The Great British summer is finally here! The sweetest strawberries, Heritage asparagus and the best lamb and Jersey Royal potatoes dripping from dinner plates all across the country. With Glastonbury Festival and the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships both taking place in June, this is surely the best month of the year here in the UK. If only the weather wasn't so fickle. Hot summery nights are followed by wet, blustery days. String vests and shorts one day and a raincoat the next. But we're used to it here in Blighty..we have to admit that when all is said and done - we can be rather a fickle nation. When it's hot we complain about the humidity and the ever imminent hose pipe ban, when it's cold we complain that we have the worst weather in the world and utter things like "that's it - we've had our summer, it was those 2 days back in April". We like to complain...we do...and I say that with love, being a Brit myself.
Take the tabloids for example. Quite possibly THE most fickle 'character' within our popular culture. The front pages are filled to the brim today with nasty stories of public figures once celebrated and applauded for their achievements. Simon Cowell, Ryan Giggs, just to name two examples, are both men who our tabloid newspapers have fawned over at various times - for very different reasons. Ryan Giggs was a national hero - famed for his family-guy image and universally loved for his understated, hard working approach to his sport - and his country. Today? Today his private life is being smeared across every newspaper in the land - with tales of infidelities with a reality star and his brothers wife ensuring his reputation has fallen like a lead balloon to the depths of "Britain's most humiliated". There he joins many, many others who have suffered the same fate. Simon Cowell's falling from grace is rather different, but still at the hands of the tabloids. Simon hasn't slept with another man's wife (as far as we know) nor has he bedded any reality stars (ahem..) - all he has done is become too rich and far too successful, and in Britain, that's as good as infidelity in tabloid terms. Unlike the US, us Brits aren't too keen on those who rise to the giddy heights that Simon has. We prefer a more understated and dignified approach to wealth. Truth be told, this years Britain's Got Talent was a total and utter dire pile of embarrassment, and the apparent 'sacking' of Cheryl Cole and the blatant publicity seeking nature in which it was handled haven't really helped Simon's continuing popularity. You only had to read Jan Moir's article in last weeks Daily Mail entitled "Botox, hairy moobs and Britain's run out of talent. Sorry Simon, it's a no from me." to get the general gist of where this is going...
Personally, I love it. I love the fickle weather and I love the fickle tabloids. Having lived in LA for the past few years, they have reminded me what it's like to be a Brit living in Britain. Roll on the strawberries and cream!
For all the rockers out there, this weekend the Download festival takes place in Donington Park - with Def Leppard, System of a Down and Linkin Park headlining. This legendary rock extravaganza was first conceived as a follow up to the Monsters of Rock festivals that took place during the 80's and early 90's. A MUST for any headbanger.
For more deets: http://www.downloadfestival.co.uk
My voice of the moment is James Blake - an incredible new talent that simply has to be heard. At times uncomfortable and jarring, with see-sawing chords and disjointed beats - his voice is as ethereal and otherworldly as they come and his cover of Feist's 'Limit to your Love' - quite simply made me fall in love. He'll be at Glastonbury in a few weeks and he's currently on a world tour.
To find out more about him: http://jamesblakemusic.com/
Restaurant of the week: The Potted Pig - a brand new establishment that opens this week in Cardiff city centre. With potted pig on the starters menu and whole suckling pig on the main menu for a minimum of 8 people, one could think this catered soley for those with a penchant for pork. However, don't be fooled. The menu is rooted in French cookery with plenty to choose from - with Steaks, whole globe artichokes and Tarte Tatin all making starring roles. And with a location in a former bank vault underneath the city - this is just what Cardiff needs!
For more info: http://www.thepottedpig.com