Unintelligible life

“An evening of sophistication, glamour and high spirits” was how the promotional material described Intelligent Life’s readers evening that took place last night. With cognac tasting from Martell thrown in, it seemed only reasonable to join in the magazine’s second anniversary celebrations.

Sophistication: that was the location – the luxurious Grosvenor House on Park Lane. Now a Marriott hotel and recently refurbished, the Grosvenor Estate’s origins date back to 1667. Highlights of the 300+ year history were on display to peruse. And, very pleasingly, the book Grosvenor House – The Inheritance + The People formed part of the farewell goody-bag.

Glamour: could that have been the celebrities attending the M&M Awards in The Great Room (someone saw Theo Paphitis in Reception)? No, the glamour came from the sazerac cocktails expertly made by Nick Wykes of IP Bartenders, an entrepreneurial ‘cocktail consultancy’ whose services include innovative bartender training and cocktail events. A big hand to the people who came up with that idea and for executing it so successfully!

High spirits: they were borne of the endless flow of champagne cocktails, individually prepared cocktails and cognac ‘crus’ tasting session led by Martell, and led to some unintelligible life…



Peacock Bar @ Clapham Junction

They were playing Whitney Houston when we first went in the Peacock Bar last night and that’s not good. That’s really not good at all. I’m a placid person but there’s something about the high-pitched warbling, wailing screeches of Whitney Houston and – even worse – Maria Carey that makes me want to start throwing furniture. It sends me over the edge – I have NO tolerance.

Trying to get to the bar for a compensatory drink didn’t help much. From the info and pictures on their website, I expected the Peacock to be quite big. However, it’s a fairly small pub that – at 8:30pm – was already jam-packed full of hen and birthday parties.

On the plus side, entry’s free, it’s open til 2am, it’s a friendly crowd and fun atmosphere, the busy bar staff are great once you get served, and the entertainment is excellent. The burlesque act on at 10pm was very entertaining: Kiki Kaboom mimed along to numbers like I just want to make love to you and performed a ‘Chav act’ with cheeky charisma and humour.



Later on, we sang along with the rat-pack singer and danced with our feather boers (it was straight onto the stage for Showbiz Soopoo of course!)


Overall, I had a top night out in great company. I’ll go back but I won’t rush.

~ Sue’s visit to London in pictures
~ Kiki Kaboom’s Chav act and .


Big Brother kindle power

In July, Amazon deleted books bought by kindle users including, ironically, Orwell’s 1984. The books were sold illegally as the publisher didn’t have the rights to produce electronic copies. Amazon have since apologised and given refunds to readers who had books deleted – along with any notes and annotations – from their kindles without their consent.

The Free Software Foundation said that “The real issue here is Amazon’s use of DRM and proprietary software. They have unacceptable power over users, and actual respect necessitates more than an apology – it requires abandoning DRM and releasing the Kindle’s software as free software.” (read The Guardian technology blog).

Sign the Free Software Foundation’s ‘We believe in the freedom to read’ petition at:

On the other hand, how useful would it be – provided you gave consent – to be able to ‘upgrade’ your book to the latest edition, or access revised or corrected versions of content?

~ Economist article, July 21, 2009: All the news that’s free to print
~ Economist article, Aug 27, 2009: Screen Test – a dust-up over digital dust jackets
~ Economist article, Sep 4, 2009: The internet at forty
~ Intelligent Life article, Autumn 2009:
Facts, Errors and the Kindle