Hit & Run: A night on the tiles – with Sven

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The Independent Online

With a £2m severance package from the Mexicans under his belt and a £40,000 per week salary for his new job, Sven-Goran Eriksson will have plenty of cash to burn when he arrives in the Midlands to take up the reins of Nottingham County. As "director of football" he will be responsible for the team's transfer negotiations, scouting, the development of players, the training facilities and the club's youth wing. But surely there will still be time for some fine dining and wining?

All of which will be music to the ears of Nottingham's exclusive restaurants and clubs who will be keen to turn the famously gastronomic Swede into one of their regulars. So if you were Sven's PA and had been asked to find a few top eateries, nightclubs filled with weathergirls and a gated community to hide from the paparazzi, where would you begin?

First up is top-notch bolt hole with high walls and where better than Nottingham's most exclusive residential area – The Park Estate. Built on 150 acres of a former deer park to the west of Nottingham Castle, the estate is filled with huge Victorian gothic mansions beloved of Nottingham's wealthy elite. Access to the exclusive estate is restricted to just three entry points and residents have to use a keycard to retract steel bollards at each entrance. That should provide some half decent protection from the paparazzi at least.

Food wise, expect to spot Sven at Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham's only Michelin-starred restaurant. A ten course tasting menu costs £85 per head and includes such delights as "crab with acidulated turnip and beach herbs" or "raw scallop, veal marrow and samphire". For the particularly picky, if you give the restaurant 48 hours and tell them what your favourite ingredients are they'll whip something up.

A cheaper but equally gastronomic option is Hart's, which seems to win the town's "Restaurant of the Year" awards practically every year. Housed in what used to be the radiology department of Nottingham General Hospital, the restaurant specialises in that ever mysterious genre of cuisine "modern British cooking" and locals swear by it.

Most of Nottingham's club life caters for the tens of thousands of cash-strapped students at the city's two main universities and we can't really imagine Sven strutting his stuff on the dance floor, downing snakebite blacks at, say, Rock City or Gatecrasher. The footballers, both County and Forest types, tend to hang out at The Lizard Lounge and The Living Room, two of the more classy bars in the city centre. And according to some of the more scathing online reviews, both bars also attract reams of wannabe footballer's wives – although it is unclear whether Nancy Dell'Olio has ever been seen in their vicinities.

And when Sven wants to take his footballers for a bit of R and R, he could try the UK's only branch of Hooters which can be found just a hefty stone's throw from County's stadium at Meadow Lane.

Jerome Taylor

Yee-haw! Country makes a White House comeback

Cowboy hats and boots were briefly back in fashion in the White House as Barack and Michelle Obama hosted a country music concert in the East Wing on Tuesday night with performances by bluegrass legend Alison Krauss and her band Union Station, as well as other stars of the 'Ole Opry' circuit, Brad Paisley and Charley Pride.

If George Bush and Bill Clinton could claim some kind of affinity with the lyrics of pain, love and loss that typify the genre – the former presidents had roots respectively in Texas and Arkansas – the job was a little trickier for Hawaii-raised and Harvard-educated Barack Obama. Nor is Chicago, his home in adult years, a hub of hayrides and square dancing. Wisely, he didn't try to feign familiarity by wearing jeans and big belt buckle.

"I know folks think I am a city boy," the dark-suited Mr Obama conceded to the audience of cabinet secretaries and lawmakers from Capitol Hill. "But I do appreciate listening to country music because like all Americans I appreciate the broad and indelible impact that country has had on our nation." Some might have recalled also how every Obama rally last year was preceded by Brooks and Dunn's "Only in America" blasting from loudspeakers.

The concert, which was preceded by workshop lead by Krauss and Paisley with 120 school children from across the US, was the second of a series of four that Mrs Obama is staging in the White House this year to celebrate the place of music in America. Last month, the first couple welcomed stars of jazz to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Coming up next, aides revealed, a night of American classical music.

Of all musical traditions, country may be the one that is most uniquely American, however. "After all, name any other country that would have produced a Hank Williams or a Willie Nelson," Mr Obama noted before leaving the stage to the performers.

David Usborne

Bucking the trend

Designers have been sending long-legged, doe-eyed creatures down the catwalk for decades. They're called models. But another slim and skittish beast is tripping into the style spotlight – the deer. Animal lover Stella McCartney has just unveiled the advertising campaign for her autumn/winter collection and the star of the show isn't the threads or the clotheshorse sporting them – it's Bambi (and friends), who is frolicking in the foreground of the ads.

Another British designer who has fallen for the charms of the woodland denizens is Emma Cook, whose delightful deer patterned range for Topshop launches on

Friday. If only Bambi's mother was here to see it – she'd be so proud.

Rebecca Armstrong