Eken Magazine







Continuing from the excellent first series, Kevin Spacey plays Democrat Frank Underwood who continues his climb up the political ladder with all the slithering of the snake in the garden of Eden. He is one of TV’s great antiheroes who can not stop at back stabbing whether he can, pushing his own personal agenda ahead of those he is elected to represent and yet in a time where politicians are under the microscope, you can’t help loving him and wanting him to succeed every step of the way. Initially based on the British Novel of the same name, this second series has sex, drugs, hacking, bbq ribs, presidential three-somes, murder, politcal shenanigans which tick all my boxes. The only negative is I have watched all of series 2 way too quickly and I now have to wait till next year for Season 3.



Andrew Garfield reprises role as Spiderman and this time the villains to defeat are Jamie Foxx as Electro and the Hob Goblin. We all know the story so I don’t need to go into it…bit by a spider, has super powers blah blah. Now I am a big fan of Spiderman I always have been and I thought Tobey Maguire was great as Peter Parker/Spiderman. And I do think Andrew Garfield does a good job as well. Emma Stone playing the love interest of Gwen Mason is a far better, more humous character than the wishy washy, always moaning Kirsten Dunst Watson as Mary Jane from the Tobey Maguire films. The CGI looks great and the action is awesome when it kicks in and it’s a pity there wasn’t a bit more screen time given to Electro. However it does really slow down in the middle of the film in order to develop the characthers, their relationships and backgrounds. And it is a bit of a problem that I have with a lot of the action/superhero films lately. Instead of just writing and creating the script for the specific film there is a lot of the film time dedicated to creating the storylines for a 2nd,3rd, 4th…film. And in doing so you end up with a film where half of it is dedicated to developing the next, and it is a bit distracting and I think it slows down the films which by their nature should be non stop action. I did still enjoy it hwoever and I am looking forward to the next.Which Spiderman do I prefer, it’s a bit like asking which is your favourite Bond. For me Tobey Maguire nudges it.



Starring Russel Crowe, Emma Watson and Ray Winston, we all know the story of Noah building the arc to save all the animals whilst God wipes out all of mankind with one giant flush of his toilet. Well clearly the writers and Directors of this film do not. Regardless of religious views this film is ridiculous and laughable in equal measure. Am I allowed to give 0 out of 5 – If Ray Winston can have a gun that fires golden stones and if Giant Rock Monsters helped Noah build the arc then I definitely can give this film a big fat 0. Oh Russel Crowe is somehow pretty good in this.




When I studied Shakespeare at school, we covered a couple of Shakespearian comedies. My teacher had a tough time of trying to explain to a bunch of 15 year olds why it was funny. It was nothing like Waynes World, not a ‘schwing’ in sight. Much ado about nothing is considered one of Shakespeares best comedies and so off we went to my favourite space in Manchester – The Royal Exchange Theatre – to see if my opinion could be changed. The story revolves around Leonato and his family (daughter Hero and niece Beatrice) welcoming home friends returning from war. One of the war heroes – Claudio – in typical Shakespearian fashion immediately falls in love with Leonatos’ daughter, Hero, before he has even spoken to her. Benedick and Beatrice hide their love by trading witty insults at one another and Don John decides to throw a spanner in the works by plotting against everyone. In this interpretation the setting is moved from its Sicilian Renaissance background to post world war 2 England. And the result – it works, really well. Highlights are the genuinely funny moments where Beatrice and Benedik hide and move themselves around the audience whilst secretively listening into the other characters hidden conversations. And the dance scene where the actors don large papier mache heads, and jive to the best of 1940’s swing music really is a scene that totally draws your attention in. And did I find it funny – I certainly did. So I apologise to my school teacher, shakespeare can be funny. I guess you just need the right setting and interpretation. Showing till 5th May in Manchester.





Of all the types of restaurants/eateries there are, there is one which makes some people feel their most guilty for going to – the dreaded chain restaurant. Chain restaurants can represent the height of mundane, blandness. Interiors, the menu, the presentation are the same wherever you go. However, you do get good ones as well. One of the better ones- Cote Brasserie – has just opened in Manchester. Its a French themed brasserie with all the dishes you expect to find in 99% of Parisian brasseries – roast duck, goats cheese salad, dauphinoise potatoes and creme brulee. We went over the Easter weekend. My sister had attempted to poison me the day before and after not eating for 24 hours my body was telling me to have something simple like roast chicken and chips. And lucky for me Cotes does this and even luckier it was rather good. The pomme frites (chips)exactly how I like – thin and crispy. The chicken seasoned lovely, skin nice and crisp and the chicken tender and moist. Service was very good, prompt but they give you enough space to enjoy your meal. If i was feeling a bit better I would have dessert so we will definitely be back for more.




Steven Parker recently visited Artisan restaurant in Spinningfileds. As you will see below, he was not impressed so he decided to write them a letter:

Dear Artisan,

I just wanted to give some feedback on a visit to Artisan last night. Firstly, I am a fan of the living ventures as a whole and enjoy and appreciate many of the various dining experiences it offers. Sec- ondly Artisan looks extremely impressive and the service as al- ways from a living ventures establishment was very good. How- ever, it has to be said that the dining experience itself was woeful. The menu is odd to say the least. Quite an eclectic mix and yet very bland and uninspiring. Regarding the food, on a good note, the flat bread with hummus was excellent. But that’s where the plus notes go. In fact I wish we stayed with just ordering small plates instead. I ordered the chick- en with wild mushrooms and my partner had the gammon egg and chips. It has said to be said it was some of the poorest food I have eaten. My partners main was just OK. But it is gammon and hard- ly highlights any cooking ability at all. The crinkle cut chips were OK. I was glad they weren’t oven chips but they were so over sea- soned with salt, mixed with the naturally salty gammon led to an ordering of a jug of table water just to try and eat them but this effort was soon swiftly abandoned. But my chicken main was woe- ful to say the least and perhaps one of the worst meals I have had in Manchester or anywhere in fact. The menu description read ‘Roasted chicken breast with wild mushrooms tarragon and red wine sauce’. If the menu instead read ‘extremely dry, tough flavour- less chicken with 4 slices of a wild mushroom fried to death, with a smidgeon of thick bisto gravy and a handful of spinach leaves without any seasoning, cooking whatsoever and definitely no tarra- gon’ then this would have been a far more accurate description. The dish at normal price was £12.95. At Australasia your far far superi- or dish of pork belly and pineapple curry is £15.50. Only a £2.55 dif- ference but a world apart. Before I had even tried the chicken main I laughed when I saw my main arrive. I have never seen a piece of chicken look so lonely on a desert of white porcelain. Fortunately we were attending utilizing your excellent 50% offer. But even at this discount I felt nothing other than ripped off and unsatisfied. I will still go to the other living venture establishment as I think they rank with some of the best in Manchester. I just won’t be going back to Artisan or recommending it to anyone.

Thanks, Steven



By Steven Parker