576. No one wants to hear you talk about your health, your dreams, your diet, or your money. - (via Mrs. Maria Matthiessen on This American LIfe)
4 weeks ago
“Basil's Bar in Mustique, is my favourite in the world. I love it because it’s so laid-back. The staff have been there for ever and always remember you. The drinks are tropical and, if you’re lucky, you get to see the ‘green flash’ when the sun sets and meets the horizon of the sea.”
“My favourite hangout is the GoldBar, in New York. I am there a fair bit, as I’m about to open Proud NY. I find it shocking how much cooler New York is than London right now — and how much more beautiful the bars and clientele are. Lenny Kravitz used to go there a lot, and John Mayer has been seen there recently. It’s an amazing place, with real gold-plated skulls on the walls, a gold-plated ceiling and a bronze floor.”
“Le Monal, in the French ski resort of Ste Foy Tarentaise, is the hub of the whole village — it’s where you’ll find skiers and locals alike having drinks and lots of fun at the end of their day. I own a ski lodge in the village and always nip down to Le Monal if I ever need a handyman to fix anything back at my pad. One visit and the word goes out that you need your electricity looked at. Within seconds, the right sparky is found, and everyone drinks to that. The beer is wonderful, and it has the best rosé in the area. It is, without exception, the best bar for miles and miles around.”
“La Esquina, in New York, is a real example of how to create somewhere so special, you feel a million dollars discovering it. It’s a real Aladdin’s cave, with amazing food, great service and terrific ambience. The drinks menu is extremely innovative. I had the first margarita I have had in five years there, and I can safely say it was one of the best I have ever tasted.”
“The Hotel Nacional de Cuba has to be one of the best seaside watering holes in the world. In the middle of Vedado, in the centre of downtown Havana, it overlooks the Straits of Florida and is just yards from the sea. There are six bars in total for you to choose from, each oozing Cuban culture. Have a mojito and a cigar on one of their terraces while enjoying views of the harbour. If you want to experience the real Havana, this is the place to go. Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra are rumoured to have haunted this hotel in their time — and if it was good enough for them, it is most certainly good enough for me.”
“My favourite bar? Simple, it’s the Roger Room, in LA. It’s a fantastic speakeasy-style cocktail bar where the drinks are absolutely amazing and it’s all a bit sleazy — in a good way.”
“I love the Balearics and have a few favourite places out there. On Formentera, there is a great beachside restaurant called Juan y Andrea. They do incredible sangria and it’s an ideal spot to people-watch. Blue Marlin is on Cala Jondal bay, in Ibiza, and is for the cool crowd. It has a beach restaurant and a great bar, serving amazing cocktails. There’s also Amnesia, which is in San Rafael. It’s one of the best nightclubs. It can be quite expensive, but you’ll have the best time.”
“I would have to namecheck the Lexington Queen, in Tokyo, mainly because it was free to get in and it gave free booze to models and pop stars. It was my office for many years while I was on tour with Blur. I do hope it’s still there.”
“I’ve spent so much of this year travelling for work, but most recently I have been to Hong Kong and China. There’s an amazing hotel in Beijing called the Opposite House. It’s got a number of restaurants and bars, but I’d recommend you go for a drink in the club in the basement, called Punk. I’d also recommend going to 798, in the art district. Actually it doesn’t matter where you go in the art district. Just hang out in any of the little coffee shops and soak up the atmosphere — it’s extraordinary, all steaming streets and a bit TriBeCa, with a real mix of contemporary and Asian art wherever you look."
“In Hong Kong, there are two ways to go. The obvious one is Sevva. Bypass the restaurant and go to the huge terrace bar — it’s all decking, fabulous furniture and great music. Standing there in the hot night air when the city is all lit up, and the harbour is a hub of activity, it’s an amazing place to be. The alternative is Alan Lo’s Pawn. It’s in a beautiful old colonial building in Wan Chai. It’s much grittier and more urban in design than Sevva, and is just a great place for drinking, catching up with friends and having little things to eat.”
“On every trip to Bali, I have to go to Métis, in Seminyak. It is not just a pilgrimage, it is a pleasure, as I know I’m going to get the best food, drink and service in Bali. Its two owners, Said and Dudu, run a very well-trained team, if in a slightly old-fashioned way. The cuisine is French, with very rich dishes, which, while slightly incongruous in the hot climate of Bali, seem to work. The wine list is amazing considering the difficulties they are having with importing, and Said will always recommend something special. I like to get there early, as it gives me time to hang out at the bar, where I generally have margaritas, sometimes frozen, if it’s a hot evening. It overlooks a rice paddy and you can lounge on the open veranda and listen to the sound of the frogs chirping. It’s magical.”
“My current fave bar is Behind the Green Door, in Beirut. It’s a small, totally non-commercial venue with a capacity of only about 100 people. The vibe is amusing and intellectual; it’s chic in design and location, but frequented only by those in the thick of the ‘underground’ scene in Beirut. They have DJs when they feel like it, and, oddly, I keep bumping into mates from London there — last time, I hung out with my old friend Damon Albarn.”
“It has to be My House, on Hollywood Boulevard, LA. Why? First, location. This club is within walking distance of the Kodak theatre and Grauman’s Chinese theatre, where all the premieres are. It’s a magnet for cool Hollywood types and has a real industry feel about it. It is a beautiful, richly appointed house, with a sunken living room, a kitchen that bakes you cookies at 1am, a hot tub, which is very dangerous — it seems like such a great idea to get in after a bottle or two of Belvedere — and an outdoor grass-patio area with tables. It’s also totally unpretentious, but very private.”
“Bar Abaco in Palma, Mallorca, is the first bar I ever came across with which I felt completely in tune. It has rooms to wander and great people-watching opportunities, while sipping my own gin cocktails. Set behind a pair of giant wooden doors in La Lonja, in the old town, the former palace is a huge hit on all the senses, with opera music, flowers and fruit by the truckload — with prices to match. I hear it’s still great, even though it’s been discovered by other tourists. But hey — that’s life.”
“I would have to say Goldeneye, in Jamaica. It’s the former property of Ian Fleming, who wrote the Bond novels, and is now owned by Chris Blackwell [the founder of Island Records]. It’s a lovely little hotel and I’ve stayed there a lot. There’s always a party going on in the bar, and of course the music is amazing. Chris made me sample his fantastic local rum — it’s very coconutty and simply delicious.”
“Boadas is legendary. As Barcelona’s oldest cocktail bar, this family-owned establishment is an institution, and it attracts an eclectic mix of people. The bartenders are renowned for their unique way of making the classic gin martini (drop-pouring rather than stirring or shaking), but for me they simply make the best Beefeater negronis in the world.”
“When I drank and was in a band, my favourite place was in Paris. It was a bar called Lily Tigress. They made the best margaritas I had ever tasted. After a few of those, I would be dancing on the tables alongside some beautiful trannies. One night, while I was having such a great time, someone stole my passport and purse. I couldn’t get home. My husband [Danny Goffey, from Supergrass] went back a couple of years ago and tried to find Lily Tigress, but sadly it had closed down. Friends tell me the nearest equivalent now is Le Sancerre — a bit of a Montmartre institution, but with the same no-frills vibe and plenty of trannies, bohos and interesting types drinking the night away.”
"Given the pre- text of the need for aggressive tightening in fiscal policy the announced policy measures were aggressively neutral.
One thing this Chancellor (and his predecessor before him) has is consistency - he consistently gets his sums wrong. Government borrowing has been higher than forecast every year except one since 2001. Maybe his colleague Mr Balls will give him a remedial arithmetic course for Christmas. After such a track record of consistently being too optimistic on the outlook for the public finances, expecting the public to believe the latest set of numbers is a bit like expecting the public to believe in Santa.
This is perhaps the best demonstration of how the Chancellor is putting political points scoring ahead of the more important job of fixing the public finances. The scheme will generate just GBP550mn. Far more time was devoted to this than the GBP3bn (almost 6 times bigger) increase in the borrowing estimate for 2009-10.
..the big picture is there is a massive hole in the public finances and that was not plugged by the PBR proposals.
Put another way, over the next 4 years, the government’s (overly optimistic) forecasts for the public finances show that borrowing will rise by over 40% of GDP. That is the issue and it was neglected in favour of attacking bankers.
The government can find all the efficiency savings in the world, but it is never going to find GBP140bn to GBP150bn. Substantial spending cuts and tax hikes are what is needed.
What usually happens at Christmas is that several of the children’s new toys break. One thing you are guaranteed with this Chancellor is that when one of his forecasts break down, as they invariably do, he will immediately replace it with another - unfortunately, equally dodgy.
It was a missed opportunity to take steps to prevent a downgrade in the UK’s credit rating."
"Enthusiasts have been turning coins into miles. They discovered that a free shipping offer on presidential and Native American $1 coins, sold at face value by the U.S. Mint, amounted to printing free frequent-flier miles. Mileage lovers ordered more than $1 million in coins until the Mint started identifying them and cutting them off.
Coin buyers charged the purchases, sold in boxes of 250 coins, to a credit card that offers frequent-flier mile awards, then took the shipments straight to the bank. They then used the coins they deposited to pay their credit-card bills. Their only cost: the car trip to make the deposit.
A FlyerTalk member used the coin program to help earn a free two-week trip to Tahiti that he took with his wife at the end of October. He worked hotel, airline and credit-card programs carefully to pull together the rewards he wanted.
Another states he earned enough miles to put him over two million total at AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, giving him lifetime platinum-elite status -- early availability of upgrades for life and other perks on American and its partners around the world. He also pumped miles into his account at UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and points into his Starwood Preferred Guest program account.
Hyatt Hotels Corp. currently offers its Gold Passport program members a free night for every two nights at one of the chain's properties. Charles Witt, a facilities planner in Washington, D.C., stopped by a suburban Hyatt Place hotel on his way home from work several times, swiped his credit card to buy a $50 room and went home, never opening the door to the hotel room.
For every $100 he spent, he got a free night at any Hyatt. He booked three free nights at the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo over New Year's -- rooms that would have cost him $600 a night.
"Once you start on this road, it's very hard to get off," says Mr. Witt."
"Moody’s AAA sovereign monitor was published today, and whilst the UK’s AAA status remains ‘resilient’ the situation is far from rosy. The report states:
‘The UK economy entered the crisis in a vulnerable position, owing to the (overly) large size of its banking sector and the high level of household indebtedness. Both continue to weigh on economic performance. Net bank lending to the UK business sector has continued to contract through Q3 2009, and repairs to household balance sheets (i.e. the rising savings ratio) may weigh on demand for some time to come.
The depth of the crisis has been mirrored by the ongoing deterioration of public finances (with gross debt/GDP having risen from 44% at the end of 2007 to an estimated 69% at the end of 2009). It also raises considerable challenges going forward, as the downward adjustment of potential output during the crisis will result in a recurrent shortfall in tax revenues, which, if not compensated by a parallel adjustment in expenditure, would leave the government with a permanent deficit.’
First into recession because of Brown’s profligacy, Britain’s recovery is stunted by continued spending and the government’s inability to address the credit freeze. Moody’s assert that Britain’s AAA status will be endangered unless fiscal retrenchment is implemented soon."
"There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that government intervention can achieve in terms of 'fixing' the economy. The choice was in either abandoning the unsound policy and the unsound investments it produced, or careen toward a complete destruction of the currency system.Japan May Ban Manufacturers From Hiring Temporary Employees - Mish
Once again, I stand amazed at how people can look at this, and look at Japan, and look at the housing bubble/bust sequence, and still believe that monetary pumping and deficit spending are viable tools of economic policy when a bust occurs. It really boggles the mind, reminding me of Einstein's definition of insanity, 'doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result'."