1. Tony and Melfi
Here’s where it all began. Tony is in his first therapy session and sparks fly. Gandolfini does everything in this scene; sadness, rage, self-pity, confusion. It’s a stunning performance and a perfect illustration of why we fell so hard for this, erm, flawed hero. ‘Whatever happened to Gary Cooper? He wasn’t in touch with his feelings. He just did what he had to do.’
2. Tony and Paulie
One of the many enduring joys of ‘The Sopranos’ was Paulie’s habit of telling a joke and then explaining it to Tony on the off-chance that his boss had missed it. Tony’s ‘slightly bored of Paulie’ face never got old.
3. ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’
The Coen Brothers’ ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’ was the British audience’s first glimpse of a ‘Sopranos’-era Gandolfini as anyone other than the big guy. ‘Big Dave’ Brewster was a subtle tweak: a similar bullishness but with an edge of desperate vulnerability; somewhere between cock of the walk and scared schoolboy.
4. ‘In the Loop’
Gandolfini’s General George Miller was different again, walking the thin line between comedy and tragedy. In this scene, Miller does an excellent impression of a giant ball sack, works out troop shortfalls on a child’s pink counting toy before concluding, ‘at the end of a war, you need some soldiers left, really. Or else it starts to look like you’ve lost…’
5. Tony and AJ
After pausing for his customary root around in the fridge, Tony hears the cries of his suicidal son and races for the pool. What follows is a brief but devastatingly intense two-hander. Tony and AJ might not have liked each other very much, but the love in this scene is painfully obvious.
6. Tony and eternity
Spoiler alert: this entry contains important information about the conclusion of 'The Sopranos'
The most debated final scene in TV history? Probably. Whether or not the Soprano family lived or died is up to you. But this scene felt like the culmination of a unique relationship between writer, actor and part. And of course, in the light of Gandolfini’s death, it feels especially poignant. Fade to black…
House of Vans
Taking over what used to be the Old Vic Tunnels, the House of Vans has turned the space below Waterloo station into a hot new destination for skateboarders, and promises a variety of diversions that will also appeal to those with no particular ambition to execute a credible 360 flip. The underground venue is sister to House of Vans Brooklyn where tickets for the free, all-ages summer concerts go like hot baked goods. The London branch also boasts a live music stage, as well as two tunnels’ worth of purpose-built skate park and an art gallery that will open with ‘Scissors & Glue’, an exhibition documenting the brief history of zines (till September 20). There’s a café, bars and cinema space and a regular programme of talks and workshops is planned. Skate sessions are free and open to all ages (there are lessons with The Skateboad School on Saturday mornings) but to be sure of entry book in advance on the House of Vans website where you’ll also find updates on upcoming gigs.