Pix Tapas, Carmen at the ENO, Kendrick Lamar and life lessons from drag queens

21 Jun

EAT: I’ve gone a bit tapas crazy recently. Probably because I miss being in Barcelona (a regular occurrence). My absolute favourite tapas place in London is Boqueria, however I visited some strong contenders over the last few weeks, including Pix.

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The Pix I visited is tucked away on Carnaby Street and it’s a place I’d been meaning to visit for a while. So, I went there for lunch when it was quiet and it has quickly become a new favourite lunchtime spot for me.

So, here’s how it works. It’s essentially a tapas buffet. If the food has a small stick in it then it’s £1.95, if it has a big stick in it it’s £2.95. The food remains heated and there’s always new stuff coming out as soon as a plate is done. I think it’s a great way to do tapas – it gives you lots of flexibility and the portion sizes are good too.

123So, I went for the pepper and chorizo skewer, cheese and ham croquettes, patatas bravas and olives. The patatas bravas didn’t have enough sauce for me (after all, that’s the main point of the dish) but I had no other complaints. The chorizo was strong (as it should be) and the croquettes were just so, SO good. They also do beer, cider, cocktails (sangria, obvs) and all the booze is pretty reasonably priced too!

The seating was a bit of a pain, I admit – I hate eating at ‘high tables’ and that’s what most of the place seemed to be, but that’s very much a personal gripe! The focus is the food and drink and both were wonderful. It’s a great concept and the food is delicious too – thumbs up all round. If you want variety which doesn’t cost a bomb and somewhere that’s a little different, then Pix is your place.

SEE: I have a split personality: half the time I’m an old woman (“back in my day…” and hating kids) and the other half of the time I act like a kid (colourful clothing, getting over-excited). So, the grown up side of me took over last week and I booked tickets to see Carmen.

ENO-Carmen,-Justina-Gringyte-and-Company-1-(c)-Alastair-Muir
Now, I used to play the piano and one of my favourite pieces to play was Habanera (below – you’ll recognise it) and the first half of Bizet’s Carmen is pretty much a greatest hits set, you’ll know WAY more of the music than you realise.

Anyway. I got myself a £12 ticket (you’re sat in the upper balcony but the view is actually pretty damn good) – it’s great that the ENO offer cheap seats so opera newbies like myself can get involved. The show itself was good but it was the music that really kept my interest. Carmen’s voice (lead soprano) wasn’t quite as good in my humble, crap opinion as the mezzee soprano… then again, maybe the mezze soprano was supposed to be better?


The above video is from the Royal Opera’s version because I couldn’t find the ENO version online…

I honestly do not know enough about opera to criticise anything about the show. All I know is that I left early in the second half because I just wasn’t feeling it any more. The second half goes from lust and passion to anger and passion and, well, I wasn’t really feeling much passion which is the whole point of the opera. BUT: I did only pay £12 for the ticket and I’m very much a fan of the ENO (and, increasingly, opera). The show is running until July, so grab a £12 and do a proper review.

LISTEN:  We don’t need to do yet another blog post about how amazing To Pimp A Butterfly is. But just in case you’ve been living under an anti hip-hop rock recently, I want to share King Kunta with you. It’s a massive tune and it struck a chord with me because I studied slave narrative as part of my literature course at uni, and actually wrote about Kunta Kinte in an essay (click on the hyperlink and have a read: it becomes clear very quickly what a big statement Lamar is making with the song’s title).

It’s an amazing song addressing some big issues and I demand that you go and listen to the album if you haven’t already done so.

LOVE: So I’ve recently got into RuPaul’s Drag Race (blame my friend Nick, he made me watch a couple of episodes and I got addicted). Aside from being fabulous, with incredible clothes, amazing make-overs and all kinds of drama, but it actually has something genuinely serious to say layered under all the make-up and wigs. For those of you who don’t know who or what the hell RuPaul is: he’s a drag performer. And by ‘drag performer’, I mean he’s a man who dresses up as a super hot woman. In the spirit of America’s Next Top Model, RuPaul’s Drag Race looks to find the next top drag performer.

Ru-Paul Every one of the guys who takes part in RuPaul’s Drag is gay. Reasonably sure it’s not a MUST, but drag queens do tend to be gay men. And it properly opens your eyes to how much of a struggle some of them had to go through just for being gay: for many of them, drag was an escape and a way for them to be called beautiful and accepted.

At the end of every single show there’s a catwalk parade and without fail, the talk is about their dreams, how they made their costumes and about bringing out their personality – as well as their best assets.  Which you don’t get in a lot of these reality TV shows; it’s bitchy with no basis, looks above substance etc etc.
And then there’s Ru’s key catchphrase…:

Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a chubby gal it strikes a chord with me. But everyone is made to recite it at the end of every episode and how much does that fucking rock? I realise that I’m fawning all over drag queens and sounding like a total ham, but there’s a seriously good message at the heart of the show. Style only works when you have substance, looks are brought alive by personality and self confidence is the actual key to being hot.

For someone with so much fake hair, RuPaul’s keeping it real.
Life lesson realness, am I right?
(^Fans of the show will get that, hahaha. Hope you’re proud of me Nick and Tim!)

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