Review: Wagamama’s New Autumn/Winter Menu

The other week OPEN and other ‘media’ types got invited to Wagamama, to sample new flavours and dishes that will be sure to keep our stomachs satisfied throughout the winter months (I promise it wasn’t as wanky as that sentence makes it sound – I’m just being incredibly lazy and lifting actual quotes from the media release).

The other week OPEN and other ‘media’ types got invited to Wagamama, to sample new flavours and dishes that will be sure to keep our stomachs satisfied throughout the winter months (I promise it wasn’t as wanky as that sentence makes it sound – I’m just being incredibly lazy and lifting actual quotes from the media release).

Anyway, here’s the deal – Wagamama has a Pan-Asian style menu and all Wagamama’s across the UK have released their new autumn/winter menu (yeah, I didn’t know restaurants had seasons like fashion either but there you go) with a few new sides, mains, a juice and dessert available and I got to try them all on a Friday night (charmed life, eh?).

First out was the sides – Pulled Pork Gyoza and Wok-Fried Greens. Normally I would never think to spend a fiver on what essentially looks like a plate of broccoli as a side, but that is certainly something that will change; I can’t really describe just how fit this simple, yet tasty combition is* (I’m well aware I’m meant to be writing a food review so I’m kind of not fulfilling one of the basic requirements but whatcha gonna do?) The five delicious pork dumplings were put on the table to share between two and I managed to swipe three of them (I wasn’t even polite about offering to split the last one – I got it right down my gob before anyone could say anything). Without a doubt, these two dishes were my winners of the evening – enjoying the sides more than anything else probably makes me a bit terminally bland but I don’t care.

Before our mains came out there was a beetroot, orange and carrot juice concoction (Root Juice) plonked in front of us. It was Friday night for crying out loud, my healthy eating plan doesn’t start until Monday morning, Wagamama! It was ok I guess. Oh who am I kidding, it was like an endurance test drinking it. I decided to down it all. I’m not the kind of girl to leave a drink, non alcoholic or not. I will be fair to it though, I didn’t have too bad a hangover the next day so maybe we should give it a chance.

The sampling of the mains was a bit of a blur as at this point I’d drunk quite a bit (it was a Friday night and it was free, get off my back). I recall my favourite being the Mahi Mahi Curry; grilled white fish in a spicy curry sauce with sweet potato, red and green peppers and mushrooms, served with rice and garnished with coriander sauce (or so the menu tells me). It tasted just as good as it looked.

I was stuffed at this point but I’ve always got room for desert and luckily Wagamama had got the memo that I’m a greedy little piglet. Keeping with the winter theme, the hot dessert was half moon pancakes served with date and orange sauce and a scoop of cinnamon sauce – delicious. Now unfortunately, my plus one decided that a picture of an empty plate would be far more useful for this review than a picture of the actual food (everyone has a cross to bear, mine’s moronic friends) so you’re going to have to use your imagination here.

I’d only ever been to Wagamama once before; a few days after getting back from a month in Thailand  (I ordered the Pad Thai and banged on about how I could now cook as I’d spent a day at cooking school over there – why did no one tell me I was a tosser?) I’ll definitely be returning (Ok there was a ten quid complimentary voucher in the goody bag but I swear down it was a nice scran). I know going to independent Liverpool bars and restaurants is being pushed at the moment and that’s a great thing but Wagamama has gorgeous food and friendly, funny staff so maybe they can join Nando’s on the list of acceptable chain restaurants to eat at.

*Wok fried greens, a simple combination of long steamed broccoli teamed with Pak Choi, stir friend with plenty of garlic and soy sauce – a perfect complement to any dish ” – That’s straight from the media release. I should have probably just uploaded the media release too – far more descriptive than me.

You can sample the delicious new Wagamama menu for yourself at: Wagamama, Liverpool One, 14 Paradise Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 8JF

Originally published in OPEN Magazine

Interview: Paul Oakenfold

With a career spanning three decades, Grammy nominations, endless collaborations and residences across the world, it’s safe to say Paul Oakenfold is one of the true legends in the electronic music world. He can apparently also be rather tricky to interview (read Thump’s The Worst Interview of All Time with Paul Oakenfold).

Originally published for OPEN Magazine

With a career spanning three decades, Grammy nominations, endless collaborations and residences across the world, it’s safe to say Paul Oakenfold is one of the true legends in the electronic music world. He can apparently also be rather tricky to interview (read Thump’s The Worst Interview of All Time with Paul Oakenfold). However, when I caught up with him last week I was rather hopeful. After all, we had a lot to discuss; his new record with Azealia Banks, his US Trance Mission Tour, his third album release and of course, the return to his spiritual home at Cream, Nation, for their 21st Birthday party on Saturday 12th October 2013.

I got ten minutes on the phone to Paul in his LA based Perfecto offices and this is what happened:

OPEN: Hi Paul, it’s Zoë from OPEN Magazine in the UK – you ready to start the interview?

Paul Oakenfold: Yeah, let’s go – let’s do this.

Brilliant. Now you’re about to embark on a US Trance Mission Tour. Trance in the US is a tricky thing to sell, is increasing the popularity of Trance over in America a personal ambition of yours?

No not really (Long pause).

[This was a worrying start]

I wouldn’t look into it too deeply. When I had my residency in Las Vegas I was playing a lot of what is known as ‘the big room sounds’ which I find very melodic and I even showcase that on my new CD. We just came up with an idea that trance in the US, as you said, is not necessarily that popular – I love it but they don’t really have the history of trance and we came up with an idea of sharing that by doing some original productions, 2013/2014 versions, of some of the great songs back in the day and we thought we’d put a tour around it.

Basically, we’re going to do a 2013/2014 fresh production of a record that’s 15 years old. It’s not a remix, it’s a full production – it’s a cover version, that’s what it is.

You did over 200 shows in 2012 and obviously you’re about to embark on this tour – how much does touring impact on your personal life? A big negative effect?

Yeah of course it does. I stopped DJing for a while, I was working on music for films and games and I had my residency in Las Vegas. Three years ago I was going there every Saturday, I wasn’t doing a lot of DJing. But then I wanted to go on the road and I was really enjoying it. I love travelling and seeing the world – I’m very lucky I can do that through music but it does have a negative – you’re not with you’re family, you’re not at home, you don’t see your friends as much as you’d like to but that’s part and parcel of it and I’m still lucky that I can go on tour and enjoy it.

You seem to have quite a positive view – do you follow @DJsComplaining  on Twitter?

*Long laugh* [I was very relieved he laughed] I didn’t even know that!

That’s funny – I have to see that. Who put that together? Is that new? You know what we should do? We’ve got to get in touch with DJ magazine and they’ve got to do an award for the biggest DJ moaner. That’s what we’ve got to do, definitely. It would be funny.

It’s such a wonderful job – seeing the world through music, sharing and learning and experiencing, it’s great. Sometimes, when you are tired you do moan – especially us English, that’s what we do, right? But you’ve got to put your feet on the ground and realise how lucky you are and maybe these people don’t. But I think if you keep your feet on the ground and really think it through you will realise how lucky you are.

You’ve recently worked with Azealia Banks on the single ‘Venus’ – how was that?

Yeah, I like Azealia. She’s got a good balance of understanding commercial, young new music and she’s also really edgy – she’s got a lot of attitude that comes with it. I like that. I really enjoy working with her.

Some of the music press are suggesting that Azealia is getting more caught up in twitter beef, being a bit of a gobshite and believing her own hype before her debut album’s even been released – any advice for her?

I haven’t heard or seen that – I don’t know what’s going on!

Did you like the record?

Yeah, it’s really good. [It would have been pretty awkward continuing the interview if I hadn’t]

Good. Cool.

Your third album has been hotly anticipated. I’ve seen you quoted as saying that House music is pop music now and your new album is mainstream. How do you feel about that?

I’ve produced Madonna, I’ve worked with U2, Justin Timberlake, Azealia Banks – I’ve worked in the mainstream world, I don’t have a problem with it. I’ve focussed on songs, working with great young new talent, not the obvious big names, with cutting edge beats and hopefully people will like that.

Disclosure are on the same label as Lady Gaga and BEP and their record is being played on daytime radio in America. Would you say Disclosure are pop? Of course they’re not but they’re mainstream – well done to Disclosure. They made a great record, people really like it so why not share it and let everyone in on it – it’s a great record.

How do you feel about the fact the term EDM seems to have replaced Dance & House for a term for that genre? It’s a bit Americanised don’t you think?

*Laughs* Well, what does EDM stand for?

Electronic Dance Music.

What do we make?

Electronic Dance Music. [I feel a bit silly at this point]

There you go. Isn’t Techno electronic dance music? I mean, I wouldn’t worry about it. I mean, it’s just another name that America can understand and it’s no big deal. There’s DJ’s screaming and shouting ‘Ooo it’s EDM’ – IT STANDS FOR ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC. All music that we do in our genre is electronic. Chill out, it’s not a big deal. Let’s look at the positive sides – let’s look how big the scene has become and we’re all doing well in the scene and there’s a lot of great moments coming out the scene, globally. It’s the biggest it’s ever been, for all of us. Take a step back, breathe, count to ten and enjoy it. It doesn’t matter.

You had residences in the US, Amnesia and Pacha in Ibiza and obviously, Cream in Liverpool. Where has been your favourite place / favourite era to have been playing over the years?

Well, you’ve named ‘em all – apart from Ministry of Sound, which I opened. I’m English, I’m born in London – I have an amazing relationship with Cream in Liverpool and Ministry, both my residencies. Cream was UNBELIEVABLE. I’m so lucky that the weekend I come back to England. I get to play Ministry of Sound on Friday, and Cream Saturday! Ibiza was special as I went there when no one was doing residences, just like with Vegas and went against the grain as an English guy trying to do that. They only had Spanish residences. Those bits of my career where important to me.

Everyone knows – I’ve said it so many times – I have an amazing relationship with Liverpool and the people that have been coming to Cream for many years. I am a very lucky person. I am so looking forward, so many friends there – I used to come up every single weekend for many years – I’m really looking forward to coming back and seeing everyone and you know, I’ll play you a few classics – I know everyone has been asking me and I will. And, you know, as I say once again, I’m very fortunate and lucky and I cannot wait to come back.

You coming? Come say Hi.

I will do. Think my time’s up now – thanks for a great interview.

You too, take care. See you at Cream.

Turns out Paul Oakenfold isn’t a knob head at all, he’s actually pretty sound if you ask him some questions that aren’t just about Cher’s Twitter feed & emojis; you can actually get a decent chat out of him.

Paul Oakenfold ft Azealia Banks Venus from the album Pop Killer is out now

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Review: Liverpool Comedy Festival

Reviews of comedians Chris Cairns, Daniel Sloss and Keith Carter during Liverpool Comedy Festival.

Originally published in The Liverpool Echo

Chris Cairns

With recommendations from John Bishop, Sarah Millican, and Jason Manford, the pressure was on for Liverpool’s reigning comedian of the year, Chris Cairns, to live up to the hype last night.

With the room constantly filled with laughter, he certainly delivered the goods and didn’t let anyone down.

With a solid support from Phil Chapman, Cairns had the room in stitches with ad libbing, audience participation and his hilarious set, revolving around the theme of unusual facts. The night was as educational as it was humorous – who knew that the act of oral sex was illegal in Malaysia eh?

Value for money was secured as the show over ran with Chris answering questions submitted from the audience at the end of the evening.

Another exceptional performance at The Laughter House has ensured that the Liverpool Comedy Festival continues it’s fine run of form this year.

Daniel Sloss

Daniel Sloss cemented his status as the UK’s fastest rising comedy star with a hysterical , and at times, risqué set at The Laughter House last night.

On the 5th night of his oh so creatively named, ‘Stand Up’, tour, Sloss manages to deliver anecdotes and hypothetical scenarios in such an amusing manner that, at times, his comic delivery is even funnier than the joke itself. Highlights of the evening are when the more controversial jokes fill the room with gasps of shock, as well as laughter.

Support act and warm up, Geordie comic Kai Humphries, acts as the perfect accompaniment to the comic sensation and is certainly on a par with the main act itself.

With a look of both Russell Howard and Chris Ramsey, it’s fair to say that after watching Sloss’ routine that it won’t be long until he becomes a household name, just like his lookalikes.

Keith Carter

Last night saw The Laughter House host local lad, Keith Carter perform as part of The Liverpool Comedy Festival.

Carter’s creation, Peter Sutcliffe (Not that one) got the crowd laughing from the off as a posh, property developer acting as the evenings compare. There’s certainly an element of Alan Partridge to the character as he goes about his scathing social observations – finishing nicely with a rap rendition as  ‘The P Man’.

In contrast to the outrageously posh parody, was the main act; Nige – with his take on signing on, families and experiences with aliens. An acoustic performance of his song ‘I’m Dead’, scheduled to be played at his funeral, was certainly the night’s highlight.

Carter’s portrayal of both characters was executed wonderfully and made for an enjoyable evening. It certainly left me wanting to see what other creations Carter has to offer the comedy world.

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Review: Liverpool Music Awards 2013

A round up of what happened during the 2013 Liverpool Music Awards.

Originally published for OPEN Magazine

The August Bank Holiday weekend was a particularly good one for the Liverpool music scene. There was the first ever Liverpool International Music Festival and Creamfields, down the road in Cheshire (lets hope anyone who referred to it as ‘A field of Cream’ got sold Nurofen and fell in the mud) and then Sunday evening saw St George’s Hall host the second ever Liverpool Music Awards.

miley

Sponsored by Liverpool City Council, and a part of the Liverpool International Music Festival, the LMA’s was a glamorous, celebrity packed event. Fair enough, there was no Miley Cyrus dry humping Robin Thicke like at the VMA’s across the Atlantic but I did manage to spy Chris Maloney doing some enthusiastic whooping and cheering when The Hummingbird’s won Best Band which was equally as interesting to watch.

Sent to represent OPEN, I got a VIP ticket with a plus one – there was a lot more interest from my friends to be my guest, compared to the last time I offered a plus one out (one man Les Dennis play, anyone? ANYONE?). I took my friend Sarah; on the condition she had to be on her best behaviour, she’s not exactly renowned for keeping her cool around any kind of celebrity (Ben from A1 left his PA at Garlands early a few years back, as she grabbed his crotch with excitement when she saw him. I’m not even sure if she was an A1 fan!) Anyway, aside from a few mild stalker-ish Tweets to Miles Kane when we noticed him across the table, she did good and we came away with no restraining orders.

Hosted by DJ Janice Long, the awards giving was accompanied by live performances from Miles Christian, Robert Vincent, Broken Men & KOF, Milly Pye, Miss Stylie and Ghostchant. Miles Kane (Album of the year),Esco Williams (Male Artist of the year), Ian Broudie
(Producer of the year) and Natalie McCool (Female Artist of the year) were amongst the winners of the evening. We happened to be sat right next to Radio City’s Anton Powers who kept hold of the ‘DJ of the year’ award for a second time, nice to be on a winning table (I was secretly hoping he might forget his award on the table then I could have a go pretending I was an award winner but sadly he didn’t. I just had to make do with nicking the leftover cupcakes for my hangover food the next day.)

Obviously, the evening was a chance to celebrate the current music scene but it was also a chance to pay tribute to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster and Michael Molloy, one of the three teenagers who died in the Bestival coach crash last September. ‘The Justice Collective’ picked the Judges Special Award for their Christmas No 1, ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother’ and Michael Molloy’s mother received a standing ovation when collecting the award for her Son’s Single of the Year award for ‘Rise & Fall’, which he recorded with his friend Alex Evans.

It’s hard to believe it was only the second ever Liverpool Music Awards, it’s going to be hard to top Sunday’s success next year but I’m sure Awards Director, Ellie Phillips will manage it.

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Review: Delifonseca Dockside

A review of the Liverpool dockside award winning restaurant, Delifonseca.

Originally published for OPEN Magazine

Receiving countless accolades since it’s opening in 2006, most recently awarded The Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year for 2014, Delifonseca is undoubtedly one of Liverpool’s shining stars in the restaurant scene. Despite its constant stream of rave reviews, Delifonseca remains, and please ignore the cringey phrase here, is a seemingly well hidden gem in Liverpool to non-foodies like myself.  However, just one trip to the Dockside restaurant was enough to stop me ever lazily choosing to dine in a chain restaurant again – within minutes of stepping foot into the venue it’s easy to see why the critics can’t stop chucking awards at them.

I made my first visit to the Dockside Deli with a friend on a Saturday afternoon; 20 minutes late for my reservation as I’d stupidly gone to the Stanley Street site (the original, smaller restaurant & Deli, also well worth a visit). Despite the fact I was clearly an idiot, the staff were nothing but attentive and welcoming when seating us and explaining how the menu works.

We opted to order some Double Salmon Fishcakes and chunky chips with a cherry tomato chutney relish (£10.95) from the restaurants unique blackboard of specials; normally between 10 – 12 main courses feature and change daily. The blackboard menu runs alongside the standard printed menu which is full of classic deli platters and sandwiches; including their infamous ‘Po Boy’ sandwich; a crusty baguette filled with beef braised for hours in a rich beef stock and accompanied with tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise. The ‘Po Boy’ has sold over 12,ooo since The Delifonseca opened its doors so is undoubtedly their signature dish. However, I’m a bit of a werido who loves steak but doesn’t really like beef so the legendary sandwich would have been wasted on me, which is a real shame (It’s not all bad hating beef though; I never have to feel the need to upload a picture of my bang average roast dinner to Facebook!).

I instead went for the ‘Croque Monsieur’ (£7.95); The Parisian classic of melted comté cheese and deli ham on toasted white bread with garnish and chunky chips. I was expecting just a posh cheese and ham toastie, but when it came out it was clear this wasn’t just something I could just rustle up at home. After finishing our delicious meals (including a side of Spiced Roasted Vegetable Couscous £3.45) I had to commit my ultimate pet peeve – splitting a dessert! Normally, I despise anyone who suggests sharing a dessert (I’m like Joey on Friends – I don’t share food!!) but I was facing the ultimate dilemma; I was stuffed after such a lovely meal but I didn’t want to leave without trying something from the dessert board. We split a cheesecake and within seconds of tasting it I was regretting my sensible decision and wishing I’d adopted my normally greedy attitude towards food and ordered one all for myself – it was amazing!

After we’d finished, our lovely waitress, Debbie, showed us around the Deli’s shop; stocked full with so many amazing ingredients and food, it’s enough to inspire anyone to attempt becoming Jamie Oliver in the kitchen.

With exceptional, attentive service, indescribably delicious food (which is also great value for money) and a gorgeous atmosphere, the Delifonseca is one of them rare places that not only lives up to expectations and their reviews, but exceeds them.

Brunswick Dock, Liverpool L3
Click here to view the map

OPENING TIMES MON – SAT
Deli: 8am – 9pm
Restaurant: 8am – 9pm (last food orders) (9:30pm Fri & Sat)

SUNDAY TIMES
Deli & Restaurant: 9:30am – 5pm

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Review: Nirvana Aesthetics

A review of Liverpool’s premier eyebrow specialists, Nirvana Aesthetics.

UPDATE: Sophie is now working with Nirvana Aesthetics.

Originally published for OPEN Magazine

It doesn’t matter how many time Vogue dubs it a Power Brow, it’s a Scouse Brow and everyone knows it.

Everyone wants a Scouse Brow; the desire for perfect arched eyebrows is a quest no longer just confined to Merseyside area – the rest of the country has now got in on the act. With the Duchess of Cambridge sporting a full brow and Cara Develingine’s fabulous eyebrows even commanding their own Twitter page, brow maintenance has never been so crucial. Naturally, Liverpool is home to the best place in the country to get yourself some HD Eyebrows sculpted to perfection – Browtique. Situated on Rodney St, in town, Browtique is where to go for boss brows – OPEN‘s very own agony aunt @scousebirdprobs is even an advocate, what more endorsement do you need?

I caught up with Sophie, Browtiques owner, to discuss just how perfect brows are created and celebrity clients.

Everyone’s flocking to you at the moment for HD eyebrows – What makes HD eyebrows give such good results, rather than just plucking and waxing?

With HD it’s a tailored treatment which is unique to everyone’s faces, it’s more focussed for each individual – You get your eyebrows measured up, your face shape and type is assessed, it’s discussed how much make up each client wears, what kind of look they’re after.

How did you become the go to girl for sorting out Merseyside’s brows?

Well, I did Forensic Science for 4 years at university and then I was cooking chicken full time in Nandos!! I didn’t have a clue what to do. I loved getting my eyebrows done but when I came home, everywhere was rubbish so I decided to go on a course to master how to do them and offer a brilliant service to everyone in Liverpool! That was back in October and I’ve not really looked back since, it’s been amazing.

You’ve done Scouse Bird’s HD Brows, she’s a local celebrity -Any celebrities eyebrows you’d love to get your hands on?

I really want to do Michelle Keegan’s, I’d love to do hers. I’d also like to treat Natasha Hamilton too!

Browtiques is expanding isn’t it – what should the brow conscious population be looking out for?

Well with ‘Blushious Contour’, we offer the ‘Shrinking Violet Wrap’ which can take inches off you and also permanent eyebrow make up. So once you’ve got your eyebrows the perfect shape through HD, you can get them tattooed on! We’re looking to have a launch party in the next few weeks so keep your eyes on our Twitter page!

So girls, if you don’t want your eyebrows to look an absolute show, like say Pamela Anderson’s, (Seriously, how has she got to her 40′s without someone having a quiet word in her ear about them?) you know where you need to get to Malinki Cosmetics on Rodney Street.

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Review: Ladies Day

A review of the Royal Court production Ladies Day; starring Roxanne Pallett

Kevin Alexander has backed a winner with the hilarious Ladies Day as his debut show as Artistic Director at The Royal Court.

Amanda Whittington’s heart-warming comedy sees four Liverpool lasses working in a fish factory and dreaming of a better life. When one of the girls, Pearl, decides upon early retirement, they decide to leave their troubles at home for the day and try their luck at Aintree’s infamous Ladies Day.

Dressed to impress, the girls embark upon a champagne-fuelled day of racing and revelations. A constant stream of laughter is heard from the stalls, as the four women treat the audience to top comedic performances.

The chemistry between the characters is flawless and it’s evident that the four girls got on as well off stage, as they do on – something Roxanne Pallett (Shelley) was keen to point out.

“We’re like a bargain basement version of ‘Sex and The City’,” she laughs when discussing her cast-mates.

“I think that the four characters have that vibe in which everyone can relate to one of them.

“You’ve got someone who’s very vulnerable, a feisty one, someone who says the wrong thing at the wrong time, someone who’s got a secret – each character goes on a real journey.

“There’s a great unity between us, on and off stage. I love these girls and I love my character. Everyone’s got a loud friend like Shelley.”

As she mentioned, Roxanne’s character Shelley certainly is loud and steals the show with her outrageous one-liners.

“Shelley’s a great character to play,” Roxanne revealed, “she idolises the likes of Katie Price and is the kind of girl who will buy a magazine and buy everything from it.

“My outfit is just outrageous. I was actually a judge at Aintree Racecourse this time last year and I’ve been flicking through some pictures – there’s a few girls with their extensions in, all dolled up and then they’re snapped with a portion of chips in one hand and a blue WKD in the other which I think is priceless – that’s Shelley to a T.”

Chatting to Click before the show, Roxanne revealed how she could not wait to start playing larger than life Shelley. “This role is so different from what I normally play,” she says “I usually get roles for either the victim or the villain so it’s nice to play someone so full of life and comedic. It was a real compliment that the director cast me alongside three genuine, authentic scousers.”

The three authentic scousers in question are Royal Court regulars Eithne Browne and Lynn Francis, who both give yet another solid performance and bounce well off one another, and newcomer Angela Simms, who was perfect in the part of ditzy Tony Christie enthusiast Linda.

A special mention must go to Jack Lord, the only male in the cast, who plays an impressive six roles and immerses himself into each; it’s hardly noticeable that the jack the lad tout is played by the same person portraying the hapless, hungry jockey.

Ladies Day is a fantastic, feel good comedy which everyone should be quick to catch whilst it’s out the stalls!

Cast: Roxanne Pallett, Lynn Francis, Eithne Brown, Angela Simms, Jack Lord
Running time: 135 minutes

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Interview: Roxanne Pallett

An interview with Roxanne Pallett ahead of her Liverpool play Ladies Day at The Royal Court Theatre.

It’s a case of mixing business with pleasure for former Emmerdale star,  Roxanne Pallett as she returns to her second home of Liverpool to star in Amanda Whittington’s new comedy Ladies Day.

LJMU graduate Roxanne will star as the fame hungry Shelley in The Royal Court’s latest comedic offering.

The feel-good comedy centres around 4 fish-packing factory colleagues who leave their troubles at home for a fizz-filled day at the races.

Roxanne revealed how she cannot wait to start playing larger than life Shelley. “This role is so different from what I normally play,” she says “I usually get roles for either the victim or the villain so it’s nice to play someone so full of life and comedic. It was a real compliment that the director cast me alongside 3 genuine, authentic Scousers.”

The 3 genuine Scousers in question are, Royal Court regulars, Lynn Francis and Eithne Brown and new face, Angela Simms. “We’re like a bargain basement version of Sex and The City,” laughs Roxanne when discussing her cast-mates. “I think that the four characters have that vibe in which everyone can relate to one of them. You’ve got someone who’s very vulnerable, a feisty one, someone who says the wrong thing at the wrong time, someone who’s got a secret – each character goes on a real journey. There’s a great unity between us, on and off stage. I love these girls and I love my character. Everyone’s got a loud friend like Shelley.”

 

“Shelley’s a great character to play,” she reveals “she idolises the likes of Katie Price and is the kind of girl who will buy a magazine and buy everything from it. My outfit is just outrageous. I was actually a judge at Aintree Racecourse this time last year and I’ve been flicking through some pictures – there’s a few girls with their extensions in, all dolled up and then they’re snapped with a portion of chips in one hand and a blue WKD in the other which i think is priceless – that’s Shelley to a T.”

Roxanne speaks with nothing but love for her 3 years spent as a student in Liverpool; “I just love being back, whenever I get a free weekend I do like to come to Liverpool to see friends. I absolutely love the city.” Fresh from her stint with The Rocky Horror show, recently appearing at The Empire, Roxanne mentions how she feels she’s come a full circle with Liverpool. “There’s just something so magical about this city, I think a lot of people’s dreams come true here; I’ve just been at The Empire and now I’m at The Royal Court; my dreams started in Liverpool and now I’m here on stage so it’s really nice.”

You can catch Roxanne on the very stage she talks about at The Royal Court Theatre from 14th June – 13th July. Tickets and information are available from www.royalcourtliverpool.com or on 0870 787 1866.

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Interview: Dawn O’Porter (Part 2)

I caught up with Dawn at the Liverpool signing of her book, Paper Aeroplanes (give it a read, it’s not just for the kids) to discuss her drinking days in Liverpool, Scouse Brows and feminism.

Originally published for Claire House Magazine 

Dawn O’Porter is making a name for herself for being one of Britain’s best-loved female personalities. She’s a fit, funny feminist who takes an original approach to everything she does (she recently married Irish Hollywood star, Chris O’Dowd and rather than just take his surname, decided to merge the two.) She spent her 20’s making documentaries on everything from slimming down to a size zero to investigating polygamy.

She’s now turned her hand at becoming a best-selling novelist. I caught up with Dawn at the Liverpool signing of her book, Paper Aeroplanes (give it a read, it’s not just for the kids) to discuss her drinking days in Liverpool, Scouse Brows and feminism.

Hi Dawn, it’s not really mentioned much but you actually used to live in Liverpool (Dawn was a student at LIPA) – did you enjoy your time in Merseyside? This is going to be a really awkward interview if you didn’t…..

I LOVE Liverpool. I had an absolutely great time here. When I left, I didn’t look back because life got so busy in London but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have the most amazing time here. I remember having such a good time but it was so different. The social life was smaller, I think it was the Finch and Furkin on Hope Street. Is The Pilgrim still open? I was there all the time. Zanzibar? I wouldn’t have a clue where to go nowadays.

The Pilgrim’s still around, don’t worry. Now we’ve confirmed that you love Liverpool, you can tell us; what’s your favourite thing about Scousers?

Scousers are so much fun to go out on the piss with! I had a few local friends when I was here. My social life wasn’t massively about my course and I had a little group of friends and we hung with a lot of Scousers. I love Liverpool humour. This guy Joey – Joey, if you’re reading this I don’t know where you are or what happened to you – but he used to make me laugh so much. He was old school Liverpool, he was about 40 odd when I were at college and he would just hang out with us and make us laugh all day. I’ve never forgotten him and he was one of the funniest people in the whole world. Scousers were great for a days drinking – and that’s all I really did here if I’m honest!!

Now, your book Paper Aeroplanes is about two teenage girls and is marketed as a young adult read, any plans for literature just for the grown ups?

 These two books (Paper Aeroplanes and the sequel Goose which Dawn is currently writing) are young adult but I’d like to keep writing about these two girls, Renee and Flo, all their life. I’ve already mapped out the 3rd book which is them in their 20’s and the 4th will be them in their 30’s. They’ll obviously be aimed at adults because the characters will have grown up. The idea is to keep the audience growing with the book, that would be ideal.

I didn’t write it any differently to how it would have been if the book was for adults; I didn’t think about teenagers when writing it – I thought about female friendship. I don’t have a teenager audience yet, so most of the readers have been 25 plus and the response has been amazing.

Now regardless of what Janet St Porter thinks (Janet called Dawn a traitor to feminism for taking an advert campaign for Andrex Washlets), you are one of Britain’s strong feminist role models – who inspires you?

 I actually went on Loose Women with her the other day and she was so nice to me!! She didn’t mention it but I think what she probably realised when I got there was that I wasn’t the stupid idiot that she’d made me out to be. In response, I said in another paper that I thought it made her sound like a silly old bag and then three days later I’m on Loose Women next to her and she’s being really nice to me. You know, when you’re a journalist you’ve got to write stuff for people to notice it and you say stuff like that. What she said was completely ridiculous. I take one job for the money, because you have to do that when you work in the public eye – it’s a great job as far as I’m concerned. But all that good stuff I’ve done for female confidence etc and I get called a traitor to feminism for taking one job – I just thought what she said was ridiculous so yeah, I am a feminist and it made me feel more determined after that actually.

I love Caitlin Moran, Beyonce – there’s just so many at the moment. Basically, my idols in this industry are women who are nailing it, who have got kids and are continuing to work and don’t look like stick-thin supermodels and are just really good role models for women. I spend half my time in the U.S and all the women on TV over there look the same; they’re all stick thin, with big lollipop heads, and really, really straightened hair. In this country our biggest TV presenter is Davina McCall, who looks like a normal woman. There’s Caroline Flack, who’s got a normal shape, there’s Gemma Cairney with a normal shape, there’s me – none of us are stick thin and I think we should be really proud of that. For young girls in America, their examples aren’t like that. We all have personalities and over here people get on TV for their personalities. The majority of women on UK TV are really clever, funny women who are really good at their jobs and look like normal people. I think that’s a brilliant thing that there are a lot of feminist role models in our media.

Speaking of brilliant women; Liverpool’s produced lots of glamorous, strong female celebrities – who’s your favourite Scouse woman?

Natasha Hamilton from Atomic Kitten. She’s so sweet. I met her at a party the other day and she’s really cute.

Lets see if you remember any Liverpool lingo – Scouse Brows, yes or no?

LOVE THEM. I like big eyebrows. Eyebrows for a while were really thin – so I’m glad big brows are back. Scouse Brows are awesome.

Do you remember what ‘Boss’ means?

That something’s ‘wicked’?

Correct

Scran?

No, pass

Scran is scouse for food – so if you were to have a pan of scouse you’d be having ‘a big fat scran’

Ahhhh. I had Scouse when I was here. I love of that kind of food; Scouse, Hot Pot, Corned Beef hash…..

Geg?

Nope 🙁

Wool?

Pass, again.

Dawn, it’s been an absolute pleasure. You need to do a refresher course on your Scouse lingo but as you love Scouse Brows so much we’ll let you off. And Joey, if you are reading this, give Dawn a Tweet…..

You may also enjoy: Interview: Dawn O’Porter

 

Interview: Dawn O’Porter

Dawn O’Porter is one cool woman. From slimming down to a size zero, to orgies and polygamy, she’s done it all. She can now also add best-selling novelist to her never-ending list of talents.

Originally published online for OPEN Magazine

Dawn O’Porter is one cool woman. From slimming down to a size zero, to orgies and polygamy, she’s done it all.  She can now also add best-selling novelist to her never-ending list of talents. I caught up with Dawn at the Liverpool signing of her book, Paper Aeroplanes (give it a read, it’s not just for kids) to discuss her drinking days in Liverpool, Scouse Brows and online dating.

Within seconds of meeting Dawn she has complimented me on my mazzy bun, I have a feeling this is going to be a good interview…..

Hi Dawn, it’s not really mentioned much but you actually used to live in Liverpool (Dawn was a student at LIPA) – did you enjoy your time in Merseyside? This is going to be a really awkward interview if you didn’t…..

Haha, I LOVE Liverpool. I had an absolutely great time here. When I left, I didn’t look back because life got so busy in London but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have the most amazing time here. I remember having such a good time but it was so different. The social life was smaller, I think it was the Finch and Furkin on Hope Street. Is The Pilgrim still open? I was there all the time. Zanzibar? I wouldn’t have a clue where to go nowadays.

The Pilgrim’s still around, don’t worry. Now we’ve confirmed that you love Liverpool, you can tell us; what’s your favourite thing about Scousers?

Scousers are so much fun to go out on the piss with! I had a few local friends when I was here. My social life wasn’t massively about my course and I had a little group of friends and we hung with a lot of Scousers. I love Liverpool humour. This guy Joey – Joey, if you’re reading this I don’t know where you are or what happened to you – but he used to make me laugh so much. He was old school Liverpool, he was about 40 odd when I were at college and he would just hang out with us and make us laugh all day. I’ve never forgotten him and he was one of the funniest people in the whole world. Scousers were great for a days drinking – that’s all I really did here if I’m honest!!

Now, your book Paper Aeroplanes is about two teenage girls and is marketed as a young adult read, any plans for literature just for the grown ups?

These two books (Paper Aeroplanes and the sequel Goose which Dawn is currently writing) are young adult but I’d like to keep writing about these two girls, Renee and Flo, all their life. I’ve already mapped out the 3rd book which is them in their 20′s and the 4th will be them in their 30′s. They’ll obviously be aimed at adults because the characters will have grown up. The idea is to keep the audience growing with the book, that would be ideal.

I didn’t write it any differently to how it would have been if the book was for adults; I didn’t think about teenagers when writing it – I thought about female friendship. I don’t have a teenager audience yet, so most of the readers have been 25 plus and the response has been amazing.

You’re returning to our TV screens soon with a show about internet dating – what can we expect?

The nice thing about the TV I’m doing nowadays is that it’s not about me. All my TV during my 20′s was about me going through an experience – that was the younger me. It was exhausting and took quite a lot out of me. The nice thing about this online dating show is that it’s about other people – I’m just doing the research and the investigating. So there’s a survey of 1000 people, all who are online dating, and we’re getting the answers about how to do it and what works and what doesn’t work. Vegetarians and Christians lie more in their profiles than meat eaters and atheists – really fun facts like that.

Any ‘Catfish’ style investigations?

It’s more about looking at the people who sell other people’s profiles. Some kids are under 18 and have joined a dating site then their details have appeared on quite adult sex sites! It’s quite grim because your information isn’t safe, so we’re warning people about that. I love internet dating – I did loads of it when I was younger, I think everyone should do it.

You met your husband online after all…

I did! I met him on Facebook – I’d never heard of him, I didn’t know who he was and he, through a friend who told him I was out in LA, contacted me and it’s the same kind of thing. It’s making that first approach online because you haven’t got time to go the pub every night and meet people so I just think, I had a great time internet dating when I was single and I met the love of my life on the internet so I think it’s a great thing.

Did you enjoy having a nosy at other people’s profiles?

Yeah. We do talk through how to write the right profile as well and it’s amazing how many people get it wrong. Also, how defensive people sound in their profiles. A lot of women say ‘I’M REALLY INDEPENDENT, NOT LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO CHANGE THAT’ – what’s appealing about that? You need to say ‘I’m an independent person but I’m looking for someone to be independent with’; it’s a different way of talking.

What do you think about speed dating? 

Speed dating is odd. I’m not into that at all. I’d be interested to know how many people get together from speed dating. It’s so quick and silly; most of the people you’ll just be like ‘oh God’ and you won’t have a good night. I’m not into that, it’s not realistic.

Liverpool’s produced lots of glamorous celebrities – who’s your favourite famous Scouser?

Natasha Hamilton from Atomic Kitten. She’s so sweet. I met her at a party the other day and she’s really cute.

Lets see if you remember any Liverpool lingo – Scouse Brows, yes or no?

LOVE THEM. I like big eyebrows. Eyebrows for a while were really thin – so I’m glad big brows are back. Scouse Brows are awesome.

Do you remember what ‘Boss’ means?

That something’s ‘wicked’?

Correct. Scran?

No, pass

Scran is scouse for food – so if you were to have a pan of Scouse, you’d be having ‘a big fat scran’

Ahhhh. I had Scouse when I was here. I love of that kind of food; Scouse, Hot Pot, Corned Beef hash…..

Geg?

Nope :(

Wool?

Pass, again.

Dawn, it’s been an absolute pleasure. You need to a refresher course on your Scouse lingo but as you love Scouse Brows so much we’ll let you off. And Joey, if you are reading this, give Dawn a Tweet…..

How To Find Love Online starts Tuesday 18th June, 22:30 on Channel 4.

You may also enjoy: Review & Interview: Dawn O’Porter