Wikimania 2014

IMG_2471IMG_2472IMG_2523IMG_251610596176_10154484977910440_1926671646_n1620458_10154476247145440_2555816318864440504_n10462787_10154669321835131_3533472006869716267_nwikimania 2014 sam and laila

I’ve got a lot more to show you from the USA but I couldn’t not post about Wikimania 2014. Wikimania is taking place right now at Barbican in London, and I’m writing this from the crew room, 12 and a half hours into todays shift. I have organised all the entertainment (that’s 4 stages and 150 artists over 3 days, fact fans) and last night I had the absolute pleasure of playing the Opening Ceremony, managing to homage some of my all-time musical heroes in the process.

For months and months this job has been a series of ever-increasing e-mails and frantic scheduling, and it wasn’t until about two weeks ago that the team as a whole started coming together. We moved into central offices, started staying the night at the staff flat and spending more time together, eventually moving on site to the Barbican at the start of this week. The last 5 days the whole team has been working as one, making this conference into something much bigger than the sum of our parts.

When you’re working in such close quarters and at such a constant pace it doesn’t take long for traditions to form. Close friendships and bonds are created in a matter of days. Entire relationship histories are formed after a single 16 hour shift. It only takes a weekend for certain journeys to become a daily ritual. Everything is a big blur of familiar and new. Constant snapchats, repeated lunch-hours, losing and finding my clipboard on a hourly basis, struggling with phone chargers, making finger puppets of everyone in the office and racing around looking for members of my various acts have all become part of my strange, current, frantic, Wikimania life. All together… YAYYYYY!





Let’s start by saying I’m really not much of a drinker and never have been. As a teenager I found adding alcohol to coke or lemonade just ruined the taste and during university I was famed for being the slowest drinker amongst my friends (on average I managed one pint  for everybody else’s three rounds). Besides which when you’re a wheat – free vegan, drinks get pretty limited (you’d be surprised how much wine is brewed using isinglass, aka, fish bladder).

However, I’ve always liked trying out cocktails, particularly when they involve unusual ingredients. There is just something about cocktails which draws your imagination in; whether it’s the interesting names (blackberry fizz sounds like the tipple of fairies), specialist ingredients (Midori liquer? Creme de violette?) or wonderful stories behind the creation and naming of a cocktail.

I thought I’d share some favourite cocktails in case you’re looking for something new to try (DRINK RESPONSIBLY KIDS)! During an impromptu house barbecue, I was assigned the dubious task of mixologist whilst the “men” got on with throwing meat at each other and trying not to burn the garden down. There’s only about 4 cocktails I’d claim to be able to make well but I gave it a go!Bloody Mary cocktail tomato juice vodka worcestershire sauce black pepper ground black pepper interior shot drinks drink food summer
Bloody Mary cocktail tomato juice vodka worcestershire sauce black pepper ground black pepper james garden Bloody Mary (modelled by James)

Ingredients: vodka, tomato juice, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, worcester sauce/horseradish sauce, celery. This is really the only drink I can talk about in detail as it’s the only one I regularly drink and the only thing I ever go for in pubs. In my opinion I make the best Bloody Marys in town (I imagine most of my friends will disagree), probably because I am very particular with how I like them: lots of horseradish sauce which goes in first, smooth tomato juice only, ground black pepper and celery. NEVER lime as a garnish (as I have stubbornly informed hundreds of barmen across the capital) although cucumber is passable. Wikipedia has an impressive list of variations on this cocktail – has anybody tried any? A Bloody Fairy sounds horrific (absinthe instead of vodka).cosmopolitan, cranberry juice, vodka, cocktail, exterior, garden, glass, shot aIMG_5618  Cosmopolitan

Ingredients: vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, lime juice (as well as lime garnish). Whilst the characters in Bridget Jones are fond of a good bloody mary, I’m sure you’ll all recognise the Cosmopolitan from Sex and The City where Carrie and the gang exclusively drink the rather aesthetically pleasing cocktail. I’m actually never much of a fan of these because I love cranberry juice too much. I just get annoyed at the other flavours.Cuba libre, coke, lime, drink, cocktail, dave in the garden, exterior Cuba Libre (modelled by Dave)

Ingredients: Coca-cola, lime, white rum. I personally like my coke unfettered by alcohol but Dave seemed to enjoy this even if it was reminiscent of being a teenager. As you can probably guess from the name, the drink was supposedly created in Cuba to celebrate their freedom in the Spanish-American war. Ideally served in a tumbler (we don’t own any) and on the rocks (ice).aIMG_5599 cachaça, caipirinha, outside, river island, rokit, vintage, lime, cocktails, drinking, garden cachaça, caipirinha, outside, river island, rokit, vintage, lime, cocktails, drinking, garden   Caipirinha (hopefully you recognise the girl in these photos…)

Ingredients: cachaça, lime and sugar. The national cocktail of Brazil! You might know I adore Brazil and I’ve tried a fair few of these at various Brazilian events in my time. Like the bloody mary this is another cocktail I can actually “make” and in my opinion they are easy to get wrong: too much lime and it’s bitter, not enough lime and it’s a sugar punch to the front teeth, too much ice and it’s distilled. The secret is to mash up the lime with the ice first until it’s slightly crushed (you can’t tell from the terrible quality photo), then add granulated brown sugar, then pour the alcohol in last over the top and don’t over stir. A bit tricky but so worth it!aIMG_5634 Gin Fizz

Ingredients:  gin, lemon juice (or lime juice, we used both), soda water. Essentially a posh variation on G&T. I’m not a massive fan of gin but this tasted vaguely of lemonade and Dave seemed to enjoy it! Our little cocktails book listed some bizarre variations using bits of egg such as the above ingredients plus egg white (Silver Fizz), egg yolk (Golden Fizz) and a whole egg (Royal Fizz) which sounds bizarre and is also (luckily) not vegan so I won’t be making any of those anytime soon.

That concludes our cocktails discussion! Let me know if you have tried any of these and if you have a favourite cocktail (and if it’s a bloody mary, let’s compare notes). Here’s some token pictures of the barbecue, as you can see it was GOOD. Thanks for reading and follow on facebook/twitter/bloglovin if you feel inclined!!
P.S. If any of you are based in London and would like to come to a little blog celebration I’m planning in a couple weeks, do get in touch! barbecue food laid out exterior outside garden