After 12 weeks of fine tuning, pitch perfecting and reality-show soul searching, the long and somewhat dragged-out road comes to an end for this year’s finalists of ‘The Voice’. Tonight sees one of 2013’s last four contestants crowned the second-ever winner, bagging £100,000 and a record deal.
Talent and TV fame doesn’t directly translate into superstardom, as last year’s champion, Leanne Mitchell, knows all too well. Her debut album entered at a cringeworthy No 134 in the UK Album Chart last month and the Suffolk singer has yet to announce a tour. But, dubious credibility and disappointing alumni aside, the final is a dead cert for entertainment.
If you can stomach the name-dropping, self-righteous judges (the legendary Tom Jones, loudmouth songstress Jessie J, Black Eyed Pea Will.I.Am and that Danny O’Donoghue of The Script ‘fame’), then strap in for an evening of choreography, cover versions and inevitable crying. Above all, staying true to its word, tune in to witness some serious singing skills – trust us, expect more warbling than Beyoncé in a Listerine advert.
Huckle The Barber
Seasoned hair dude Chris Ward opened his first Huckle barber shop on Old Street in 2012, and this second outpost has been seeing to Bloomsbury’s beards and barnets since 2015. The clean and simple aesthetic carries through to the service. No fussy grooming, vaguely invasive massage or ear-flaming tricks here – ‘our gimmick is: no gimmicks,’ my barber Marshal said. Which sounded slick, but turned out to be bang on. Once settled in a big, comfy barber’s chair, hair-washed and hot-towelled, I got the best cut I’ve had in ages. Marshal took a few minutes to work out what was going on upstairs before getting stuck in, recommended a few products but never went the full sales pitch, and provided great chat without the awkward. The soundtrack was on point (there’s a ‘Band of the Month’ blackboard – this month: Future Islands) and the coffee was very decent. For after-work appointments they’ve also got craft ale on tap and a selection of whiskies. At £45 for a wash and trim and £22 for a clipper cut, this isn’t a budget option. But if that’s in your price range and you're after a top cut without the fake-Edwardian faff, Huckle’s the business.
Venue says: “No gimmicks, independent male grooming of the highest quality with no pretence. Two shops to choose from: Shoreditch and Holborn.”