Starlite: The World’s First Urban Drive-In

As a kid, Grease was undoubtedly my favourite movie. I knew all the songs and all the dialogue inside-out, I loved the 1950s glamour and the dancing, but most of all I loved the drive-in. Row upon row of convertibles in front of a huge screen created (in my eyes) the potential for the most romantic setting imaginable – cuddled up watching a movie under the stars.

Now, thanks to Damian Barr, the retro American-style Drive-in is being revived 2010-style… and it’s coming to London. The ultra-trendy Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, to be precise.

The man who brought us Silent Cinema, the Shoreditch House Literary Salon and Reader in Residence now, in partnership with Volvo, brings us the Starlite Urban Drive-In: “We all grew up with the drive-in dream,” says Damian. “But it never happened in Britain because we don’t have the space, the weather, or that car culture. I wanted to update the idea and make it work for an urban, eco-conscious audience and this seemed the perfect way to do it.”

For just £25 per person, you get to kick back in a shiny new Volvo convertible, order cocktails and popcorn from roller-skating waitresses and enjoy fabulous retro canapes. There’ll be no “sshh-ing” of the crowds either, as you’ll be enjoying the film through your car’s stereo, adding that extra level of intimacy to the viewing experience – which is what Silent Cinema was all about.

On Friday night (2nd July) there’s the chance to go all girly over Patrick Swayze with a screening of Dirty Dancing, then on Saturday (3rd) you’ll be transported back to the 50s for real with the ultimate drive-in movie, Grease. Although advance tickets for both nights are sold out, there’ll be more released on the day – so make sure you join the Facebook Group and keep an eye on the website for more details.

Keep an eye on Alice Writes for my review of the VIP screening on July 1st…


Qype Does Brighton!

Qype Does Brighton!

After enjoying huge success in London and all over Europe since it launched in Germany in 2006, international reviews site Qype is finally hitting Brighton. In style.

We’ve got three floors, yes THREE FLOORS of open-mic and open-house shenanigans at Lucky Voice, Brighton on 23rd June from 6pm. And the best bit? It’s TOTALLY free. Just make sure you RSVP to so you don’t miss out.

The evening will feature live music from Brighton-based singer-songwriters Mike Wilton, Louis May and Gemma Williams, poetry from Tony Flynn and karaoke hosted by Brighton’s karaoke king Stephen Leppard. There’ll also be some thai-style nibbles (first come, first served), a free cocktail for ALL performers (even the terrible ones) and two-for-one cocktails for everyone else. Bargainous, eh?

If you feel like you’ve got far more to give than one karaoke number will allow, then get in touch with me on to be added to the main bill of performers.

There are also prizes to be won for the best performances and the best reviews of the venue and event – including dinner at new Vietnamese restaurant, Pho.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Add yourself to the Facebook Event

Read more at the Qype Blog

NatDecants: the FREE Wine and Food Pairing App from Natalie MacLean

(c) Natalie MacLean

If you love drinking wine at dinner parties with friends, but aren’t overly confident in your ability to match the perfect grapes to the perfect foods, then this absolute gem of an iPhone App from award-winning wine journalist Natalie MacLean may well be your saving grace.

With an incredibly user-friendly interface,  Natalie’s made this App as easy and accessible as her wine journalism. Described as “your pocket sommelier” this free App contains pretty much everything you need to be an impressive host or guest. Not just an extremely comprehensive wine pairing guide packed with very specific wine and food pairings, Nat Decants is also full of delicious recipes, reviews and articles, plus your very own ‘virtual cellar’ where you can record your wine purchases  – or those that you’ve already drunk – as well as your wine investments.

As someone who often does ridiculous things with her spare time like alphabetising her DVDs and cataloguing her book library, the virtual cellar is something which is immensely appealing to my inner obsessive compulsive. You can catalogue wines by type, name, date purchased, date consumed, year, grape, region, country, price, alcohol, tasting notes… What a wonderful procrastination tool, eh? Just what I need on a rainy pyjama day when want to do something self-indulgent and not remotely useful to anyone else. Excellent.

I’ll definitely be using this App for my next dinner party.