Philadelphia Story: Two Creatives Tackle Their Own Kitchen

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Ada Egloff and Rick Banister bought their Victorian row house in South Philly for a steal back in 2007, when they were fresh out of college: “Philadelphia real estate: How is the secret not yet out?” she asks. They’ve been chipping away at their place themselves ever since. And though neither came to the project with remodeling experience, they each brought talents to the table: A former vintage clothing store owner and buyer for Anthropologie, Ada runs Young Ladies, a brand-consulting agency that fosters young design companies. She has the eye and knows how to source what she’s after. Rick is a UX (user experience) designer at Automattic who works on WordPress, and happens to be a hobbyist woodworker.

“The house had great bones—all original moldings, stained glass—but the 1990s kitchen was a nightmare,” she says: “Drop ceilings with missing tiles, beige linoleum floors, and flimsy oak veneer cabinetry. But we left it until we had saved just enough to do it right.” They gutted the room the summer of 2012, only to discover plumbing problems in that drop ceiling that derailed plans for the next six months

Finally back on track, they built out the kitchen over the course of many, many weekends, nights, and vacations, hand chiseling out the old tile and keeping a close watch on expenses every step of the way. Now complete with soapstone counters built from remnants and a secondhand Viking found on Craigslist, the kitchen is all that they had hoped. Total budget? “Since we tackled so much of the work ourselves, we were able to do it for under $20k,” says Ada.  

Photography by Michael Persico.


Ada Egloff and Rick Banister in their DIY kitchen remodel in Philadelphia | Remodelista

Above: Rick and Ada at their own coffee bar. 

Surprise detail? The floor looks like slate but is actually hardwearing porcelain tile found at Earthstone Tile Works in Philadelphia for about $6.50 per square foot. 

Ada Egloff and Rick Banister's DIY kitchen remodel in Philadelphia | Remodelista

Above: The space is about 200 square feet, and Ada calls the layout “a U with a little extra something—sort of a G.” Of the setup she explained: “Workspace flow was really important. We do a lot of cooking and entertaining, and wanted to be able to move easily from sink to stove, and from island to fridge. We also wanted to maximize under-counter storage so we could avoid upper cabinets and keep the space feeling open and light. As it turns out, we have more storage than we even need with just one floating shelf around the perimeter of the room.”

Ada Egloff and Rick Banister's DIY kitchen remodel in Philadelphia | Remodelista

Above: Rick built the cabinets with the help of their friend Tim Lewis, a builder/furniture designer who has his own Philadelphia studio. “The task of making them on our own would have been really daunting.” They’re birch plywood and have MDF fronts with hardwood-edge banding. The bin pulls are from Horten Brasses and the knobs from Restoration Hardware. (For more ideas, see 10 Easy Pieces: Bin Pulls.)

Ada and Rick bought the Viking range from a local seller on Craigslist—”it needed some updating and parts, but it was a steal at $500,” she says. The stainless exhaust hood is Ikea’s $399 Luftig.

Farmhouse sink in Ada Egloff and Rick Banister's DIY kitchen remodel in Philadelphia | Remodelista

Above: The farmhouse sink is made by Alfie and has an Essen Single-Handle Pull-Down Faucet. Prepping the walls before they could be painted and tiled took some doing: “Two of the walls are structural, so we had to carefully chisel off the original early 1900s subway tile that was underneath the 1990s renovation,” Rick told us. “I wish it had been salvageable because they just don’t make tile like that these days, but much of it was damaged, so it had to go. We then had to wire mesh and reapply the masonry layers to those walls before we could plaster and tile. It was a grueling few weeks, but a good workout.”

Soapstone counters in Ada Egloff and Rick Banister's DIY kitchen remodel in Philadelphia | Remodelista

Above: The new subway tile is Daltile’s three-by-six-inch Rittenhouse Square design in a semigloss with gray grout and the counters are soapstone: “By purchasing cutoffs and seconds and cutting them ourselves, we got a deal at $15/square foot.” The espresso maker is a Gaggia Classic, and the yellow mixer is from KitchenAid’s Artisan Series 5. (See more options in 10 Easy Pieces: Kitchen Stand Mixers.) The orange teapot is vintage Danish.

Kitchen table/island in Ada Egloff and Rick Banister's DIY kitchen remodel in Philadelphia | Remodelista

Above: A black walnut island serves as both a prep area, grocery unloading station (the fridge stands opposite), and table. In addition to designing and creating it, Rick built the paneled ceiling and milled trim to match the original in the rest of the house. “The plywood ceiling panels come from the dance floor Rick and my father built for our wedding,” says Ada. “We used three-inch poplar strips to emulate that old English tavern style.”

Of the overall palette, she says, “We stuck with neutrals—white, gray and black, save for the black walnut island, which brings some warmth to the room. We wanted to have a workspace that would double as an eating area for breakfast and casual dinners, and we forfeited the potential storage space of an island for the open and airy feeling of a table.”

Affordable soapstone counters made from remnants in Ada Egloff and Rick Banister's DIY kitchen remodel in Philadelphia | Remodelista

Above: The soapstone used on the island is heavily veined: “When we rub the counters with mineral oil, the peach and mint color in the stone really shines through,” says Ada. “And we like that each piece has its own character.”

Hidden fridge in Ada Egloff and Rick Banister's DIY kitchen remodel in Philadelphia | Remodelista

Above: The side-by-side refrigerator, positioned so it’s convenient but not prominent, is Ikea’s Nutid, and the built-in microwave next to it is also from Ikea’s Nutid line. (For advice and more ideas, go to 10 Easy Pieces: Built-In Microwaves.) “We were really surprised by the quality of Ikea’s appliances, including our dishwasher,” says Ada. “So far, they’ve served us really well.” The storage cupboards over the fridge are used for “dog food, paper towels, baking sheets, weird roasting pans that don’t fit anywhere else.” 


Before shot of Ada Egloff and Rick Banister's DIY kitchen remodel in Philadelphia | Remodelista

Above: “The place was dingy and came with pests we had to get under control.”

Kitchen demolition—Ada Egloff and Rick Banister's DIY kitchen remodel in Philadelphia | Remodelista

Above: The first weekend of demolition.

Kitchen demolition—Before shot of Ada Egloff and Rick Banister's DIY kitchen remodel in Philadelphia | Remodelista

Above: Peeling back the layers revealed damaged wallpaper and subway tile. “We wanted to modernize the space but keep the overall vibe true to the earliest kitchen this house would have had.”

Remodeling your own kitchen? Explore our Kitchens of the Week, including A Young Couple’s Brooklyn Kitchen Reinvented and a Low-Cost Cabin Kitchen for a Family of Five, Faux Soapstone Included.

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15 Interiors Trends for Autumn 2015

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From artisanal glassware to the deconstructed kitchen; our predictions for the trends that will define autumn 2015.

The Deconstructed Kitchen

Katrin Arens Milano Kitchen | Remodelista

Above: The less-than-perfect kitchen, cobbled together from disparate elements. Photograph via Katrin Arens. Stay tuned: We’ll be devoting ourselves to this topic next week.

Black Kitchen Utensils

Black Kitchen Tools | Remodelista

Above: Black kitchen accoutrements; see more at Kitchen Tools with a Masculine Edge

Terrazzo Patterns

Max Lamb Tiles | Remodelista

Above: Terrazzo patterns, as in this LA bath tiled in Dzek Marmoleum Tiles by Max Lamb. Photograph by Brian Ferry.

Dual-Purpose Furniture

Planks Furniture by Max Lamb | Remodelista

Above: Furniture that does double duty: charges devices, for instance, or includes built-in storage as in the Planks Collection (shown) by Max Lamb for Benchmark, introduced last week at the London Design Festival. 

Room-Spanning Kitchen Storage Rails

Long Utensil Rail | Remodelista

Above: Room-spanning kitchen rail storage, as in this kitchen by Boffi. See more at 13 Kitchens with Storage Rails.

White Kitchen Appliances

Ada Egloff Kitchen | Remodelista

Above: Are white appliances the new stainless? We think so (for examples, go here and here and here). 

Ikea Furniture Disrupters

Greycork Couch | Remodelista

Above: A handful of upstart design companies are coming out with flat-pack furniture at Ikea prices (stay tuned; we’ll be posting more on this trend tomorrow). Photograph via Greycork

Mossy Green

Margot House Bedroom in Barcelona | Remodelista

Above: Our resident color forecaster Alexa says mossy green is the next big thing, as in this bedroom at Margot House in Barcelona. (We think she’s on to something.)

Black Tapware in the Kitchen and Bath

Ace Hotel in LA Bathroom | Remodelista

Above: The bathrooms at the Ace Hotel in LA have a noirish appeal. See more at Steal This Look: Ace Hotel in LA Bathroom.

Midcentury Brand Revivals

Robert Long Chandelier | Remodelista

Above: In Sausalito, Robert Young has relaunched his father’s groovy lighting collection. In London, John Lewis has just reissued Robin and Lucienne Day’s stackable polyside chair. Stay tuned for more comebacks.

Pittsburgh Is the New Portland

Ace Hotel Pittsburgh | Remodelista

Above: The Ace Hotel is opening an outpost in Pittsburgh in late 2015 in the East Liberty neighborhood (once home to steel magnates such as the Fricks, the Carnegies, and the Mellons). Google opened an office in 2010, the Andy Warhol Museum is nearby, and Ace is calling it “the Sleeper City.”

Artisanal Glass

Peter Ivy Glassware | Remodelista

Above: Is glass the new pottery? We think so; we’re all assembling collections of handblown vases and more.  

Beauty Products for Furniture

Wax Eternal Furniture Polish | Remodelista

Above: Organic salves and solutions for furniture care; we like Shop Tamsyn’s Wax Eternal, an organic polish made from cold-pressed olive oil, beeswax, herbs, and organic essential oils. 

The Tawny Sheepskin

Brown Sheepskins | Remodelista

Above: The accessory du jour? Brown sheepskins are displacing snowy white sheepskins as the weather turns. One of our favorite sources? Black Sheep (White Light). Photograph via The Socialite Family.

Unexpected Tile

Unexpected Tile | Remodelista

Above L to R: Tile in unexpected places; a cabinet interior in a London Victorian, for instance, or a bathroom cabinet in a French farmhouse.

Interested in more of our predictions? See Top 15 Interiors Trends of 2015 and check out our Trend Alert series.

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Ikea Disrupters: 5 New Upstart Furniture Companies

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A new wave of entrepreneurs is taking on Ikea, cutting out the middlemen and offering locally made flat pack furniture direct to consumers and, in some cases, at below-Ikea prices.


Sarah Carpenter and Dan Mirth, the St. Louis-based founders of Artifox, are “devoted to rethinking home and office products; our mission is to merge technology with the art of handcrafted goods.” The idea for the company came about after the two found themselves frustrated with the choices in office furniture; “the new mobile lifestyle requires products with multiple functions.”

Artifox Desk | Remodelista

Above: The Desk01 in maple is made in the US from solid maple hardwood and includes a built-in mobile charging station, a storage cabinet for cables and drives, a removable powder-coated writing surface, and aircraft-grade aluminum hardware; $1,800 (it’s also available in walnut for $2,000).

Artifox Furniture Standing Desk | Remodelista

Above: The Standing Desk01 in maple is $2,000 (in walnut it’s $2,200). The company also offers an elegant wall-mounted Bicycle Rack in maple or walnut for $250.

Biggs & Quail

London-based Will Biggs and Sean Quail met at school and have been friends and collaborators ever since. In 2013, “dissatisfied with poor design of mainstream furniture,” they launched Biggs & Quail, a furniture company with “a focus on enduring quality, practicality, and elegant simplicity.” 

Biggs and Quail Furniture | Remodelista

Above: The full range, available from Biggs & Quail. Prices start at £175 for the Pyramid Table and Stool and go up to £1,250 for the walnut Chest of Drawers.

Biggs & Quail Coffee Table | Remodelista

Above: The Midcentury Modern Coffee Table with hairpin legs is £250. 

Campaign Living

What happens when an Apple engineer who’s worked on the design of the iPhone goes furniture shopping? Brad Sewell, the founder of just-launched furniture company Campaign, was a student at the Harvard Business School when he discovered how grim the marketplace is for midpriced furniture. Sewell left B-School to found Campaign, a flatpack upstart offering a three-piece suite of slipcovered furniture, with prices starting at $495. “We make furniture that lives, moves, and grows with you” is his company’s mantra. “Clean lines, classic proportions.”

Campaign Living Furniture | Remodelista

Above: Campaign offers an Armchair for $495, a two-seater Loveseat for $745, and a three-seater Sofa for $995. Pre-orders will ship in November 2015; go to Campaign to reserve.

Campaign Living Flat-Pack Furniture | Remodelista

Above: The packaging can be reused when you move.


Founded by an earnest group of RISD grads and a product designer, Greycork aims to provide you with a “living room shipped in a box,” with pieces made of solid ash wood with foam cushions covered in polyester. The Greycork Living Room Set includes a sofa ($450) and chaise ($300), coffee table ($125), side table ($75), and bookshelf ($180). 

Greycork Furniture | Remodelista

Above: The team describes the aesthetics as “Japanese American”; the pieces are constructed from ash and fiberboard, with polyester upholstery. To preorder, go to Greycork (deliveries are projected for December 2015).

Whackpack Furniture

Bucks New University design graduate Brendan Magennis founded Whackpack Furniture in response to the “nomadic lifestyles and shrinking apartment sizes” of his generation. The furniture requires no screws or glue and can be assembled with “just a few hearty whacks of a mallet,” he says. The project is still in Kickstarter mode but looks poised to take off.

Whack Pack Furniture | Remodelista

Above: Using a Japanese woodworking technique called a “hell joint,” Magennis designed a small line of tables and stools that be easily assembled (and disassembled). 

For more next-generation interiors companies, see Bedding Disrupters: Luxury Linens for Less, and Mattress Disrupters: 7 Upstart Companies

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Table of Contents: The Deconstructed Kitchen

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This week we’re heading into the kitchen, exploring a new design trend: the deconstructed, un-suburban, offhand culinary space.

The Deconstructed Kitchen Remodelista Issue


Fire Island House | Remodelista

Above: In our House Call department, Margot drops in on a Manhattan couple at their weekend house in Fire Island.


Owen Wall Ceramics | Remodelista

Above: London’s most in-demand ceramicist makes tableware for Lyle’s, Bao, and the Clove Club; we’ll be paying a visit to his studio in our Tabletop section.


Heft Kitchen in Japan | Remodelista

Above: In our Kitchens department, Margot visits a Japanese design studio that offers an edited kit for putting together your own space, from hooks to custom sinks.


Ristorante La Cucina by Archiplan | Remodleista

Above: In our Restaurant Visit division, we’re (virtually) dining at a new spot in Mantua. 


Buccholz Knife Rack | Remodelista

Above: We’ve rounded up our favorite kitchen tools with a rustic edge in our Kitchen Accessories column. 

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Trend Alert: 17 Deconstructed Kitchens

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Throw out all the rules; here are 17 examples of the next wave in kitchen design, which we pegged as an emerging trend in last week’s post 15 Interiors Trends for Autumn 2015 (a reader agreed with us: “I’m all over this trend. Perfect looks suburban.”).

The Apartment by The Line in NYC | Remodelista

Above: The kitchen at The Apartment in SoHo, NYC, is composed of stainless steel restaurant components. Photo by Thomas Welch via Selectism.

Elle Decoration Sweden Kitchen | Remodelista

Above: A Stockholm kitchen with a workbench kitchen, via Stadshem via Ems Design Blogg.

Heft Kitchen in Japan | Remodelista

Above: A kitchen in Japan by Heft Design.

Swedish Kitchen | Remodelista

Above: In Sweden, a modular Bulthaup kitchen via Bolig Magasinet

Narukuma Kitchen in Japan | Remodelista

Above: A kitchen in Japan with a mix of concrete and wood by Naruse Inokuma Architects.

Snark Architecture Kitchen in Japan | Remodelista

Above: The kitchen in the Fujimidai house in Hujimidai by Snark Architecture.

Noodles Noodles Kitchen | Remodelista

Above: A modular kitchen from a Berlin company; see more at The New Old-World Kitchen from Noodles, Noodles & Noodles Corp.

NYC Deconstructed Kitchens | Remodelista

Above L: Tyler Hays of BDDW was an early adopter of the trend (photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo), as was Ted Muehling (R); photo by Christoph Kicherer via Automatism

General Architecture Kitchen | Remodelista

Above: An airy cooking space in Scandinavian Simplicity: A Reimagined Swedish Summerhouse.

Pine Open Kitchen | Remodelista

Above: An open kitchen in a simple, economical 1950s cottage in the Gothenburg archipelago by Johannes Norlander Architects.

Japanese Open Kitchen | Remodelista

Above: A stainless steel open kitchen in Japan by Naruse Inokuma.

Todos Santos Kitchen by Laure Joliet | Remodelista

Above: A kitchen in Todos Santos, Mexico, photographed by Laure Joliet.

Monochrome House Kitchen | Remodelista

Above: In his own kitchen, Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen, a partner in the Copenhagen firm Norm Architects, installed a cooktop set into a workbench for a sense of airiness.

Hans Verstuyft Kitchen with Box Storage | Remodelista

Above: Belgian architect Hans Verstuyft opted for open shelving in a kitchen in Antwerp; see more at Sober Luxury in Downtown Antwerp.

David Charbet UK Photographer Kitchen | Remodelista

Above: A farmhouse kitchen from the portfolio of UK photographer David Charbit.

Vintage Sinks in the Kitchen | Remodelista

Above: Two examples of sinks on pedestals or counters via Boro.

See more Trend Alerts here and head over to Gardenista to see a deconstructed outdoor kitchen in Outbuilding of the Week: A Cookhouse at Kurtwood Farm on Vashon Island.

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  • «Franklin’s data was key to the double helix model, but the ‘stealing’ myth stems from Watson’s memoir”
  • that is one big webcam.
  • The Premier League continues to be the best in the world despite having no-one very good in it. Its like The Happy Mondays.
  • You have to WAIT for AA on Pokerstars?
  • Blessings: lucky enough to see Mike Modano 5x times when he played for Minnesota North Stars and lucky enough to have read Patrick Modiano.
  • Searching for Modiano (Patrick, author) in Tweetdeck also gives me loads of tweets about Modano (Mike, record breaking NHL player).
  • Still lovely. Finest Finnish band ever? #nowplaying
  • No Brompton day hire dock in Croydon just yet though.
  • «New cycle hub and bike hire scheme to launch in Croydon». Good news is that I can test ride a Brompton locally.
  • Few years ago I would have liked that sort of white box architecture, but after binging on «Arkitektens Hjem» I’m out of love w white boxes

Tweet from ldnhal

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  • Grand Designs kicks off new series with a very extravagant house via
  • on the basis of the title of the sampler and its avocado green cover I’m #nowplaying (and it’s got Underworld and R…
  • Reading aound 50% of my literature electronically (Nook, not Kindle) these days, but still bring in plenty of dead wood through the doors.
  • Making your corridor into another type of room, spotted both a and in The Times: “library spaces w seating niches, bookshelves”.
  • 2999 ft and it’s a corbett (hill), 3000 ft and it’s a munro (mountain) via (“Hikers went up a mountain … but came down a hill”).
  • “Ashley Madison passwords cracked”. The mad story of the amateur IT dept of AM continues.
  • I’ve argued for years that forced monthly password changes is less secure than simply choosing strong passwords in the first place.
  • GCHQ wants to set your passwords. (Register). “GCHQ agrees that passwords should not be subject to regular changes.”
  • PlayStation and me: how a console shaped my life
  • Convenience (in this case using remote controlled (aka “keyless” locks ) seems to top security (proper locks, stronger windows) every time.
  • My emphasis. And “security through obscurity” like suggested in the next paragraph does not work very well either.
  • “There is no FAULT with LandRover’s security systems”. So they are MEANT to enable thieves to steal car in 30 secs?

Tweet from ldnhal

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  • Watching “Hunted” on the web. Forgot to the turn on the VPN, but using a one-time email address if nothing else.
  • “Why Apple shouldn’t be selling a 16GB iPhone 6S”. As I’ve said before: I can’t understand why there’s no 32GB iPhone
  • Apple’s “Hey Siri” Event in Less Than 10 Minutes (Engadget). Did Apple just release another Wii? Siriously.

Tweet from ldnhal

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  • “Ashley Madison’s terms and conditions told users it ran fake accounts”. Clever, coz everyone will read the T&Cs.

Tweet from ldnhal

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  • Very pleased for Wayne Rooney. A tremendous talent and good man. That said, I bet Harry Kane’s slyly doing a few mental sums…
  • Richard Rogers’ prefabricated housing for homeless people opens in south London via
  • come on, surely it was on purpose? Oxford Street, as long as no one gets in trouble.
  • Latest series of “Homeland” brought home with UK drone killings.
  • “Nest outage cuts remote users off from Dropcams, thermostats”. Internet of nothings.
  • Genius product placement from : bags of m&m’s hung among the tubes of toothpaste.
  • Frederick Forsyth on doing a final edit (adding “The day of” to the title of “The Jackal”). I can’t remember reading it, so probably time.

Tweet from ldnhal

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  • “When I had typed the last line, I rolled the title page back into the machine and stared at it … Not a word has been changed since”.
  • People don’t expect DOD-level security but, Seagate, please stop adding hidden hardcoded root logins to hard drives.
  • Iceland reach Euro 2016 but Lars Lagerback insists: ‘Nelson Mandela is a hero, I am not’ via …
  • Boxpark Croydon will be bigger than originally announced
  • when trains are cancelled it would be good if Citymapper flagged it. National rail top of pic, CM bottom
  • Something is seriously wrong with weekend travel in this country. First train cancelled, second train delayed “due to lack of train crew”.
  • Sweden offers permanent residency to all Syrian refugees. Respect.
  • Is it possible that he believes what he learns from Fox News?

Tweet from ldnhal

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  • That from Sunday Times biz section. Maybe green energy is both quicker to construct and cheaper?
  • and cost is likely to go up: “A similar EDF plant … 3 times over budget and fallen 6 years behind schedule”. Hinkley Point will be 2x size
  • The nuclear future is not quite here and when it comes it might just cost us. Hinkley Point due to open in 2017 will not open until 2024 and
  • ‘Please (*3), can someone round up all the sanctimonious fart boxes that are “clean eaters” and light one massive match’ in ST.
  • With budgets like that Sky & BT should be able swat auntie away. Why can’t they? Simples, right wingers just don’t tend to make good content
  • and STILL Sky (Murdoch and soon PM’s friend Brooks) continue to complain about the BBC’s “unfair” licence fee.
  • “Sky and BT will … [in 2016] spend more to televise one season of Premier League football than BBC spends annually”
  • Turkey 3 - The Netherlands 0. The Netherlands 4th (fourth) in their group (!).
  • Norway 2 - Croatia 0. We still have to go to Italy, but at least we are alive and kicking.
  • Jo Inge Berget! Norway 2 - Croatia 0. Berget keeping our Euro qualifying campaign alive.
  • Jo Inge Berget! Norway 1 - Croatia 0.
  • Stunning from Nina Kinert. Could have been a Dolly Parton or Lyle Lovett number. #nowplaying
  • #nowplaying Ternheim og Fläskkvartetten ♫
  • My letter in today. Regenerating cities is cool. Expensive follies are not. Oppose #gardenbridge http://t…
  • cue the longest delays?
  • #ShowMeaHero—which shares The Wire’s ardent social realism—is a return to form for #DavidSimon http:…
  • nightmares?
  • where do I find this doctor?
  • complete with must be the earliest swimsuit.
  • Frederick Forsyth: «was approached by an [Mi6] intelligence officer who asked him to ‘tell us what’s going on’ «
  • «My only qualification was that I was crazy enough to do it» (find out what was going on on Biafra)
  • Wonder if and Frederick Forsyth ever crossed paths in Biafra? Both were there in 1969.
  • Napoleon E02+E03 of Andrew Robert’s series of Bonaparte. Roberts could have done with a talking head counterpoint.

Tweet from ldnhal

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  • “Photograph 51”. Good acting all over, more humour than expected, set design not great (why not use progress leading to #51?)’. 4* thx to NK
  • don’t forget your shoes Ólafur
  • Off to see Nicole Kidman and friends with . Opening night for “Photograph 51”. Hipster night for the Saga generation.
  • «Show Me a Hero» E01-E06. Seen in one 6hr long session. David Simon & Paul Haggis drama, sits somewhere between «The Wire» and «Boss»(?). 5*

Tweet from ldnhal

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  • “Spotify updates its controversial privacy policy”. Same policy, better explained.
  • opening night and all - smug.
  • Yamaguchi-gumi split as reported in The Guardian (where I first picked up on this story).
  • And it looks like Jake Adelstein is now back in Japan, reporting on a split within the Yamaguchi-gumi