in event that would show you just how inclusive the venue is.

Only this week, after Asian actress Meera Syal appealed for theatres to look more to Asian audiences, all hell broke loose as One of Britain’s most distinguished actors dame Janet suzman, sparked controversy on Monday by claiming that “theatre is a white invention” and it is in the DNA of white people, but not of other people. “Theatre is a white invention, a European invention, and white people go to it. It’s in their DNA. It starts with Shakespeare,” Suzman said.

Before you could say Othello, talk radio and print press were up in arms, with the black community calling / writing in to state just how wrong Dame Suzman is.

There are many reasons London’s theatres aren’t filled with BAME audiences but this blog isn’t where I will address these issues aside from mentioning (cos I just can’t help myself) ….Often the content doesn’t speak to them. The tickets are pretty pricey. The plays aren’t promoted to these audiences. Audiences like to see themselves represented onstage too and so feel alienated when it’s a totally white cast. You only have to go to Hackney Empire or Shepherds Bush Empire on certain days to see the venues packed to the rafters for black comedy events by Alpo or Kojo, or plays by Angie Le Mar to see that there are huge ethnic audiences for theatre …but I digress!)

THE GODFATHER, released in 1972 to popular and critical acclaim, tells the story of the Corleones and their rivalry with other New York crime families between 1945 and 1955, as the title character (Marlon Brando) hands over the reins of power to his youngest son (Al Pacino). It also stars James Caan, John Cazale, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton; the film won three Academy Awards – including Best Picture and Best Actor (Marlon Brando) – and established Coppola’s reputation as one of the exciting new breed of directors who revolutionised Hollywood from the late-1960s onwards.

The opening shot of the film is a long, slow pullback, starting with a close-up of Bonasera, a character who is petitioning Don Corleone, and ending with the Godfather, seen from behind, framing the picture. This move, which lasts for about three minutes, was shot with a computer-controlled zoom lens and is even more impressive from any seat at the Royal Albert Hall, where frankly there’s not a bad seat in the house.

In 2008, an Empire magazine vote saw The Godfather named as the greatest film ever made, a distinction also awarded it by Entertainment Weekly and Metacritic. It came second in Sight & Sound’s 2002 list and Time Out’s 2003 readers’ poll, and is currently ranked at number two in IMDb’s all-time list.

Seeing this dramatic action resurrected in this electrifying venue is an experience in itself, but watching Composer Nino Rota’s dark, looming, elegant music come to life in front of you is mesmerising. His music for The Godfather, including its immortal Love Theme, was ranked at #5 in the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest scores ever written.

Conductor Justin Freer lead a live orchestra performing Nino Rota’s immortal score and the audience gave them a deserved outstanding ovation at the end.
Justin told us: “It is with great excitement that we are able to bring this masterful score and film to the Royal Albert Hall. That we are able to preserve and present some of the most cherished music in the history of our craft is both exhilarating and humbling. “There is little film music as instantly recognisable as Nino Rota’s opening music played on trumpet, and only a handful of films as masterfully made as The Godfather. The marriage of these two masterpieces on stage live at Royal Albert Hall will be something to remember.”

I don’t think The Godfather has ever been seen, or heard, like this before. All in all it was dramatic, surreal, breath taking, romantic and a classic experience set in stone. Watching the Corleone family on a 100-foot tall screen certainly beats the 50-inch screen that my uncle brags about.

If you’ve never been to the Royal Albert Hall for whatever reason think again. Future events include similar screenings of Gladiator, JJ Abrams’s Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, and West Side Story.

I’ve always been a great believer of gifting people experiences rather than materialistic things, and who isn’t into movies, music and gorgeously fab locations? It’s a triple threat winner!

JASMINE’S JUICE- MONTANA THE MOVIE!

December 11th see’s the release of the latest film by director Mo Ali titled Montana. I was lucky enough to attend the gala screening this past week.
(ALL MONTANA SET SHOTS COURTESY GARETH ROBERTS)

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JASMINE WITH DIRECTOR MO ALI AND ACTOR MCKELL DAVID AT THE GALA SCREENING OF MONTANA- OUT DECEMBER 11 IN CINEMAS.

The movie is based ‘In the mean streets of London’s East End’, where a former Serbian commando and a fourteen-year old boy plot revenge against a powerful crime lord and his ruthless lieutenants. As our heroes prepare to take on their enemies, the boy is mentored in the dark arts of assassination and learns the true meaning of friendship, honour and respect.

Shooting on Montana lasted for six weeks taking in locations all over London. Yes! Only six weeks! Four weeks pre production – six weeks shoot – incredible, no?
Director Mo Ali confided in me ‘’ we worked in the noisiest, coldest, sootiest places in London, Hackney, Poplar, Brick Lane, White Chapel and a sugar mill in Greenwich. But we had to shoot them at night-time, so for two weeks we would shoot 24 hours a day with two different crews, with different actors. The weather was freezing for the entire shoot, being one of the worst winters in memory. The grit and the grime that colours the film is genuine’’

montana poster

The film reminds me of early Guy Ritchie movies Snatch and Lock Stock with its action, thriller and cockney attitude- but for today’s generation, with todays pop culture influences and slanguage. Due to the fact that its directed by a black man and features a few well known BAME actors, no doubt this will be tagged an ‘’urban’’ film, but honestly, it sits in the genre of great grimy British movie too. Director Mo Ali isn’t phased by the urban label though ‘’ the Urban film brand, the word doesn’t bother me, the older generation sees it as negative, young kids love it, so I embrace it whatever’’.

Co-lead man McKell David is a very impressive young fourteen-year old, who plays the part of Montana. He’s a relative newcomer and also had smaller parts in My Brother the Devil, Black Mirror, but in Montana he discovers that the powerful crime lord and ruthless lieutenants, for whom he works, secretly killed his father.

At the same time Dimitrije (Lars Mikkelsen – The Killing, Borgen, Headhunter), a former Serbian commando, comes looking for the gangster in order to take revenge for the death of his wife and son. Realising that they share a bloody purpose, the commando now mentors the boy in the dark arts of assassination and relearns the value of life as he teaches the boy the true meaning of friendship, honour and respect.

lars: mckell
(ALL MONTANA SET SHOTS COURTESY GARETH ROBERTS)

You never know what you’ll get at screenings that haven’t had massive hype around them, billions poured into their marketing or the blessing of a massive picture house. So it was really refreshing that from the first few seconds into the movie until the very end, I was gripping my chair with emotions ranging from fear, anger, empathy, pain and laughter.

A thrilling and gritty revenge tale, MONTANA also stars multi-faceted Ashley Walters (Small Island, Hustle, Top Boy), Michelle Fairly (Game of Thrones, Philomena) and the erratic Adam Deacon (Babyon, Kidulthood, Adulthood). It’s directed by Mo Ali (Shank) and produced by Mark Foligno (Moon, The Kings Speech, The Rise).

I recall meeting Mo Ali many years ago when he was a music video director for urban music acts. He was a runner for a TV company before that and quickly leapt from music video director to feature film producer. From his infancy as a street kid in Saudi Arabia, to his childhood and adolescence on the estates of East London, he brings an understanding of the manner and language in which the youth communicate.

With his extreme drive and visual bravado, Mo has already directed over eighty music videos. Years ago, he could be found shooting free videos for independent and underground UK acts. He got his big break directing Lethal B’s “POW” video, as well as directed for acts including Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk, Skepta, Jammer and many more.

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MO ALI ON SET DIRECTING.
(ALL MONTANA SET SHOTS COURTESY GARETH ROBERTS)

His music video director days also influenced his making of Montana ‘’ I used my music video background to inject some visual excitement into Montana and, in particular the fight sequences with a limited budget. I incorporated many highly visual action sequences that added adrenalin and energy. An example of this is the very first scene where Dimitrije is introduced, escaping from torture and certain death’’

He smiles with the relief of someone’s that put in the graft and paid their dues ‘’ I look at my progression from TV runner to music videos to feature films, I’m happy and hungry, nothing holds me back, I’m not afraid to try anything new’’.

And this is new. Yes, the film does reference back to age themes of old crime lords, drug dealers, youth and hints of romance, but what makes it really topical and relevant to today is its acknowledgment of the eastern European influence the country now has, as well as British black stars that all hail from the capital. The last movie Mo made was Shank- about a group of young people that lived in apocalyptic London.

With the cast, Mo has also juxtaposed old skool, new school, classical and unknowns in Montana. Montana’s straight laced female copper is played by Michelle Fairley , an Irish stage and screen actress famous, most notably for her excellent portrayal of Catelyn Stark in the immensely successful television series ‘Game Of Thrones’. Fairley has also starred opposite Nicole Kidman in ‘The Others’, appeared in ‘Harry Potter’ and most recently can be seen in Oscar nominated ‘Philomena’ and also The Invisible Woman. So to reiterate, there’s no need to brand this an urban movie but if you must, you will.

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MO WITH MCKELL ON SET FOR MONTANA.
(ALL MONTANA SET SHOTS COURTESY GARETH ROBERTS)

As a youngster growing up in poplar, east London, Mo was a huge film fan that daydreamed about being an action superhero and describes Montana as homage to Luc Besson’s iconic LEON as well as giving a nod to films such as Karate Kid.
This nod to his favourite movies is apparent as Montana has moments of Karate Kid, Gladiator and Kidulthood – all made by directors that he himself greatly admires.

Not only was Mo brought up in East London, but also passion for his roots run deeper than simply immortalising it on the big screen in his movie ‘’I grew up in Poplar; the opening scene is exactly where I grew up. That opening walk that Montana does is me as a kid. I used to hang out on that balcony and daydream about my future life’.

(This is such a common story- directors and producers showcasing parts of their own life via younger actors and storylines; like Benny Medinas story portrayed by Will Smith in Fresh Prince of Bel Air)

Montana is full of action, crime, violence and stunts. Oftentimes when witnessing this outside the big budget Hollywood blockbusters, mass gun and explosive action can seem amateur, awkward and comical, but Montana captures the tone and technique of Israeli martial art krav maga perfectly. Krav maga is a self defence system developed for the military in Israel that consists of a wide combination of techniques sourced from boxing, muay thai, wing chun, judo, jujitsu, wrestling and grappling alongside realistic fight training. Krav Maga is also known for its focus on real-world situations and extremely efficient and brutal counter-attacks so perfectly paired with Montana.

Mo tells me ‘‘as the film is so stunt heavy, we set up a four-week boot camp for McKell and Lars. They went through intensive weapons training with armorer Matthew Strange, and stunts and martial arts training with stunt coordinator/second unit director Peter Predrero. Lars went on a strict diet and training regime to physically condition himself, and by the time we began shooting he was by his own admission in the best physical shape of his life. When we came to shoot, the majority of the stunts were performed by McKell and Lars’’.

GUNS
(ALL MONTANA SET SHOTS COURTESY GARETH ROBERTS)

Mo is full of admiration for the stunt coordination team ‘’ we had a great stunt coordinator that’s done a lot of Hollywood films, my input was as a music video director I had visuals I wanted too, so we had to train two people to become assassins, a master killer and a trainee killer. This took a lot of choreography. We had SAS trainees teach them how to shoot guns and only two weeks to teach them the fight choreography, which is an insanely short period of time. Both Lars and Mckell picked it up with extreme focus and performed like seasoned pro’s that you took seriously’’

Mo explained to me, that in order to show the learning and support between the trained assassin and the trainee, all the moves were first taught to Lars, who then taught his young charge McKell AKA Montana, Lars is a versatile, unique and acclaimed actor, treading the boards in over forty plays, appearing in numerous films and featured in television series including a BBC’s popular ‘Sherlock’ and Danish series ‘Forbrydelsen’, released worldwide as ‘The Killing. Developing a taste for performance after learning juggling and fire breathing, the now well-lauded actor and two friends travelled Europe performing on the streets of cities such as Paris, Munich.

Mo’s concept and Jeremy’s script required a cast that could deliver convincingly on the physical action sequences but also portray the emotional complexity of the central relationships.

Seeing young McKell in action is quite something. Mo reveals

‘’As there are not many ‘stars’ of that age, and none that fitted the character, we had to cast the net wide. We did open castings, approached drama schools and after school clubs, martial arts clubs and of course an open call to agents. I auditioned hundreds of young actors, but from the first time I met McKell David, I knew I’d found my Montana. ‘’our casting director was incredible and scoured London’s streets for hundreds of young boys. This kid with a Mohican walked in, very calm and controlled, I thought this kid looks great, I hope he can talk well too, he could! Then I thought can he take direction, he did it well again. I wondered ‘what’s his improve like, he had it all! I asked if he could box…. he said ‘’yeah I come from this area so you know that’s a given…’Certain people told me a kid with a Mohican wouldn’t work. But I was determined that I wanted a black or mixed race kid to prove anyone can be a hero’’.

Mckell David is indeed a powerful co lead and delivers a powerful and explosive performance well beyond his years. Mckell’s clearly a born go-getter. Hard working and determined, at the age of just twelve McKell began broadcasting a hidden camera comedy show via his own You Tube channel, where he pranked members of the public. The show got him noticed and was the perfect platform to allow his cheeky, confident but charming self strut into the consciousness of the UK and the US. To date, McKell has received over a million views online and over 12,500 fans on Facebook, both numbers continuing to rise as his profile as a film actor grows. 2012 saw the release of two films for McKell, ‘My Brother The Devil’ where he played ‘Demon’s Boy’, and Illegal Activity as ‘Leeroy’. Following these was ‘Our Girl’, released soon after in 2013 where he played the part of ‘Dean’.

With Montana, McKell tells me…

‘’ it was really exciting for me to get this so early in my career. I was 15 when I did this, I had been on film sets before but nothing this big, this was huge for me, and also gave me an opportunity to showcase what I could do as It was a really physical project. I got the script, loved it. I wanted this role really badly. Working with Lars, the irony is that off-screen we had our own story- what I learnt from him was amazing, he helped me out with my script lines too.
Working with Mo, I had little experience of film sets before Mo, he’s very direct, he’s both hard-core and soft and nurturing as a director, he always knows exactly what the shot should be and helped me get them in. The stunt guys made me feel really comfortable-Pete Pedro/Chris king- they were all 6 foot and massive, I was only 5.5’’, but they made me feel confident- luckily I’m very sporty anyway so it was just about remembering getting the movements right so I’m really grateful to crew and cast ’’

Mo did look back and acknowledge that the old adage ‘never work with animals or kids;’ didn’t prove true in his experience. His experience with the two young actors was very positive. ‘This girl Sinaed (who plays teenager Jess), she’s incredible, and mature for her age….both these kids are under age- McKell was 14 at time of filming, so legally only allowed a certain time on set. Mckell had to learn his fight sequences, imagine the pressure on them knowing they’re learning and performing on set in front of whole crew and set. Sinead would ask to retake stuff cos she knew she could do better’’.

The Montana crew knew they wanted to cast a European actor to play Dimitrije, and being huge fans of the hit Danish TV series ‘The Killing’, they were excited to offer the role to Lars Mikkelsen. Lars responded positively to the script, but had concerns, as this would be his first major English language role. He met Mo to discuss the project and committed there and then.

ashley
ASHLEY WALTERS SHINES AS USUAL.
(ALL MONTANA SET SHOTS COURTESY GARETH ROBERTS)

Mo reached out personally to Adam Deacon and Ashley Walters, both of whom he’d worked with before, and they both loved the script. Mo acknowledges ‘‘both deliver what I want on set. To get them is a privilege. Its good to have a part in keeping our cultural icons out there on screen. I would whisper ‘’Joe Pesci’’ in Adams ear. As long as he had a stack of red bull and Joe Pesci whispered in his ear he was good. He was buzzing from doing the fight sequence!’’. And Ashley is a laugh a minute, we had a scene where we were shooting a chasing sequence in a Est London cemetery at 4am and Ashley’s got them all singing R&B songs to stay warm!’’.

Young McKell even found working alongside Ashley and Adam mind blowing ‘I had watched their films before this, I was excited to work with them, I grew up listening to So Solid and Adam gave me so many banter moments in the middle of the night with him doing his Australian accent- it was good!’’.

adam
ADAM DEACON.
(ALL MONTANA SET SHOTS COURTESY GARETH ROBERTS)

I bring Mo and McKell back to the subject of being pigeon holed by labels like urban and diversity in the film industry. Mo explains it thus ‘‘They’’ only want us to do estate films, ‘’they’’ know who they are. Even British director Ridley Scott recently said that his biblical film Exodus wouldn’t be financed if the lead actor was called ‘Mohammad so-and-so’ . This film is a testament of not giving up. This will make kids from estates think if Mo Ali can do an action film so can I. To me it’s a father and son story with action, we don’t have father and mentor relationships anymore in the western world, were missing that, so that’s what Montana’s about’’

New about-to-blow star in the making McKell has the last word

‘’There’s so much competition out there; if you want it really badly the law of attraction will make it happen. In life you’ve got to breakdown barriers, the barriers like defining words like urban are here to stay. One of the new leads of Star Wars is a young black man from the UK. We’re all doing things!’’

JASMINE’S JUICE- CANNON IN THE CLUB, SHINGAI ON THE ROOF, GTP AND KWABS ON THE LIST, VS SUPERMODELS ON THE RUNWAY!

NICK CANNON DJ’S AT CIRQUE.

CIRQUE
JASMINE GETS HER FREAK ON AT CIRQUE NIGHTCLUB WITH NICK CANNON, KOJO AND FRIENDS.

A whirlwind of a week! I always think I’m the best multi-tasker I know, but Nick Cannon gives me a good run for my money! Both of us juggle TV, radio and more. Me mostly TV and print press, him mostly broadcast world and business!
This fortnight he was in town to promote his new dancehall artist Kreesha Turner as well as film his American tv special ‘’Lifestyle’s of the rich and famous’’.

Aside from taking him to the south London pattie shop- on his request, and knocking out lots of press and friends debates, he also had a stint at Cirque nightclub djing.

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NICK CANNON HITS THE SOUTH LONDON PATTY SHOP AND EXCITES THE LOCALS.

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NICK IS EXCITED THAT HIS ENGLISH MONEY MATCHES HIS VIOLET TIE AND SOCKS.

Capital Xtra’s breakfast show host Kojo took a few friends including his right hand man-DeJay Longers, his radio show co-host Jade Avia, and the rest of us all down to the club to support Nick whilst he spun the best in hip-hop and R&B on the decks.

LONGERS
NICK WITH DEJAY LONGERS AND PALS.

The circus themed performers were all very fun and welcoming. So welcoming in fact that even my mortal fear of snakes didn’t stop me being encouraged to wear a snake around my neck-though I didn’t dare open my eyes to acknowledge that it was actually there! Eek! The performers also had us stroking their midgets -YES- and averting our eyes when the naked burlesque pole dancers became a little too risqué.

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SHINGAI SHONIWA AT MONDRIAN ROOFTOP- RUMPUS ROOM.
(ALL SHINGAI SHONIWA PICS COPYRIGHT Paul Hampartsoumian).

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SHINGAI PERFORMS AT RUMPUS ROOMS.

Next, man-about-town- or should I say the world- as he’s now head hunted globally- Pardeep Sall, returned to London town and invited us to see musician Shingai Shoniwa (Noisettes), perform her solo album set for her new album ‘’Tropical Metropolis’’, at Mondrian Hotel’s rooftop bar the Rumpus Room. Such a dramatically slick and sexy venue.

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The stage is set against the floor to ceiling glass wall, that faces the London skyline and St Paul’s cathedral. Stunning! Shingai came, saw and conquered the VERY trendy crowd that had packed out the venue in her honour.

SHINGAI

The songs were catchy, diverse and very classic. Shingai leapt from stage to tables and chairs in her bare feet, falling into the audience’s arms and having a whale of a time, which of course meant that we did too!

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MTV BRAND NEW PARTY.

MTV BN

Next, I was invited to join my surrogate old MTV family at DSTRKT Club for their annual MTV BRAND NEW party where they announced which ten music acts are the ones to watch next year. Last years nominee Kwabs performed a very soulful set and this year’s nominee George the poet had everyone mesmerised with his very strong poetry.

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GEORGE THE POET PERFORMS AT MTV’S BRAND NEW ACTS TO LOOK FOR IN 2015 PARTY.

At one point in time in the past decade, MTV and the BBC’S brands end of year lists were something to behold, but now I’d argue that most on the list annually are already known by their audiences and have been covered up front by other media brands already. For example VICE Magazines music branch NOISEY tens to be ahead of the game musically and always brings a new, refreshing angle to music stories, and huge national news shows like Channel 4 News make mini features introducing you to acts like Charli XCX and George the Poet way ahead of the BBC/MTV lists being made public.

KWABS
LAST YEARS MTV BRAND NEW NOMINEE KWABS PERFORMS AT THIS YEARS LAUNCH PARTY.

But on the other hand, theres clearly room for everyone and its still an honour for these acts to be associated with the big brands. I would only suggest that the big brands move ahead of the times, and formulate new ideas to move the conversation forwards with more edge, the way they once did.

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VICTORIA’S SECRET TAKES OVER LONDON TOWN WITH BRA’S BLING AND BUTTOCKS GALORE!.

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THE VICTORIAS SECRET STAGE A FEW HOURS BEFORE IT WAS COVERED WITH SUPERMODELS, ED SHEERAN, TAYLOR SWIFT AND ARIANNA GRANDE!.

Finally, All eyes were turned onto Earls Court Centre for the final big party before the legendary venue is knocked down. A-Listers and supermodels from all over the world were flying in for the annual Victoria’s Secret show.

Its one of the only times the shows been relocated from the USA and boy was it a big deal. Models took over central London as security teams tried desperately to protect their million dollar brassiere sets. Fake tan booths and hair extensions were aplenty and west London was locked down to host the blingiest bra bonanza in history!

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Now I’m getting it together to go check out my boy film director Mo Ali’s new film Montana! #TeamUK!

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JASMINE’S JUICE FEATURING WEST LONDON TURNED GLOBAL STAR- JAY SEAN!

I’ve known Jay Sean since he was a rapper in a trio in west London many years ago. Now he’s a record-breaking award winning international music act that’s settled down with his wife and new baby in the states.

He crept back into London last week for a quick catch up and to remind us his new album THE MISTRESS and single TEARS IN THE OCEAN are out now.

I invited my LONDON360 reporters who didn’t know him as well as I do, to grab him for a chat about all things music, politics, music industry , Cash Money, life as a new independent music artist and more!.

JAY SEAN
JASMINE AND JAY SEAN.

Jay began by informing them about his background and roots;

Jay: I grew up in Southall which is West London, a heavily, heavily populated Indian area. I am a first generation British born Indian so my parents were actually 4 or 5 when they came over from India. So for me, growing up in a very Indian area, but then I went to school in Hammersmith at Latimer Upper School and there I had a massively diverse group of friends from all different backgrounds. So that really was key to me because that equips you with what it takes to have a whole, well rounded personality and be able to communicate with all different types of people.

L360- You’ve always maintained an element of Indian culture in your music, why was that important for you to do?

Jay: In the beginning, it was very organic and very natural the way it happened, the way I fused the music together. Indian music is gorgeous, it’s beautiful, its melodic, its emotional and the scales are gorgeous and I’m a very melodic writer. So I tend to borrow a lot from that emotion. It happened very organically in the beginning, 12 years ago I did a track called Dance With You where we fused a different dialect as well, Punjabi language and we put it together. It worked, it was very natural. Then I did it a couple of times again but what I started to notice was, it was becoming somewhat of a gimmick, the last thing I wanted to become was a gimmick artist: ‘ah whos that guy jay sean who just wacks a tumbler on everything’ I didn’t want to be that guy. Like, what if I wanted to do a song like Someone Like You and a beautiful, gorgeous piano ballad and all of a sudden ive got to put a satari on it. It’s not going to work. So I just feel me being Asian, and doing well, being successful is good enough to represent my people.

L360- How did you get together originally with Cash Money?

Jay: Cash Money actually heard a song that I did called Ride It which was a really pivotal song for me in my career. It was also the song which crossed me over from just the Asian population into the urban scene and that’s when I won a lot of the black audience over as well and the song went international so it was winning over a lot of new territories. It didn’t win over America because hardly anything gets over to America, its very difficult to break America. Cash Money though did come across this video through the producer I was working with at the time. He showed them the video, he said theres this guy called Jay Sean who I’m working with, you should check out his stuff. Boom. Watched the video and they fell in love with the song, loved my vibe and were like, you know what ‘hes clearly got a massive fan base, lets bring him over here and put him out in America’ and they did. And it was amazing,

I had the most incredible experience of my life being signed to Cash Money. I mean without a doubt. It took me from here to here (raises bar) I became a household name in America. That first song I put out went number 1 on Billboard and after that, what do you even do after your first song gets number 1 in America. So, of course we tried to follow up with more success and we were very fortunate to have a lot of success. We ended up selling over 15 million records over there so for me it was great. The madness that came along with that was of course one of those things that you tell your grandkids, Justin Timberlake called me up to get me on his show in Vegas where just a handful of Justin’s friends, since when. When I was growing up in Southall I never thought that would ever happen in my whole life. And then you have all of these things. Casual chit chats with Jay Z who is my ultimate icon but then hes talking to me and making jokes that I stole both of his names. These funny little antidotes, which you will never forget, only happened because I made it in America and it was really an amazing thing. But I never got caught up in the fame aspect of it, I never got caught up in any of that because that for me was a by-product of what I really wanted. What I wanted was success and respect in terms of ‘Big up Jay Sean, he’s repping us. I’m proud to have Jay Sean on my iPad or iPod’ that’s what it was about for me.

L360- -So to go from a West London boy all the way to America selling thousands of tickets to shows, how does that even happen?

Jay: There’s no secret man. No secret otherwise everyone would be doing it. They have to take to you man. They have to like you. That’s it, they have to like you. The media has to like you, the people have to like you. You have to walk out of a room and people have to go ‘you know what, I like that guy, I wanna see him win’ and that’s literally how it is. They will fight for you if they like you and like your music then they will want to see you win. The difference is in America, honestly, they do kinda wanna see you win because it gives every kid hope. Every child in America is raised with the thought that they could become the next president, that’s literally how it is. ‘Son, if Obama can do it then you can be the next president’ and that’s how it is. They just aim high. They have all these massive athletes at college level who are superstars, at college. Like everything there is about making it and I like that because I’m all about that. My whole ethos in life is if we’re here once, why would you want to be mediocre at anything, why would you accept mediocrity when you can be brilliant and that’s what I’ve always wanted to be.

L360- -So you made it in America, on a unprecedented level, not a lot of people have done that, Chipmunk went over, he’s not even signed to Hustle Gang anymore, people have said Angel should blow in America, why do you think there’s such a barrier?

Jay: Look, like I said man, its hard and the thing is they have their superstars, they have theirs. So, they don’t need our superstars, they have the best of the best for them as far as their concerned. If we can offer something different and unique that they then are drawn to they’re gonna be like ‘yes, I like this’. Sam Smith is killing it over there because he’s coming with a singer/songwriter style that American artists aren’t doing, Adele did the same thing, Ed Sheeran did the same thing, they’re different, they’re unique. British Hip Hop,

…if I’m honest, Grime is going to be so difficult to break into America for one reason only: they need to understand what we’re saying. It sounds so stupid but when I’m singing, I sing in an American accent, not intentionally but because I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, all of these people you listen to you sing like them so that’s how you learn to sing. So we just have an American accent when we sing. British rappers of course are very British sounding and if the audience over there cant understand what they’re saying, how can they be drawn to it? How can they get attached to it. That’s the only thing I can think of which is making it so difficult, not because they’re not good.

L360- -How are you labelled over there, are you that British guy, are you that Asian guy?

Jay: No, some of them don’t know I’m British; they definitely don’t know I’m Asian. Everybody speaks to me in Spanish when I’m over there, everybody! Everyone just speaks to me in Spanish because they think I’m Puerto Rican or Dominican or Mexican, they don’t know. I think they like, once they get to know me and I open my mouth in interviews is ‘Oh my God you’re British’ they focus on the British thing more than anything, they love it. They just love British culture. And the British accent really helps out there, by the way. Any guys watching go to L.A and put on the accent really thick, you’ll have a great time.

L360- -How do you feel your legacy is received here, do you feel sometimes you’re slept on? You’ve sold 15 million records being from over here, I can’t think of someone else who has done that.

Jay-

For sure, I’m slept on. I know that for sure. It used to bother me a lot, when I was a kid but now that I’m a man that shit doesn’t bother me. It’s like, I don’t do it for that. I have a very strange story over here in England, I was very niche, I was a very underground artists and I still had mainstream success. I had 3 top 10’s before I even went to America and a couple of top 20’s. All in England but you never saw me in the Heat magazine, you never saw me in the front page of GQ or even in GQ or any of the other British publications. For some reason, I just think they thought ‘ah, but, he doesn’t really fit this. Asian Network right, that’s what you do, Asian Network’. I’m sorry, what about Radio 1, wasn’t I on that as well? Everything was very much ‘oh, I don’t know how he fits in here’. That’s cool man, it’s alright, I’m different, I’m unique, I’m one of hardly any others who are like me. So, if I don’t tick all your boxes, I’m not gonna try to impress you so I can be all up in your magazine. That’s not my style man; I’ve never been in it for that. Write about me if you want, that’s cool, don’t write about me if you want, that’s not what I was in it for.

L360- Do you stay up to date with the British scene at the moment?

Jay-Its hard for me to keep up to date but I know there’s a tonne of new artists, especially from the British Hip Hop scene, the Grime scene who are coming up. I’m hearing their names floating around all the time, I wanna get into it and learn a bit more about the new flavour without being like ‘oh I’m jumping on the bandwagon, I need to do something with him because he’s the cool one right’ nah I don’t wanna do that.

L360- So you citied a change in direction as the reason for leaving Cash Money, could you explain just a bit more about that?

Jay: Yeah, like I said, I had a lot of pop success and it was wonderful, it was amazing, it changed my life and it was an adventure, a journey that I will never, ever forget and its still going on. I’m still very lucky that I have a massive American audience. But I think, really, the thing is I went too pop. Too pop. There is a danger and there is such a thing as going too pop. When you’re having so much success in that lane, youre killing it and every song after song is selling millions and millions and millions, it’s the music business at the end of the day. It’s a business. We’re selling something. So if I turn around and go ‘errrr guys, I know we’re killing it in this pop lane right now, but I’m not enjoying these songs anymore man, trust me, I feel sick writing these songs over and over again’. How many songs can I write about partying? How many songs can I write about throw my hands in the air? I don’t wanna do that no more, even if that will win every time, I don’t wanna be that guy. Let me go and do something that makes my soul happy because you know what makes my soul happy is this right here. It’s that RnB music that I’ve returned to, its that Mistress II, that makes me happy. So, I go for where my hearts happy man.

L360- Do you think that is the direction Pop has taken Hip Hop?

Jay: Pop is popular music right? It’s the only thing that sells in the millions, still to this day in the music industry. All the other genres are struggling to survive because there too niche now. Back in the day you could be a RnB artist and sell 3/4 million albums, no problem, you could be like an Indie Rock artist and sell millions of albums, no problem, country can sell like crazy but that’s different. In terms of the genres we know like Hip Hop, RnB, Pop, Rock, Pop is the only thing that’s selling so its no wonder is it that Chris Brown, Rhianna, Usher, Ne-Yo, myself, Enrique, so many of us went from our little niche genres into the pop world because the pressure was on by the record companies to do that. That is why the other genres are struggling to survive.

L360- So how important is it for you to go back to your essence with the Mistress II?

Jay: Its very important. It’s important for my soul man. More than anything else, it makes me happy. What makes me more happy is when people come up to me on the street and go ‘yo bro, your Tears in the Ocean song is ridiculous or when people come up to me and say ‘all I want is My Jam you don’t understand I’m looking for a R&B song like that for ages, nobody has that anymore, nobody does that anymore.’ That makes me happier than standing there on stage singing a song that I’m not even into, singing a song that I’m not proud of.


L360-: Recently, you’ve been going into schools and talking with school kids, what brought that about, did something personal trigger that?

Jay: Yeah, for me man, I’ve been very happy to be in this game for over a decade. I feel I have a lot to share, I have stories for years, I’ve been through everything, there’s nothing you can throw at me that I haven’t been through. Trust me, I’ve been in the independent world twice, Ive been signed to 2 majors, walked out,

I know this game inside out. So for me, I have a lot to share with the kids who are trying to get into it, I see all these kids who’s eyes light up with visions and dreams of being a star and I wanna give them, not only the hope and dream element but I wanna give them everything it takes. Everything it takes, the truth that nobody will tell you because once you’re in that world and then you’re like ‘no one told me how to deal with all this, no one told me about this backlash and this media and why people are cussing me and why people are writing stuff about my mum, I don’t know how to deal with this’. Stupid stuff that people don’t expect comes along with stardom. I have to teach them all of that stuff, I want to tell them all of that stuff. They loved it because they knew, I’m telling them things like ‘don’t forget your real friends man, don’t start worrying about the amount of followers your getting to see if that’s how you’re popular, don’t lose your real core’. Don’t lose your real friends and family, those people will keep you grounded because when all this ish goes and it will go one day, that’s all you got left. When I tell them that man, I can see that they appreciate that and it makes me happy.


L360- Do you think in school in the current education system, there should be more emphasis on the creative arts?

Jay -Well Latimar Upper, the school I used to go to was amazing, they’re producing on pro-tools, they use literally the same set up that I do as a professional recording artist so I was amazed to see that. I would like to see some emphasis on different genres of music because its pretty funny to this day that we learn about Beethoven, Mozart and stuff like that on the piano and that’s important because they are beautiful pieces, but I bet if you said to a kid you have a choice ‘Beethoven or Coldplay, which one you wanna learn’ they’ll say ‘Coldplay’ because that’s contemporary, that’s what they want to get into and it would be nice to see some of that too.

L360- We did a #hiphoplifelessons feature last week and one of our colleagues looked at hip hop and Shakespeare so like the English curriculum has been updated with Dizzie Rascal, we spoke about modernising the music curriculum, what else do you think could be done to prepare people for, say, the entertainment world?

Jay: It would be interesting to see media training, I’ve never had media training but I’m very fortunate that it comes very natural to me and I know how to speak eloquently enough to get my point across.

But there are a lot of kids who are very talented and when you put them in the spot light, they wouldn’t know how to claim that moment, wouldn’t know how to seize that moment and would say a bunch of stuff like they’re talking to their mate Tony: ‘You get me like, man just get into the game like’ you have to understand that they might not understand what you’re saying. You’re gonna lose a big opportunity here because you’re not saying what you wanna say in that moment, look 2 minutes to get your point across. Those type of things are important. I’ve seen so many people fail at that hurdle and that’s why they don’t have that x factor to become a star.

You have to be a star when you grab them in your hands. When you look at Beyonce, every interview she does is just perfect delivery, perfect execution, and the thing is she has honed that skill down. I do interviews so much more than I do other things in my life, imagine if I didn’t know how to do a good interview, people wouldn’t wanna know you anymore, people wouldn’t wanna interview you. The word would spread around, don’t interview Jay Sean, trust me you’re gonna get nothing outta him. Little things like that are important.

L360- How in touch are you with politics?

Jay: When it comes to politics, I do my interviews and I talk about things, I don’t tend to talk too much about politics because I have to be careful about my artistry and my political opinions.

L360- Do you vote though, how important is it to be engaged?

Jay: Very important to vote, I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how many youngsters are into politics when I was talking to kids in schools and stuff and talking about a selfie I had just taken with David Cameron. So they were saying ‘ah I saw your selfie with David Cameron that’s so cool man’ and they started talking about Cameron, this that and the other and politics and I was like you guys are like 17 18 years old and you’re this deep into it. That was nice for me to see that.

This is our country that we live in right and that’s how you get your voice heard, you have a choice, they’re giving you a choice here. How do you want to live? Where do you want your money to go? If you don’t tell them, if you leave it down to someone else, ‘ah its alright I’m not gonna vote, I’m sure the neighbour will vote for him’ imagine everybody had that opinion. So, it’s very important.

L360- We saw in America Hip Hop got behind Obama and helped me gain power, do you think musicians here should take more of an active role in encouraging youngsters to get involved?

Jay: Not necessarily, not if they don’t fully believe it, I don’t like the idea of celebrities doing things for the sake of it. I don’t like the idea, I think its disingenuous, I think they should get behind something they are passionate about. So if I see a celebrity who is into a certain charity cause, you can tell the ones who have been assigned a charity and those who are just passionate about it by the way that they speak about it. I just feel like yes, when you are a celebrity, you have a platform, you’re very powerful, people look up to you. I personally believe you should use that platform to your advantage and not just to your advantage sorry but to the benefit of other people because that is really when you are gonna change. You can bring forward an entire scene, you can bring forward an entire race, you can bring forward an entire city or country, whatever it is when I’m out in America I’m repping England so whatever I say its reflecting British people too. There are some people who have never had any interaction with a British person, I might be the only person ever so imagine I said something really stupid and dumb and they’ll be like ‘Oh my God, those British people are so dumb and so thick’. I have to be careful about my platform and what I’m saying so I wouldn’t say or talk about anything that I ain’t passionate about.


L360- So you’re now independent again, what message would you send to other independent artists?

Jay: What I would say is I know independent can be a struggle sometimes because your using your own money but when it wins and it pays off not only are you gonna make your money back, it’s gonna be a good investment. You’re gonna be so much more in control of your entire career then on because you would have seen what you achieve so then if you do wanna team up with another person and do a JV with another record company you can come in there not from a position of desperation and need but you can come in there from a position of power all of a sudden. Now it’s like ‘OK, what can you offer me’. That is the ultimate move.

JASMINE’S JUICE- PRECIOUS AWARDS, NICK CANNON, MUSIC MOGUL VIVIAN SCOTT CHEW, WINTER WONDERLAND!

PRECIOUS AWARDS.

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JASMINE FINALLY GETS HER HANDS ON HER PRECIOUS AWARD AFTER FLYING HOME FROM HER SHOOT IN INDIA.

Many thanks to the judges and voters of this months PRECIOUS AWARDS where I won THE OUTSTANDING WOMAN IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES award. It was so nice to be recognised after so many years in the industry. Alas as many awards nowadays are based on a persons background, community, ethnicity (and no one claims me as apparently I’m ‘’not really Asian’’ and ‘’not really black’’ due to my Parsi / Zoroastrian Persian/ Kenyan roots, it was nice to feel included somewhere!
I was in India on a top-secret mission with a top-secret lady shooting, so unable to accept my award on the night. But I sent along one of my current London360 reporters Hope Lanek to make a short speech for me. I understand she did me proud. Thanks Hope!

NICK CANNON.

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NICK CANNON AND HIS ARTIST KREESHA TURNER WITH JASMINE IN A SOUTH LONDON PATTIE SHOP (CAN’T SAY WHICH ONE IN CASE WE HAVE TO GO BACK THERE LOL!)

Next my extended family member, the multi faceted entertainment mogul -Nick Cannon flew into the capital to shoot his American TV show Lifestyles Of The Rich and Famous. He also brought along his new dancehall act Kreesha Turner for some promo. (Always multi tasking he is!). upon landing, he and his team were peckish, so instead of the usual Mr chows style posh nosh, we drove him to South London’s finest Jerk Chicken and pattie shop. It was pretty quiet as it was a Sunday night. However you know the hood communication system. One couple came in. the female near damn fainted at spotting Nick. Got on her phone, and within minutes the shop was full of excited, happy fans asking nick for selfie’s and snap chats- all which he did happily after his long haul flight – what a good geezer!

VIVIAN SCOTT CHEW. BIANCA RAQUEL.

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JASMINE WITH NEW MUSIC ACT BIANCA RAQUEL AT MANGO ROOMS.

Then female music industry mogul Vivian Scott- Chew (look her up), stopped off in London for the final leg of her artist- Bianca Raquel’s- European tour. She gathered a very special music industry crowd of 25 for dinner at the age old, dependable Mango rooms in Camden for a wonderful music industry get together and reunion, during which Bianca sang, Viv made a heartfelt moving speech about all her London connects and a very merry time was had by all.

WINTER WONDERLAND OPENING PARTY

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JASMINE ENJOYS WINTER WONDERLANDS OPENING VIP NIGHT!

I felt like I’d won the Willie Wonka Golden Ticket when I was invited to Hyde Park for the Winter Wonderland opening night VIP party launch.

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A wristband meant free rides, fun, circus and so much more! It’s like being in a real life Christmas movie!

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I scoffed Christmas nibbles and knocked back chery mulled wine as a stellar line up of celebrities hugged Santa and rode the scary rides!.

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Names that joined me included: Kelly Brook, Princess Beatrice, Tim Burton & Helena Bonham Carter, Jodie Kidd, Anton du Beke, Brendon Cole, Tom Daley, Danny O’Donoghue, Poppy Delevigne, Suki Waterhouse, Brooklyn Beckham, Matt Smith, Jason Donovan, Scott Mills, Vanessa White, Neon Jungle, Little Mix, Tara Palmer Tomkinson, Lizzie Cundy, Kirstie Allsop, Rachel Riley, Tamara Beckwith, Henry Conway and Dr Christian Jessen and we were all lucky to be amongst the first guests to experience this year’s event.

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My faves were The Magical Ice Kingdom – a breath-taking snow and ice sculpture experience, the UK’s largest outdoor Ice Rink stretching over 1,600m2 and the iconic Giant Observation Wheel, which illuminated the skyline.

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Other favourite attractions were Santa Land, a haven for young visitors where Father Christmas will be every day with his Elves and a sack of free gifts. There will also be over 200 chalets in the beautiful Angels Christmas & Yuletide Markets offering unusual and handmade gifts and crafts, including ceramics, candles, jewelry, wooden toys, nativity scenes and Christmas decorations.

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The best thing was Zippos Circus, which had us all gasping for air as the flying trapeze, and ice sculptures came to life!

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The ever-popular Bavarian Village had mountains of bratwurst and mulled wine whilst hosting live music throughout the day and evening. In addition to the many restaurants and bars there are delicious food and drinks available throughout the attraction to help you warm up on a cold crisp winter’s day. And for those thrill seekers, there will be an array of traditional and high energy rides.

So book early for the Ice Skating, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Giant Observation Wheel and Zippos Circus to avoid disappointment and discover what 12 million visitors have already enjoyed.

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For the best ways to enjoy Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, be sure to follow the festival’s top tips to really make the most out of London’s spectacular Christmas destination. Avoid the queues by visiting during the day on weekdays and in school holidays, buy your tickets to the main attractions in advance, bring cash to exchange for tokens and make sure you grab the kids and wrap up warm- a guaranteed magical day out for you and the entire family!

POPS 90TH BIRTHDAY!

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JASMINE AND POPS AT HIS BIRTHDAY LAST YEAR!.

Now it’s our granddad ‘’Pops’’ 90th birthday weekend, so I’m on family duty to pick up huge rum cakes and attend dinners and parties with the fam! See you all on the flip side!