Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Warner Bros. Harry Potter London Studio Tour - Sweets and Treats

Film fans in Hertfordshire can get a taste for how magical meals and confectionery were created for the Harry Potter film series. 

Warner Bros. Studio Tour, in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, UK, is set to host its first ever Sweets and Treats feature.
From July 20 to September 6, visitors will discover how the prop department moulded jelly snakes, decorated sugar skulls and piped ice-cream sundaes during production.
Based in the Ministry Munchies kiosk from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, expert prop and cake makers will demonstrate the techniques used to construct the floating pudding from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and edible Gillyweed, as used in the Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Visitors will get to spot the difference between real bakes and prop fakes as they get up close to original artefacts and see edible delights being created.
Butterbeer ice-cream will be available to purchase in the Studio Tour’s new backlot café for the first time this summer as well as frothy tankards of the drink which is reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch.
On the Diagon Alley set, visitors will be able to learn how towering ‘frozen’ desserts were assembled outside Florean Fortescue’s ice-cream parlour.
During production, graphic designers were tasked with creating dozens of unique sweet boxes and wrappers for treats from Honeydukes and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.
In the end they created more than 120 different items for the Weasley twins’ shop and some of their original sketches and designs will be shown in the attraction’s Art Department especially for Sweets and Treats.
Some iconic sets will also be given a makeover as the Great Hall’s long tables are lined with props from Hogwarts feasts and the Gryffindor common room is dressed as it was for Quidditch victory scenes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Visitors can also enjoy the fantastic Hogwarts Express at a recreation of Kings Cross’ mythical Platform 9 ¾. 

Food facts:

·         Chocolate desserts of all kinds covered the Great Hall tables in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and nearly all of it was actually made out of intricately-painted resin. However, some edible pieces were baked such as the chocolate phoenix cake which is displayed at the Studio Tour (having survived more than seven years in storage).

·         To make the scene where Ron throws up slugs in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets more palatable for actor Rupert Grint, filmmakers created the slimy creatures out of orange-flavoured jelly.

·         More than 300 litres of silicone were used to make the vibrantly-coloured sweets in Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, including Puking Pastilles and Nosebleed Nougat.

The Studio Tour’s Sweets and Treats feature will run from Monday, July 20 to Sunday, September 6.

Tickets must be pre-booked and all extra activities are included in the ticket price.

  • For more information and to buy tickets click here and view the hashtag #SweetsAndTreats

Monday, 29 June 2015

Interview with superstar DJ Tiësto ahead of EDC UK 2015

What is special about playing in the UK?

There’s a great history for dance music in the UK, some of the finest clubs and festivals that became the model for what everyone else is doing in the world.
The fans are really clued in as well, so it’s great to play in the UK. 

What can we expect from your set at EDC in Milton Keynes?

It’s an iconic venue and I can’t wait.
I’ll be playing a lot of new tracks from my new mix album ‘Club Life Vol. 4 – New York City,’ my current favourites and of course some classics.
I’ll be dropping some surprises as well .

What do you think of your one-time Gouryella collaborator Ferry Corsten’s new ‘Anehera’ track and will you ever return to trance?

Ferry’s super talented and it was a great moment to work with him back then.
The track is great but I’m not focusing on the past.
It’s always going to be a part of who I am and of course you will hear some of those classics in my sets. 

Do you think EDM has peaked?

Not at all.
In fact, it’s still growing and expanding into other subgenres. 

I once saw you play at The Gallery in Turnmills, London, where I’m sure you’ll remember the dancefloor and club where very confined, do you miss the intimacy of clubs in the early days?

To a degree, but I still do play those kind of clubs.
It is not all giant clubs and festivals.
I do appreciate a small intimate club

What are better, festivals or clubs?

It’s a tough answer because both settings are very different. 
On the one hand you have this insane adrenaline rush from playing a festival but the sets tend to be limited by a smaller set time.
Club shows often allow me to explore the room a bit more and change up my styles, which is something I love.
I’m really happy and comfortable in both settings. 

Who is your favourite up-and-coming DJ?

There are a few I’m really into now including Dzeko & Torres, MOTi and Zaxx. 

Has dance music’s home shifted from Ibiza to the USA?

I think so. It seems that dance music is going big and never stopping year round in the USA. So many great clubs and festivals. 

What is your current favourite track? 

I have this new song with Dallas K called ‘Show Me’ and the reactions have been amazing. I really liked the way it turned out and it’s going to be huge. 

What does the future hold for you? 

 I’ll be promoting my new mix album, I have a lot of festivals performances this summer and of course I’m in Vegas for my Hakkasan/Wet Republic residency throughout the summer.

  • EDC is at The National Bowl, Milton Keynes on July 11. For more information, click here

'Extradited' Book By Andrew Symeou

As part of the Extradition Act (2003) the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was rushed through Parliament.
When an EAW for a British national is issued by another European member state, authorities agree to extradite that person without question to the requesting country, regardless of evidence – a mechanism open to abuse or error.
One such abuse cost student Andrew Symeou very dear.
In 2007, he and his friends went on holiday to Zante to celebrate the end of their exams. Nothing remarkable happened during their stay, but when Andrew returned home to Enfield Greek police requested his extradition on a charge of 'fatal bodily harm' (manslaughter, but translated as murder in Britain).
While Andrew was in Zante, another young holiday maker tragically died in a nightclub accident.

Greek police quickly fabricated a case against Andrew, accusing him of striking the victim, whereas in fact he had neither met him nor been in the nightclub at the time of the tragedy.

A year later, he was arrested at his North London home by British police with an EAW. Magazine Private Eye described the Greeks’ investigation as "flawed, contradictory and in places ludicrous." 
A British coroner slammed the investigation as being “a misguided effort to solve the crime”.
Regardless, a British court was unable to prevent Andrew’s extradition and he was dragged away from friends, family and girlfriend. 
Having never been questioned by police, Andrew was thrown into prison where he spent almost a year pre-trial.
In 2011 he was acquitted as the Greek police’s case unravelled.
‘Extradited’ is Andrew’s story of his wrongful arrest and incarceration.
He hopes that by telling his harrowing story he can highlight “the terrible faults” of the EAW and inspire politicians to make sure “such iniquities does not continue to happen to innocent people”.
The book is priced £18.99 and is published by Biteback Publishing.