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BEST OF BRITISH

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I’ve finally caught up on this years Brit awards and it was a pretty good show. I do love the Brits! It reminds me of being a kid and settling in to watch with my family. There have been some memorable moments for good and bad reasons in the Brits history. From Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood doing the worst hosting job ever, to Jarvis Cocker storming the stage during Michael Jackson’s performance, to last year when Adele’s acceptance speech was cut short. What would happen this year? Host James Corden kept things moving and there didn’t seem to be any mishaps…….unfortunately. That’s what you want from an Award Ceremony isn’t it? Celebrities getting drunk, storming the stage or making an insane acceptance speech. Thank you Alex Turner for making the second of the two happen this year.

In recent years the Brit award itself has been designed by some of the greats in British design and this year, despite it resembling a cross between a lightsaber and a pizza cutter it was in fact created by hat designer Philip Treacy. Unlike the Grammy’s (see past post) with their endless list of useless categories us British are predictably more reserved with a concise 13 gongs being given away to, in the most part, deserving winners. This means the Brits are still THE award to win in British popular music so here’s who left the O2 with a little something new for their mantle piece;

British Male Solo Artist – David Bowie

British Female Solo Artist – Ellie Goulding

British Group – Arctic Monkeys

British Breakthrough Act – Bastille

British Single – “Waiting All Night” – Rudimental ft. Ella Eyre

British Album Of The Year – AM – Arctic Monkeys

Best Video – One Direction

International Male Solo Artist – Bruno Mars

International Female Solo Artist – Lorde

International Group – Daft Punk

Global Success – One Direction

Critics’ Choice – Sam Smith

British Producer Of The Year – Flood & Alan Moulder

If we ignore the inevitable inclusion of One Direction in the winners list, this year once again shows that British Music is still leading the way. But Bastille winning British breakthrough act? Surely this should have gone to London Grammar and not only just to give everyone the opportunity to see how stunning the lead singer is. But they’re new, different, current and have a great album which is unlike anything else. Bastille covered “Rhythm Of The Night” on their album! That alone should have seen them shunned from any category.

For the first time one award this year was voted for on the night by twitter users and as predictably as Harry Styles going solo sooner rather than later the crazy One Directioners made sure they scooped this one. Like anyone else stood a chance against the 17.8 Million followers 1D have.

The best performance of the night goes to the unbelievably young brothers from Surrey known as Disclosure. They were joined by Lorde to perform a brilliant remix of her smash “Royals” seamlessly mixing into “White Noise” featuring Aluna George. They have even since decided to release this digitally for charity. You can go get it here

Prior to the night there was the will she, wont she talk about Beyonce performing. One minute she was, then she wasn’t but in the end Mrs Carter did take to the stage to perform “XO” apparently for the first time on TV. Obviously she sounded amazing, its Beyonce! But sorry B it was a little boring.

Well that was it for another year of great British pop music. Next week it’s the turn of the NME awards to take a more indie approach to an award ceremony and it’s bound to serve up some fitting Rock n Roll behavior.

.S.

SAHARA JANUARY SUCCESS

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January has been drier than an AA meeting, through choice I might add. There’s always a lot of talk about “Dry January” just as the final party popper confetti hits the booze soaked floor during the New Year celebrations. How many of you said you’d do it? How many of you did? Well by some absolute miracle, I DID IT! Yes, I do feel rather proud of myself and am dangerously close to being that smug non-drinker that laughs in the face of your hangover. I hate myself!

I’ve recently heard via a friend that dry January is actually unhealthy but I’ve felt some benefits. Improved diet, more gym hours and best of all the start of this very blog. Had I spent January ’14 like every month of 2013 between work, drinking, partying, hangover there would have been little time or energy for proactive movement let alone clear thinking for writing. That said it has been a touch on the deathly boring side. Without the fresh vigor of blogging discovery I may just have crumbled. Which does beg the question – Can you really be social without drinking alcohol?

Its not that you can’t have fun without drinking your weight in Gin (although it certainly helps). In my recent experience its very hard to be your usual social self when you’re being boring….I mean….when you’re not drinking. Not because of the need for social lubricant to be comfortable, absolutely not. But when every social occasion revolves around a bar here, a dinner there, a club anywhere I’ve practically hibernated to avoid temptation. And drunk people! When you’re stone cold sober drunk people are not your ally. I do like a drink and so do my friends but really I’d say we’re firmly in the category of weekend binge drinkers. But aren’t we all? These days if someone tells you they don’t drink its more surprising than if they told you their favorite tipple is mentholated spirit!

This weekend I leapt with joy from wagon and began with a visit to the Ron Gastrobar accompanied by my good friend CC. She assures me she’s not had so much of a sniff of the unholy water in Jan and I’ll just about take her word for it. Being an Englishman I’ve visited my fair share of gastrobars/pubs back in the homeland taking in the good, the average and the gastronomically terrible. Here in Amsterdam this seems to be a new concept with Ron Blaauw making the claim this is the first of its kind and I wholly agree with the Michelin stared master chef. I’ve certainly never been to a Gastrobar like this! With a soundtrack including the likes of Wham! and other 80’s delights the atmosphere was casual and relaxed.

The interior was modern and littered with the artwork of Selwyn Senatori, an Italian-Dutch artist I discovered when I first touched down in Amsterdam. It should have come as no surprise when sitting right opposite me was the man himself! We exchanged smiles, mine far more enthusiastic than his. The food was of the quality you’d expect from a place named after and associated to a multiple Michelin stared chef. The  prices on the other hand were not! €15 per course to be precise, affordable for even the tightest of wallets. Upon receiving the first course it became apparent why as the portion size was verging on puny. We did then realise the concept was to have multiple courses and subsequently ordered 3 deserts. I’ll certainly be going back to work my way through a few more.

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 Dry January was a challenge and one I’m happy to have succeeded at even if The Daily Mail says its unhealthy. I don’t know whats more surprising, the fact they say dry January is unhealthy or that they’ve spared some column inches away from their usual subjects of immigrants and former BBC presenters turned paedos.

So can you be social when you’re on the wagon? Yes you can but the fact is it’s just not as much fun. A hangover has never felt so good!

.S.

Green For Go

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For some time now I’ve been considering writing a blog and now it’s time to take the plunge…..so here goes! But what should you expect to see here in the Fiets Lane? I hear you ask.

Here I will be sharing my love for Music, my love for Fashion and life being an Englishman in Amsterdam. I love living in Amsterdam! The last 18 months have been filled with exploration, change, growth, tears, fears and joys. But I can happily say the highs (not like that) far outweigh the lows.

The music will be eclectic, the fashion fabulous and Amsterdam…..well…..I think this quote sums it up just perfectly;

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin”– John Green

So keep your eyes peeled, your headphones at the ready and your minds open!