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Patisserie review

Posted by toby_newton on July 27, 2013 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

-La Perle-

Best for Lunch Breaks and Cakes


As someone who works in a nearby office, I had already heard a lot of positive things about this little gem of a patisserie before going there for lunch with colleagues and friends, or sampling some of their cakes to take away.

La Pearle is an airy and light establishment with friendly staff and Wi-Fi access. This corner café is easy walking distance for a number of offices and businesses dotted around Millsands and Kelham Island, and from the nearby hotels.

The cake-counter itself boasts a nice selection of treats for either you to feast on if you are feeling you have earned some, or to take home to your loved ones if you are feeling like sharing the love. The quality of the pastries is commendable and I will be back to try something new again soon.

Last time I visited though, I went for lunch with a friend and ordered the halloumi cheese and freshly made humus. It was both decent value and delicious. That said, I was equally tempted by my mate’s spicy chicken burger and nicely cooked chips with just the right amount of well-presented side salad. So often in British cafes, and with burger and chips especially, you would just get some unappetising salad plonked on your plate as an afterthought. Both our salads here were fresh and tasty.

La Pearle is located is on the Wicker in central Sheffield and stays open all day and late into the evening…so there really is no excuse not to call by and treat yourself to lunch or some cake!

Review by Toby Newton for Sync City magazine. 



A Day Out in Sheffield for Under a Tenner

Posted by toby_newton on May 9, 2013 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Street Art tour

This month I was asked to write about what I would choose to do in Sheffield for the day for under a tenner. Easy I thought; if you are new to the city then a fun thing to do is spend a day with your camera phone, checking out and documenting the amazing street art this city now has to offer. Berlin gets much kudos for its political angst and graffiti ridden streets and buildings but this year I have been comparing the artwork here to what is on show in not only rebellious Berlin, but Amsterdam and London too. In my humble opinion, and thanks to the likes of Phlegm and Malawai hero, Kid Acne, I think we are right up there! The latter, I believe, was also responsible for the 'South Yorks' T-shirt design in homage to the famous Sonic Youth artwork.

Simply take your tenner and your phone or camera out on a nice clear day and mooch about the city taking in the works of art adorning buildings and walls on streets like Matilda, Scotland, Eyre, Charles, Sylvester, Furnival Gate, Rockingham Way, Cemetery Road, and London Road to name but a few. Then compare your pictures or the ones I took earlier with those from across London and Europe I have been capturing and see how you think Sheffield compares.

Oh, and if you really want to spend that tenner on anything other than printing-off some of your favourite shots at then why not stop for a pint at the Riverside where a giant ship and sea monster can be seen just above the waterline and stop in for a coffee at Tamper (reviewed last month by Miss Kallai), after admiring possibly my current favourite piece of art next to Bang Bang on Westfield Terrace. Also see if you can find the giant mural of Charles Darwin while conducting your urban tour.

Phlegm, Kid Acne and company,...if you are out there...please, please could you do the wall of my house as you are truly inspirational, ubercool artists and I really hope I am not messing with your street cred by shouting about it!

If anyone knows of any great art or locations I haven't mentioned then drop me a mail at [email protected] or send me your own pics!


Toby Newton for Sync City Magazine



The Full Monty Film Review

Posted by toby_newton on May 9, 2013 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Film Review - The Full Monty


Ok, so I had the misfortune of sitting through the whole of the Hollywood Jock-fest, 'Magic Mike' recently, albeit with my amazing girlfriend for company. It was about male strippers-cum-dancers and the script was about as good as you may have already guessed it wasn't! However, around about the same period, I also had the pleasure of watching 'The Full Monty' for the first time since moving to Sheffield years ago. In a nutshell, it is a film about six unemployed steel workers who decide to form a male striptease act in order to save their relationships with their partners, and in Robert Carlyle's case, with his son.


Now I am guessing your average woman is going to say the pumped-up strippers in 'Magic Mike' are significantly more attractive than the down-on-their-luck, recently redundant, chancers from Yorkshire. Unlike their testosterone-fuelled counterparts though, they feel 'real'; they are genuine characters. Even the way the film is sot feels real, rough around the edges, but ultimately proud. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of pent-up testosterone and male frustration and anxiety on show in the Sheffield of the past portrayed in Peter Catteneo's unlikely classic. Perhaps now, even more so than in recent years, we can relate to the desperate need for Sheffield-folk to use their wit and inspiration to come up with new ways to make a living in these trying economic times. The film is not all bleak though. Quite the contrary. It shows what can be done when friends come together to overcome their inner demons; their dented pride, and life's adversities.


When I first watched the film back in the day, I saw it purely as a comedy. Back then I couldn't relate to worries about work pressures and threats of redundancies. From that perspective though I think that for all the laughs, this film was certainly an original take on the male bonding experience! For the ladies, well, I guess some would swap the cheeky chaps from the Yorkshire working men's clubs for the plastic morons from Florida any day of the week. As for which of the two movies' lead actors puts on the best 'show'...Carlyle wins hands-down - I mean did you have to ask?...the other fella is called Channing Tatum for heavens-sake!


Review by Toby Newton for Sync City Magazine 2013




Django Unchained Film Review

Posted by toby_newton on May 9, 2013 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)


Django Unchained


Tarantino's latest offering is set in the southern US, before the Civil War, and the movie is essentially about a slave becoming a 'kick-ass cowboy' and riding out for revenge. Well, he actually sets out to rescue and be reunited with his wife, but it's hardly a spoiler to say there's going to be some revenge involved...come on, this is Tarantino. For whatever reason, he seems slightly obsessed with the subject that was the driver behind the 'Kill Bill' saga. This is as good as those films!


Here, he certainly pulls no punches in reminding current generations just how abhorrent even the very concept of the slave trade was. This may be an overtly stylized representation, simply punctuated with plenty of humorous scenes so as not to allow the audience to become overwhelmed by the violence on show, but I'm sure most movie goers will still feel anger that humanity allowed slavery to persist for so long while watching the tale unfold. Some people may argue that this is a director who simply glorifies violence and has cashed in on being controversial and liberal with historic accuracy but whilst he is no doubt primarily motivated by a desire to entertain, shock and show us his style, I think to say his work cannot inspire and provoke us to explore our feelings about the background subject matter would be somewhat blinkered. I guess he might argue it depends who's watching. One thing is for sure, this movie can leave adult audiences exiting the theatre feeling that twelve-feet tall sense of triumph over adversity after living through a character stripped of everything and watching him rise up and fight for it back. That doesn't mean they are all going to don a cowboy hat and head off to shoot their bank managers!


Back to the movie itself and the lead character, Django, is a slave whose experienced brutality at the hands of his former owners but his given his shot at revenge after meeting a German-born bounty played by Christopher Waltz. Waltz is, in my humble opinion, brilliant and hilarious in this and you cannot help but root for pair as they set out on their mission. Django himself is played by Jamie Foxx and, apologies to Brit, Idris Elba who was interested in the role, Foxx is perfect for the part. needless to say, the sound track and the style oozing from this movie makes it a very cool 180 minutes. One very slight complaint is that the typical, exaggerated and crazy Tarantino ending is perhaps a little too drawn out and just feels a little bit like 'From Dusk Till Dawn'. All in all though, I will pick this one up when it is out on DVD and enjoy watching it again - but go see it on the big screen, quick!

By Toby Newton - 2013



Seven Psychopaths Film Review

Posted by toby_newton on May 9, 2013 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Film Review - Seven Psychopaths


This picture stars Collin Farrell as a down on his luck screenwriter but you soon realise there are plenty of other stars. There were more than a few occasions throughout where I sensed the dog was going to steal the show but I should have trusted my instincts.


From the moment Christopher Walken first appears you almost can’t help but smile to yourself in the knowledge that he is more than likely going to help carry the movie home. Having not seen the trailer or checked-out the casting beforehand for once, I was also more than pleasantly surprised at the moment another cult favourite, Woody Harrleson, first appeared as a crazed mafia boss.


Another good portion of the darkly comic humour so enthusiastically dished out comes from Sam Rockwell’s dog-knapping character; the friend of Farrell's screenwriter. Indeed Farrell finds himself playing the relative straight man, repeatedly left raising his eyebrows and pulling puzzled expressions in response to the deranged wackiness that unfolds around him. You could argue he is too easily overshadowed by the performances of the aforementioned threesome but I found myself giving him the benefit of the doubt throughout and appreciating that it is not his job to compete, with Walken especially.


It is hard to decide to what extent the film playfully mocks and pokes fun at the American obsession with gun fights while simultaneously paying homage to over the top set-piece shootouts and that, I think, is to its credit. Less than half of the way through I had thought to myself more than once that the film was like an entertaining cross between 'In Bruges' and Tarrantino’s 'Kill Bill' flicks. I was only later reminded that Farrell and the director, Martin McDonagh, had teamed up for the former movie but unlike the Bride in Tarrantino’s epic doubleheader, the femme fatale in this film does not play a sexed-up or central role...albeit one with equally gory consequences. The fact that Farrell’s character struggles to write women into his screen plays is, presumably, deliberately mirrored and perhaps an admission from McDonagh too. Returning to the gore aspect, if you are squeamish there are some pretty graphic scenes scattered throughout but the dark comedy means the odd bits of obscenity don't stop you from laughing at just how psycho these characters are.


There are plenty of good scenes but perhaps my favourite involved Walken musing over a campfire about what a good Pope he would make and that provoked the same response in me as it did in Rockwell’s character….’Awesome!’ I hope for my sake that is where the similarities between us end!


One last word on the shihtzu though, I'm sure you'll agree that it should comfortably take home the 'best supporting canine in a black comedy' Oscar!


Review by Toby Newton for Sync City Magazine issue 1 - 2013




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