Social mores

     Print Edition: Nov 14, 2010

Carbon copy

Lamborghini's bid to cut down on supercar emissions are centred around a cunning ploy to fight fire with fire. Happily, looks alone can't kill.

All the while that Ferrari and Porsche have been playing with hybrid technology to try and cut down on emissions, Italian giant Lamborghini has been looking at the mystical Sixth Element for redemption. That element is carbon, the basis and bugbear of our life. And now, the company's allwheel drive 'Sesto Elemento' prototype will form the basis of the next generation of Gallardos, Lamborghini's supercar.

The world's first-ever car to use carbon-fibre reinforced plastics technology, it is tough, resilient and- at only 999 kg-extremely light. The weight is married to a 570-bhp, V10 engine for roaring power, and a monocoque chassis that ensures superb handling.

The company believes that improving the power-toweight ratio of the car will significantly cut down on emissions. And what's good for the planet seems to be good for speed too. The Sesto does 0-100 kmph in just 2.5 seconds; that is a full second faster than Ferrari's 458 Italia!

Island Chase

Rumour has it that Italian fashion designer Georgio Armani has bought the Greek Island of Skorpios, one of the most beautiful and expensive private islands in the world. The internet is buzzing with reports of a $190-million (Rs  837 crore) closing deal that beat back bids from well-known and well-heeled individuals such as Bill Gates, Roman Abramovich and Madonna. Formerly owned by Greek shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis, Skorpios lies off the west coast of Greece and has a massive villa called the Pink House, along with tennis courts and lavish gardens. While the designer hasn't confirmed the purchase so far, everyone's waiting to see the knight in shining Armani out there.

Photos for change
BNP Paribas celebrates 150 years with a photo exhibition called: 'Women Changing India'. It will be held from 22 October to 16 December across Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi, Chennai and Kolkata. Th exhibit will showcase the increasing participation of women is societal affairs. It aims to look at women as forces of change.

Art appreciation
Behind the closed doors of a flat in Paris' Ninth Arrondissement lay hidden a treasure trove for over 70 years. The tenant, one Ms de Florian, a 'demimondaine' left her home during World War II and never returned. When she died recently at the age of 91, experts were called in to make an inventory of her possessions. It was like entering Sleeping Beauty's castle. In the midst of several interesting turn-of-the-century objects, Olivier Choppin-Janvry, one of the experts, spotted a stunning tableau of a woman in a pink muslin evening dress. Though he had a feeling that the painting was the work of the 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini, he couldn't find any proof to validate it. An exhaustive search revealed a visiting card and a love note from the artist and the expert realised that he was in holding the genuine article, which was painted in 1898. The subject of the painting was a Frenchwoman called Marthe de Florian, who was believed to have had a relationship with the artist. And it was her grand-daughter who had lived in and left the flat uninhabited for more than half a century. The painting has since been sold for €2.1 million (Rs 13.4 crore), the highest ever for a Boldini. The starting price for the work was €300,000 (Rs 1.86 crore) but it rocketed as 10 bidders vied for the historic work. Quite a discovery, we'd say.

The BT More Playlist

Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz Indie poster boy Sufjan Stevens embraces electronics and techno and gives full reign to his talent for composing.

Antony and the Johnsons, Swanlights The man with the voice of an angel is back with a new album of calm songs on beauty and hope.

Africa- 50 Years of Music Though African music is a very diverse field, this enormous anthology does great justice to it with a well curated set of classics from 1960 onwards. A must buy.

Neil Young, Le Noise Old hoary Neil mixes both the manic and the gentle on his new album with just his guitar and tortured soul for company

Belle & Sebastian, Write about Love The cult Scottish band are back with album number eight and, as usual, they sparkle with their lilting tunes.

6 things to do this month

Spirit of christmas fair: Held in London, the fair will see over 600 specially selected companies exhibiting high quality Christmas gifts. Enjoy handmade Cornish cheese and organic oak smoked Scottish salmon with fine wines and champagne. It will be held at the Victorian Venue in Olympia, London from 3-7 November.
Website: www.spiritofchristmasfair.co.uk

Bundi utsav: The beautiful Rajasthani town of Bundi comes alive with a spellbinding mix of culture, folklore, and the traditional craft of the region. Fireworks kick-start the Shobha Yatra that features an arts and crafts fair, traditional sports, cultural exhibitions, classical music and dance programmes.From November 24 to 26.
Website: www.rajasthantourism.gov.in

Pan fair: If art and antiques are what you like, be at Amsterdam's Pan fair and join over 120 dealers from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany as they exhibit high quality art works. Whether a beach scene by Cezanne, or a 16th century Madonna, or brass and glass antiques, they've got it all. It will be held at the Amsterdam RAI exhibition hall in Amsterdam from 21 to 28 November.
Website: www.pan.nl

Goa Film Festival: Organised by the Entertainment Society of Goa, the 41st International Film Festival of India will showcase a variety of nationally and internationally acclaimed films. It will be held at the Maquinez Palace by the scenic Mandovi River from 22 November to 2 December.
Website: www.iffigoa.org

Freedom march: Curators Anubhav Nath and Johny ML took a set of artists and travelled Gandhi's route to Dandi to rediscover the Mahatma's philosophies. The result of their journey is a collection of contemporary art that looks at India's ground reality through Gandhi. Experience the exhibition from 12 to 18 November at the Lalit Kala Academy in New Delhi.
Contact: 011-23387242

Kona Coffee Festival: Hawaii's oldest food festival offers community events such as art exhibitions, food and coffee tastings following a lantern parade celebrating Kona's heritage with colourful ethnic costumes. Be at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii from 5 - 7 November.
Website: www.konacoffeefest.com

Keep up the good spirit
A favourite product placement in old Hindi films, with a name that was once jokingly called the Pope's phone number, has got a new look. Distilled from the finest malt and grain whiskies and aged in specific casks, Vat 69 whisky is known for its light and well balanced flavour. And, now, a fresh look. The dark green bottle with a red ribbon on the cork as well as the red wax seal have been given a white stenciled VAT 69 with burnished gold embossing. Tempting enough to cough up Rs 900 for a bottle. Cheers.

Fit to pray
La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is one of the most famous churches in the world, but the unfinished Gothic masterwork of architect Antoni Gaudi has been, to date, revered only for its architectural nuance. All that changes from November 7, when Pope Benedict XVI consecrates the church and proclaims it a Basilica. Construction on La Familia, which Gaudi saw as the 'last great sanctuary of Christendom', began in 1882 but remained unfinished after Gaudi passed away in 1926. Still, it stayed suffused with Christian symbolism and receives millions of visitors every year who come to gape at one of the greatest architectural marvels of the 20th century, and one of Spain's top tourist attractions. The most striking aspect of the church is its spindle-shaped spires which represent-in ascending order of height-the 12 apostles, the four evangelists, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. The construction of the church is now expected to be completed in 2026, in time for Gaudi's centenary death anniversary.

India on your plate
Chef Surendra Mohan of The Leela, Mumbai has an unenviable job. As you read this, his mailbox is probably choking with recipes from thousands of Americans via Lufthansa Airways. They are writing in the hope of winning an iPad if Chef Mohan deems their recipe to be his favourite. The airline has asked tourists from the US who wish to travel to India to submit creative Indian recipes of their choice in its 'Flavours of India' contest. Participants have to register at the Lufthansa website and enter a weekly raffle to win prizes such as an iPad, $50 gift vouchers to famous Indian eateries in the US and elsewhere and othergoodies. But that's not all. Not wishing to disappoint anyone, the airline is offering consolation gifts as well. On till November 15, people can earn points by even getting their friends to register on the airline's site. Those whofacilitate the most registrations will be gifted one economy-class round ticket to India.

Sounds like you know about cocktails
As classic cocktail season rolls around, here are some facts to get your spirits up:
1. In his seminal book, How To Mix Drinks, legendary New York bartender Jerry Thomas defined a cocktail as a mixture of spirit, sugar, water and bitters.
2. Although Thomas popularised cocktails throughout the US with signature drinks such as the Blue Blazer, the first mention of such a drink was made in the The Farmer's Cabinet in 1803.
3. Cocktails seem to always attract funny names, which in turn are inspired by the oddest of things. For example, 'highballs' came from a kind of signal given by railroad engineers in the US to indicate that the tracks were clear for a train to pass.
4. For the longest time, the most popular cocktails in the US at least were whiskeybased. However, with the coming of the Prohibition in the country and alcohol consumption moving underground, the spirit of choice shifted to gin, as it was easier to produce illegally.
5. Surrealist filmmaker Luis Bunuel so loved his cocktails that he once said, "If you were to ask me if I ever miss my daily cocktail, I'd have to say that I doubt it; where certain things are concerned, I plan ahead.
Happy hour

If you are looking for the perfect pilot's watch, this is it. The Thunderbolt concept watch is a tribute to aeronautics. It's the newest creation in a series of highly complicated timepieces from the five-yearold Geneva-based MB&F, which was founded by Maximillian Büsser, a veteran of the Swiss haute watch world. What makes this watch interesting is its twin pods, which are equipped with a power reserve and hour/minute indicators. The watch was inspired by the 1970s-era A-10 aircraft's twin cylindrical jet reactors. It reputedly took the watchmakers more than 200 hours to carve, finish and polish the block of titanium and solid sapphire crystal.

Clipped wings

Give your Bentley back! This is what Bentley's management has been telling its patrons. The company is recalling 1,436 models built between 2006 and 2009 to replace the winged 'B' emblem with a more retractable one. The company is concerned for pedestrians, who, on collision with a Bentley, may get jabbed by its flying B. To kill two birds with one stone, your symbolic wings are kept alive and no one gets hurt. Pretty neat.

Give your Bentley back!

This is what Bentley's

management has been

telling its patrons. The

company is recalling 1,436

models built between 2006

and 2009 to replace the

winged 'B' emblem with a

more retractable one. The

company is concerned for

pedestrians, who, on

collision with a Bentley,

may get jabbed by its flying

B. To kill two birds with one

stone, your symbolic wings

are kept alive and no one

gets

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