Restaurant review: ORSO Leicester… does it live up to the hype?

During Leicester Restaurant Week, Ana Goncalves pays a visit to ORSO Leicester to see if the place lives up to the hype after tirelessly hearing numerous recommendations.

ORSO is a quaint coffee shop on Market Place, right next to Leicester Market, and has been open for just over a year now.

In that time, it has been busy carving out a nice reputation as an affordable and cosy place for students, pensioners and busy shoppers to spend the cold winter days.

I’ve heard so many good recommendations, and whenever I pass by, catching a whiff of the freshly-made coffee and a hint of cinnamon, I can see full tables and happy faces through the windows. It looked – and smelled – great. 

My experience? Not quite as positive, unfortunately.

When I arrived, I was immediately greeted by staff and went to the till to grab a menu. Orso offer different types of toast and drinks. Their prices range between £3.50 to £7 for sourdough toast, and between £1.80 to £4.50 for drinks. 

I got ‘The Avo One’, a sourdough toast with fresh smashed avocado and lime, topped with poached eggs and seeds, a Chai, and an OJ. 

‘The Avo One’, Chai & OJ – taken by Ana Goncalves

First, they brought the Chai. I have to say, it was as white as milk, which is quite weird because chai is supposed to have a light brownish colour. And as I took my first sip, my fears were confirmed. It was just sugary milk with a dash of cinnamon on top.

Definitely disappointed, as Chai is meant to be a very flavourful mix of herbs and spices. 

The avocado toast, on the other hand, was good. I had to ask for salt & pepper, as it needed the seasoning for the flavours to be more accentuated, but other than that, it was okay.

And the OJ was my favourite – freshly-made like OJ is supposed to be.

I believe ORSO is perhaps one of those places you only go to once. The price-quality ratio is not worthy in my opinion, and I was very disappointed with the Chai, mainly. 

Overall, it doesn’t live up to the hype. I would give it a 3/5.

Review: Easy Life at Morningside Arena, Leicester

Easy does it

by Abi Willock

“This is the biggest tour we’ve ever been on!” says Easy Life’s frontman Murray Matravers, beaming out at the crowd at Leicester’s Morningside Arena on Friday night.

The humble band are clearly ecstatic to be home, bounding around the stage. They’re also proud to be back. “Leicester is the best city,” says Matravers. 

From gaining the hottest record title with their single ‘Earth’ on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show, to being nominated for three NME awards, Easy Life have rocketed in recent months.

This exceptional gig –  part of their ‘Life’s a Beach’ debut album tour – shows exactly why they have become so popular. Fans know how crystal clear their studio sound is, and their live performance proves to be just as striking. 

Matravers’ distinctive voice lends itself to his ever-poetic lyrics and the talent of Sam Hewitt is especially commendable as he switches seamlessly from playing keyboard to bass to the saxophone and sings backing vocals in between.   

Crowd participation adds to the vibrant atmosphere as Matravers surfs the uplifting hands of fans and shouted that he wanted to see “more people up on people’s shoulders” during Skeletons, a number that Easy Life performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in the US earlier this year. 

Slow Motion also creates a roar from the crowd as everyone puts their hands together and sparkling pyrotechnics light up the arena. Coming down on the rollercoaster of a show, the audience find themselves entranced by the beautiful opening notes of Temporary Love Part 2 as a sea of singing voices swayed along to the uplifting tune.  

Easy Life wow Leicester and are sure to do the same to cities nationwide on the rest of their album tour. Their homecoming show is a night to remember.

View from the crowd

“It’s hard to pick a favourite part of the night… every song was just fantastic,” says George Barrs, a fan of the band since they released their first single, Pockets. “I looked up at them on stage and realised, they’re just a bunch of guys from Leicester living their dream.”  

Elliott Luxton, who first discovered Easy Life when they were interviewed on BBC Radio Leicester in 2019, says: “They sound no different live, especially with their song Lifeboat. You couldn’t tell they weren’t in a studio. They’re almost better live.” 

Five Get #Cancelled on Social Media: is it okay to enjoy classic children’s stories written by authors who had bigoted views?

Photo by Corrie Barklimore. flickr.com/photos/80144821@N00/2767723506

Last night I broke the lockdown rules, writes Nikita Sharma. I went to a place I have been visiting since I was a child. Kirrin Island. I spent my time jumping over rocks encasing natural pools of crystal-clear water and feeling the soft as powder sand beneath my feet as I explored the castle ruins.

Of course, I wasn’t there physically but who said you couldn’t feel something so vividly so wholly, you feel as if you were truly there?

I think that’s the magic of books. The ability they have to transport you to a different time and different land. That’s what I like best about the children’s books I still keep close to my heart. But whilst reading them in these past few years, I’ve had guilt and outrage swirling inside and then like smoke, hanging over me.

Finding out your favourite childhood authors held racist and sexist views and realising now that they incorporated those views into their writing? It doesn’t feel good. And rereading today, you can see a line here and there not sitting right, suddenly you see the hidden messages and understand the double meanings.

Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl. These were my heroes. Their works are legendary.

It really is upsetting thinking that if I were to meet my favourite childhood writer, they probably wouldn’t like me very much. And the reasons would simply be because of the colour of my skin.

Being a woman of colour, issues like these really mess with my conscience. But I can celebrate the books that mean so much to me without excusing the person behind them

Someone of my generation shouldn’t be enjoying these books after finding out the truth. Nowadays, typed in bold HASHTAG CANCELLED on social media platforms is the only direction you need to know what persons should be avoided. Everything is either black or white. But it was one of the things that welcomed me with a warm embrace. The words called me back.

And it wasn’t just me – millions of others felt it too! Introducing us to a world of giants and witches and made-up nonsense languages to decoding secret messages and catching smugglers; these books had humour and originality, they encouraged us to broaden our imaginations.

So, we have these clearly wonderful pieces of works unfortunately written by problematic people, what do we do? Is this just a case of separating the art from the artist?

Should we even judge people for ideals that were the norm to have ‘back in the day’ with values we hold today? Was Roald Dahl and his anti-Semitism simply a product of his time? These are outdated views, and we must accept that it was a different time.

But this frame of debate takes me back to the essay I was forced to write on Winston Churchill a few years ago. I remember my blood boiling as my teacher chattered about what a great man he was, knowing his racist views and inactions were to blame for the three million people who starved to death during the Bengal Famine.

However, apart from collecting ‘woke points’ on Twitter, holding dead writers accountable isn’t doing much. It gives no productive support to movements and organisations that aim for change. Being a woman of colour, issues like these really mess with my conscience and to ‘forgive and forget’ isn’t something I can apply. But balance is helpful. I can celebrate the books that mean so much to me without excusing the person behind them.

We can enjoy literature and art that have outdated views as long as we accept that they are just that, outdated, while we work towards creating pieces that are tolerant, kind, and fair to all.    And with that, I’ll be off on my next adventure! So long.

ALBUM REVIEW: Murky melodies and melancholic crooning on Carnage, the new release by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis

Samuel Hornsby reviews ‘Carnage’, the newest musical outing by Australian duo Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

Warren Ellis and Nick Cave: Photo by Takahiro Kyono via. Creative Commons

The musical content of ‘Carnage’ swoops in and hovers calmly like a kestrel. It looms there in a desolate sky filled with the haunting sounds of gloomy hope and downcast romance. The album encourages you to gaze upon its twisted beauty, as do I.

It is the first non-soundtrack by the Australian duo Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, who had previously worked on the scores for several films together including the epic western ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’, the dystopian survivalist story ‘The Road’ and the gritty Aussie odyssey ‘The Proposition’.

Their first venture into an album of independent vision as a duo is a powerful piece filled with stunning melodies and carefully crafted lyrics. It is peppered throughout with some of the usual markings one may be accustomed to from Nick Cave releases but at the same time remains its own beast thanks to the help of experienced sideman Warren Ellis.

Ellis first began working with Cave in 1993 as a session musician for The Bad Seeds’ album ‘Let Love In’. Soon after he would become a permanent fixture and an integral collaborative force for Cave helping write songs for the band and co-founding the side group ‘Grinderman’.

At this point in time, they feel like equals at their craft. The duo fuse their expertise creating such a well-blended, inventive sound it can often feel like a ballroom dance in which you cannot tell which partner is leading.

The compositions the twosome have conceived are masterfully crafted with layers of dark and murky melodies placed neatly on top of a solid foundation of hypnotising, meditative electronic loops.

This style feels like a natural progression of the sound developed by Cave and Ellis on the previous Bad Seeds album ‘Ghosteen’. The sonic landscape is a clean and ethereal piece of chamber pop with splashes of ambience and the odd jolt of rock poking through in the form of quick snippets of distorted guitars.

As the album progresses, it leads you in to bathe in its placid aural waters, but if you are not careful it will pull you out to lonely depths. Luckily, Cave’s vocal prescience acts as a poetic anchor in the desolate ocean of minimalistic sound.

His voice drips with melancholy as he croons harrowing lines that paint lyrical stories about the touch of the hand of God, crazed men dancing on balconies and a masculinised version of Venus De Milo shooting people with a gun made of elephant tears.

Though often cryptic and surreal, Cave weaves in profound meaning and weight into the songs. He does this by lacing references to current day social issues such as the George Floyd murders which inevitably add a more serious and touching piece of emotion to his lyrical broth.

‘Carnage’ proves to be a triumph for both Cave and Ellis showing they still have the strength of their creativity and talent even as they descend into what one could consider the Autumn of their years. It also proves they can craft excellence as a pair without the direction of a film to guide the music or a wider band to flesh out and form it.

Review: Deranged twists of ‘Behind Her Eyes’ create a hit series

Review by Bintou Secka of 2021 Netflix tv show Behind Her Eyes

Synopsis

The plot of the tv show begins with an introduction to a black British woman named Louise, who lives in London alone in a two bedroom apartment with her son Adam.

From the opening scene the writer makes the viewers aware of the unconditional love Louise has for her son, in fact we get a sense that it is the only thing she cares deeply about.

We are reminded of her unconditional love for her son in the last episode, when we get all the clarity we need, although our minds are still left puzzled.

As viewers we learn a bit about Louise’s character through the six episodes, firstly we are made aware that she has been divorced from her son’s father for three years. However we get a sense that she has not fully moved on with her life, partly from the fact that she is not romantically involved with anyone and is not being open to new people.

However it did not take long for this to change, it only took a dysfunctional married couple to come into her life and change all of that. From our first glimpse at the couple, Adele and David, we get a very strange sense from them, with no knowledge of who they are, we get a clarity that there is something awfully wrong there.

Review

Sarah Pinborough has done an amazing job at creating a tv show that has been the talk of the town, after only a few days this show has managed to land itself on top ten shows on Netflix and as the days go by it gets closer and closer to hitting number one.

From the selection of characters to acting skills, story line, plot, it was all on point. This is the one tv show that everyone can agree the ending got us all thinking WHATT!!!.

Throughout the six episodes there was so much uncertainty, as viewers we were always guessing or eager to find out more, and in that sense Pinborough did an amazing job at finding a way to keep viewers watching.

One detail that deserves to be applauded for this tv show is the fact that it has been set in the most realistic setting, a single mum living in a small apartment somewhere in London with an ordinary life.

And then on the other hand we have a filthy rich couple with a whole lot of secrets buried somewhere. Pinborough has done an amazing job at giving us a balance between reality and fiction.She began with introducing us to Louise, a woman the viewers are familiar with, we all know someone who is like Louise, but then on the other spectrum we have Adele, someone who has some kind of power to control her dreams and make herself appear in places without being seen.

In terms of engagement this tv show definitely did not lack in that department, we witnessed some romance between Louise and David, we witnessed betrayal from David to his wife, but also from Louise as she is meant to be Adele’s best friend but at the same time she is sleeping with her husband behind her back.

In terms of the characters, Louise is portrayed to be a good mum, selfless, funny, real. Adele is presented as a lonely stay-home wife, who is controlled by her husband, unhappy in most aspects and deeply in love with her husband.

And lastly David, from the first time the viewers acknowledged that he was married we got a sense that he was unhappy in his marriage, we later on find out that it’s not that he doesn’t want to leave his wife but he can’t.