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Isle of MTV Malta 2017 - Review

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Red Carpet is back from a scorching Malta where we watched the 11th Isle of MTV music party led by artists Raye, Jonas Blue, DNCE and the Chainsmokers. Sat Bal  

We weren’t the only ones feeling the sun; DJ Jonas Blue also cited the sweltering heat when quizzed about his first impression of Malta at the pre-show press call, earlier that afternoon. Later at the show the UK DJ’s set threw out a rendition of By Your Side and then stepped things up by inviting British breakthrough artist Raye onto the stage to perform a duet.

 

The limo bus complete with bartenders whisks us to the venue for the show. Cheers MTV!

Raye had made her debut earlier and unwittingly became a showstopper when a technical hitch imposed a short tea break on her set. We just scuttled off to get more drinks from the VIP bar, Raye resumed the music soon enough and the 50,000 or so music fans were unperturbed, so who cares? What’s more this office denies rumours that the hitch was built-in by MTV just so that Raye could have a longer set.

 

Raye makes her IOM debut

 

Her show rolled on with the single Shhh, followed by a rousing cover of Gotta Get Through This and her current single The Line. The tempo changed by the time Raye staged up with Jonas Blue who was then joined by Liza Owen for singalong reworkings of Back In The Day and Fast Car. Jonas Blue’s set culminated with current single Mama, accompanied by Aaron before launching crowd-pleaser Perfect Strangers, aided by fellow Brit, JP Cooper.

 

DNCE axe attack

Bright sun gave way to brighter neon as dusk fell over the Il-Fosos Square venue. Hostess Becca Dudley bounded on to present multi-platinum selling band DNCE. Led by Joe Jonas DNCE took it all filmic with a dramatic Star Wars intro fronted by stormtroopers. DNCE covered tributes to David Bowie including Let’s Dance  and George Michael’s classic Freedom, before performing their much-loved single Kissing Strangers. Huge DNCE-branded inflatables, confetti launches and Co2 jets pleased the ever-dancing crowd. These were tempered by on-screen warnings not to be alarmed at imminent booming sounds, in a nod to the real-world situation. Security had also been beefed up around the site keeping the fun safe.

 

No intro needed to our headliners

The visuals were amped up by headliners the Chainsmokers whose electro buzzed the crowd amid  flame machines and confetti streamers. They opened with huge hit Break Up Every Night making way for  bangers Roses and Young. The circa six-hour night of music was finally brought to a close with their single Closer.

 

 

And with the final reverberations of music hailing the balmy air it was off to the afterparty at the al fresco surrounds of UNO Village until sunrise.

 

See more at www.isleofmtv.com

Engineering An Airline

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25 BEA Hangers (900 x 404)

The history of British Airways from the perspective of its engineering division is chronicled in a new book Engineering an Airline published by Amberley Books and available now.  Abigail Parkin

Your BA flight lands, the baggage is reclaimed and off you head, homeward, thinking nothing of the thousands of miles you’ve safely spent mid-air. Such insouciance is thanks to the behind-the-scenes teams whose challenge lies in maintaining that very safety. Paul Jarvis’s book brings their engineering prowess forth with intriguing photos, many never seen before, from British Airways’ 90-year past. It’s a testament to the evolution of the engineering role from before its Imperial Airways days to British Airways today.

It’s not a book that blinds the reader with science despite the title. Instead Paul Jarvis takes us on a jaunty read beginning with his own start at the airline as a technical clerk in the engineering department in 1966 when the planes were in BOAC livery.  

Here we take a visual tour of its engineering strides through the ages…

 

BA Statocruisers at engineering LHR (700 x 529)

 

The Boeing Stratocruiser was introduced in 1949

 

britishairways VC-10 Dusk

VC10, the first commercial 'clean wing' aircraft, here at its BOAC hangar

 Paul Jarvis, now curator of British Airways’ Heritage Centre, said: “Aircraft have long held a fascination for many people and our highly trained engineers are the unsung heroes of the airline. “This is the first book to look at the history of British Airways through its engineers and tell the story of those who can offer a unique insight into the complexities of running a fleet of highly sophisticated flying machines.”

 

BA 136 B Call DC 10 Major (600 x 344)

The Douglas DC10 entered the BA fleet around 1988

This is Paul Jarvis’s fourth book and draws on a wealth of fascinating and unique material from the British Airways archive and uses 200 full colour images to show the development of the airline’s engineering division.

 

BA Concorde in hangar (700 x 519)

 

High-maintenance Concorde in hangar

 

BA Planes on Stand (800 x 474)

Sibling jets parked on stand

 

BA Eng (800 x 600)

BA engineers at work

 

BA Cockpit

Engineered to perfection - the array of flight deck systems

 

‘Engineering An Airline’ is priced at £18.99 and is available at all good book shops and via Kindle, Kobo and iBook formats.                                          

Tom's Kitchen Birmingham

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Tom's Kitchen Birmingham Restaurant-5

Tom’s Kitchen has paused from its rapid colonisation of London to make its debut in Birmingham. Sat Bal dropped into the new location at The Mailbox.

 

The Layout

Glass lift doors open to reveal an airy reception space with the restaurant edging out into The Mailbox as if to remind itself that it’s part of the complex. First impressions are that the restaurant’s design is relatively spartan amid the high-gloss glam of its Mailbox neighbour Harvey Nichols, although both venues can safely lay claim to the ‘reassuringly expensive’ tag.

 

Toms Kitchen

 

This conflation of traditional and contemporary is something of a hallmark of Tom’s Kitchen where familiar British food favourites are treated with Tom’s twist. Settling into our places, the quality of the venue’s fit-out is obvious, even if the close spacing of neighbouring tables threatens diner privacy. Like its sibling restaurants Tom’s Kitchen Birmingham is unashamedly meat-driven as depicted by olde butcher’s shop wall tiling and an earthy colour palette of brass pendant lighting, oaken tables and caramel Chesterfields.  

On this Wednesday night business looks reasonable with alternate tables across the restaurant populated by predominantly middle-aged diners. With predominantly Wolverhampton twangs. Elsewhere, corporate types drop in for some after work tie-loosening at the cosy bar which serves craft beers, classic cocktails, champagne and alongside fine wines from around the world.

 

The Menu

 

Toms-Kitchen-April-2014_David-Griffen-Photography-402

 

The meat dishes feature an array of steaks, burgers and lamb variants. Fish options include poached monkfish and traditional fish and chips. We decide on a starter of seasonal parsnip and honey soup which nicely whets the appetite for the meaty prospects ahead.

When we do get to the main course, a disappointment awaits. There’s no Daylesford seven-hour confit of lamb! We wonder whether this is a mid-week omission.

This epic dish which, by definition, takes most of the day to cook had wowed us at the opening of Tom’s Kitchen, Somerset House many moons ago. Back then, the seven-hour lamb was the star of the media launch party. Even Michelin-starred Tom was present to explain his concept but tonight, in the absence of Tom Aikens or his confit, we opt for the lamb cutlets. We soon get past our bias with the help of a bottle or so of cabernet franc.

The real food success story of the night was the steak. The steak fans in our party positively cooed over the chunky cooked-to-order Cumbrian rib eye with peppercorn sauce.

Dessert raised more cooing. Dark treacle sponge arrived with ice cream was kindly presented with requested off-menu custard. The chocolate and peanut butter fondant all but silenced the table.  New dishes have been added to the Birmingham menus include spiced pumpkin with burrata, savoury granola and hazelnut dressing.

For less indulgent, healthier fare the restaurant serves weekend brunch, with dishes such as superfood granola served with honey and Greek yoghurt and Bircher muesli.

The bill weighed in at around £60 per head including drinks.

 

The Facilities

 

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The restaurant features two private dining rooms, one accommodating 12 guests and the other, 16. There’s also the Veranda, a semi-exclusive area that has capacity for 36-40 people and is useful for networking events. Then there’s the deli area in the Urban room that’s available for a networking event of 50-200 guests.

Diners might be surprised that the restaurant features only one unisex toilet but there is a more adequate set a few steps away from the restaurant.

 

Stop press…

Atul Kochhar, the two-Michelin-starred chef and TV personality is also about to open a new restaurant at The Mailbox.  

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