Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Not on a Sunday!

We had a little BBQ on Sunday, it turned a little rowdy, here's the result...

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Escape from Glasto

I had to escape London at the weekend, I couldn't hang around and listen to the G word (that's Glasto in case you were wondering). Instead I boarded a rather sweaty coach to Bristol, what better way to escape festival fever than to head to England's festival city. Fortunately it paid off, we (my old housemate and I) chucked our stuff in the van, collected a rather wolf like dog from a friends house and embarked into the woods. We mostly encountered sheep, in fact we shared a field with a large number of them and there droppings.

On Sunday we went on a 4.5 hour trek through the forest, we stumbled accross three magnificent waterfalls, perfect for swimming.

House of Honey

I find it difficult to comprehend peoples irrational fears, raised in the countryside we were allowed to run free, explore and seek out life. My mother held the belief, that phobias were commonly passed through the generations, monkey see monkey do. Thankfully like most, I can pick up a spider, let a wasp land on my nose and fly away again, walk past a flying pidgeon without flinching. Which is why I was so enraptured when I discovered my usual lunchtime picnic spot had been take over by a swam of bees.

"If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination... no more men!" Albert Einstein

The art installation which is part of the month long City of London Festival draws attention to the plight of the bee by creating new homes, eight in total around the city where they are free to cultivate, pollenate and continue life. The example I witnessed was situated by St.Pauls, in a rather picturesque drop lawned area. Entrance was via wooden steps next to a fountain where pigeons bathed. The wooden frame house had a fireplace sealed with glass which contained the bees securely, that was until I went by this lunchtime to find the casing destroyed, I am unsure as to what happened to the bees, upon hearing about the project I was excited by the voyuerism element and now it's been taken away, which is a huge shame.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Iphone 4 the new crack

It's hard to remove yourself from the grind of the office, into the wonderful world that exists beyond work. Yet without such jaunts one would fail to see all the hidden gems of amusement that linger in the city. Being bereft of my iphone, through reasons I am bored to return to, I often gaze longingly at those happy souls occupied and in love with there little hand held friends. I was once like you, yet now I am torn, the crack phone calls demanding a high price, 'can I justify the expense, and do I really need it, what if it leaves like last time...?' The launch of iphone4 made me salivate heavily, in fact its lure was so strong I spent two days in cold turkey contemplating the whiles of being able SEE who you’re calling and all the little add-ons. It's like bumping into an old boyfriend only to note how they've firmed up, tanned up and improved their wardrobe. My conscience says sleep on it £500 is a lot of money - equate the cost in practical terms - a weeks salary, a holiday, a new wardrobe, two months worth of food. I beginning to sound like an Oxfam advert.

My indecisiveness led me to hold fire on the spontaneous pre-ordering, quite lucky I did, as I wandered round I witnessed a long snake of people outside the two o2 stores I passed. I felt a little smug as most of the queuers looked decidedly glum. Fortunately for me, those people may actually provide a surplus of iphone '3's which means I won't have to fork out the higher price tag.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

People watching at The Cat & Mutton

Okay, so initially I was against the idea of hanging out with the trendies down Broadway, yet when you get to witness sights like this dude actually dictating suitable cycling speeds to passing bikes, well it makes it all worthwhile. After recent scrapes with my cycle I'm considering in investing in a similar head gear also, just as a precautionary measure?

Could this be love?

Ambling along the canal eastwards we stumbled upon a rather large expanse of festival goers, Hackney in all it's glory had emptied upon a field in the sunshine. As I browsed with fervor through rails of vintage tat in the vain hope that the rest of London's fashionable east end had failed to spot a gem, naive I know. My ears tuned in to the band playing on the it was the music from the video my old housemate had made, The Brute Chorus 'Could this be Love' we headed over to the main stage and soaked up the atmosphere.

Below are some unauthorised snapshots of the people of Hackney doing there thing.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Friday Night

Saturday morning I woke up fully clothed in my bed with a friend either side, but before that I went to Alibi a neat little basement bar on Kingsland Road. I liked the typepography, the stamp was mint, however I wasn't sure about the layout, it was like a dirty rabbit warren, I got stuck into corners with the wrong people unable to escape. I shall be returning to master the dynamic and work out the best place to stand to avoid the bottle neck.

What better way to recover than a dip in the Lido for afters, it was bloody freezing, well worth the visit.

London Fields Lido Circa 1950

Friday, 18 June 2010

London Calls 30

London Calling 1980 a homage to Elvis Presley's 1956 debut album

Last night I found myself unexpectedly on Redchurch Street, ambling past the Thursday night gallery parties on route to one of my own. The launch of London Calling, 30 leading artists were asked to reinterpret the album cover for the iconic LP 'London Calling' by The Clash. The work on display was at the beginning of its journey around the globe, eventualy due to returning home for a charity auction hosted by Christies. Funds raised will provide aid to the Ray Lowry Foundation set up by Ray's son Sam et al in 2009 a year after his father passed away. Ray Lowry was a notable figure in the punk movement, a practising artist with a flair for satirical cartoons, which appeared in Punch, Oz and NME. The other section features work by Ray himself, sketches and paintings mostly, all for sale, notably at a very reasonable price. The artwork forms part of a retrospective shown at the Salford (Ray's hometown) Gallery and Museum last year. The reinterpretations varied in interest and effort, Christopher Agnew, Sam Jackson, Matt Carroll and Rob Welsh. I was lucky enough to be allowed into the press/buyers house before the masses arrived, you couldn't really get to the pictures after that, the place was jam packed just as every good opening should be.

Christopher Agnew

John Squire of the Stone Roses

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Football Fever

The BNP flags hanging from windows and cars indicate a sporting event is in full swing, it's the World Cup! With that in mind I would like to draw attention to projects of a football nature. My friend has just returned from a rather gruelling tour of Europe and Africa filming Edgar Davids and various other football peeps. You can check out the fancy footwork below, for more follow the link.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Maiden Voyage

Noah and I first met on the floor of trailer trash a now de-funct east London nightspot where the gays, straights and discerning fashion folk would come together and have a moderately unpretentious dance off. Space was limited (the club was usually heaving) so if you wanted to dance you had to really mean it. Noah's Lamé shoulder pads shone out to me like beacons complete with tractor beams, our eyes locked and as we shimmied in sync, friendship bloomed.

Noah is the proprietor of Maiden, a shop born out of the recession, off the back of redundancy. It sits unsuspectingly just opposite the old T buildings (now Pizza East) on Shoreditch High Street. Clientale have been slowly building, returning after each purchase for more of the quirky stuff, Miffy lights, solar powered royal highnesses, giant playing cards, Keith Haring wall transfers - they just can't get enough.

Maiden also stocks loads of thoroughly entertaining products, things you love to give and receive, novety cards, full english breakfasts on a plate, giant pencils, russian dolls, spacehoppers, gnomes, lucky cats etc. They have cool blue stripey walls and vintage books entitled 'Charles and Diana: The Royal Wedding Album', Whitney, the wonder years' as well as contemporary fashion and lifestyle titles.

Noah also sidelines as a member of Sandi Sirocco a pop act come eurodance troupe you can check out his work below.

Watch this space for an upcoming interview maiden maiden maiden maiden shop maiden shop sandi sirrocco maiden maide maiden shop maiden shop sandi sirroco

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Boom Boom, Bang Bang, Yes Please!

Tonight I shall be slinking along to Boom Boom a mighty fine cabaret evening, in the plush settings of a converted Turkish Baths. The evening draws an attractive costume conscious crowd yet without the snobbery of similar nights. This all encompassing event provides entertainment and dancing until way past Cinderella's bedtime. The Bathhouse is located within the grounds of an old church, and entered through a rather aesthetically pleasing tiled frontage; inside you are led downstairs into the main ballroom/stage area with dining to the rear. Alas Miss Kitty Bang Bang, one of London's most talented burlesque stars isn't performing this evening, there is however a bulging line-up to enthral the senses.

The delighful Vicky butterfly in full flutter

The ravishing Kitty Bang Bang

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Behind Closed Doors - Subterranean Unearthed

Graphic artist and videographer Matthew Barton brings us his next instalment of explorative installation this Saturday at Shunt. Aptly set in the bowel of London Bridge, close to London Dungeons, the show examines the dynamics of abandoned spaces. Video images beam out into the darkness providing a glimpse into the subterranean underworld of London; it's metal heartbeat providing audio stimulation. Our eyes wander deep into forgotten shafts, tunnels and walkways, unearthing engineering, steel, cable presenting the belly of the beast. The work is a collaboration between Luke Harris and Matthew Barton as part of a showcase for Goldsmiths Electronic Music Studio and forms part of a wider night of music, interactive performance and art.

Counter A T T A C K

In the bailiwick of Hackney down an inconspicuous street sits a frontage framed by a selection of trendy bicycles (except mine that is, I compensate by lifting it higher and d-locking the dishevelled hybrid to the skinnier part of the lamp post).  It's dark, the costcutter next door is open, yet no one is nipping in to get cheap take-outs or lingering on the curb to consume cans with wallet saving grace. Instead they congregate inside The Counter where the atmosphere is buzzing, not a manic Friday night neurosis, just an energy of connectivity, perhaps the earlier glass white is staring to take effect. Staff and customers are bustling around efficiently, it's hard to differentiate between the two. Antipoedean tones greet me to explain they have run out of glasses and wine, quite imperative to the nights lubrication, I note with a fixed patience. Reassurances and relaxed smiles inform me that replacements are on there way. We order, £15 for a bottle seems a few pounds over the odds for a house white in East London, however, they stayed open later than usual so we don't quibble. The food smells amazing and the BBQ has already bore it's fruits, my stomach awakens and makes its demands. The fussy vegetarian is catered for, hastily furnished with a burger constructed of haloumi, aubergine, mushroom, salad and an optimum dose of relish, I munch away contently as my stomach purrs. We sit on a bench by the large sliced canister in the rear courtyard to warm ourselves as the contents roar. Our conversation is complimented by the hip hop soundsystem playing in the background. The ambience is set to good times and the wine and food flow effortlessly as the evening washes into the night.

I plan to return, perhaps during the warm light of a sunny day, to eat again and settle my mind as to whether the gem I stumbled upon in a drunken haze was as good as my memory serves.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Spectacle opens at the Smokehouse Gallery

Thursday night saw the launch of Spectacle, a group show featuring eight contemporary artists working with photography, mark making and installation. The show carries a loose theme, which plays on the conception of archetype both modern and traditional. Rosie Emerson's staged photographs explore the goddess, featuring less-convential subject matter shot in a fashion photography style.  There is an endearing realness to her modern day heroine, strong female performers and characters shine from within. Rosie has made waves within the art world following on from a high profile commision for P&O. A personal favourite were the 'rescued' images from Kingston Fine Art Lecturer Andrea Stokes taken from a victorian peep show machine, her engaging black and white images display a plethora of ladies in a varing state of undress (and demeanour). Other artists works appearing are Wen Wu, Mercedes Baliarda, Nick Fox, Michael Anthony Jones, Kirstie Macleod and Casey Mckee.

Wen Wu poses for a photograph in front of her work.

Neatly tucked away, Forman's Smokehouse Gallery is a rather dapper looking piece of architecture, designed by Phil Hunt who sought inspiration from the salmon smoked therein.  With pink and blue facade and white beamed interior, it was the perfect backdrop for such an event. Further complemented by a large and acommodating roof terrace, with Astro turf lawn and views over the watershed and adjacent olympic village, a splendid setting for a summers evening.

Kirstie Macleod provides a captivating live performance in a magnificent fairytale skirt and black body paint, fastidiously writing the words of conversations overheard.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Tea and Shopping at Beyond Retro

After Saturdays productive foraging through the rails of Beyond Retro, I returned back east armed with a fringed cutesy tee, two pairs of denim shorts, a pair of individual jeans and a pair of new line stripy leggings, not bad I thought. Beneficial later when I came off my bike, if it wasn't for those super strong jeans - I would have probably sustained more damage to my knees - fortunately the jeans have come out almost unscathed too. With that in mind I plan to attempt a return visit tomorrow, the lure of tea and cake is too much to pass by. That and the constant desire to increase ones accoutrements.

Friday, 4 June 2010

The shifting times of London Fields

Perhaps I'm tempting fate by blogging about it, yet with the oversaturation of London Fields I find myself looking further afield for unspoilt fun and creative inspiration. My return to the vibrancy of East London was complimented initially by the massive bonus that comes from being beside a park - one which has provided me with many happy memories. That said, I have hardly spent any time on the green grass beside my home, it's not as I remember, it feels evermore overpopulated than it was; bulging with try hard hipsters. Perhaps my time away has forced me to grow up a little, maybe a combination of the two. During my ten month absence the desire to be 'seen' in London fields appears to have spread further than Hackney, it now pulls in people from across London and has become part of the tourist route. Whilst breakfasting at La Bouche on Broadway last Saturday, I tried with vigor to consumed my artichoke baguette as discreetly as possible masking the crumbs as they fell from my mouth. It was difficult to know where to look as photographers documented everything in sight. The gradual influx of tourists and hipster seekers may be a positive thing - the market is now expanding round the corner into the local playground, thus providing extra income to the local school, bonus. Yet, as I wander to the far end, near the canal, I note the-out-of-character stalls dishing up trashy MSG ridden food - the air is polluted with the smell of obesity -quality has given way to commercialism. I question whether the little piece of Farmers Market serving honest albeit pricey treats on my doorstep is in danger of turning into dilluted camden market style offering of capitalism. Another indicator of the shift in trend is the The Dove pub which now operates a toilet token system, signs have appeared outside the Pub on the Park in a bid to deter toilet users. Where will those caught short go? Add to that the question of damage to the surroundings from the sheer influx of people, the melting pot is starting to look as dirty as dish water. Perhaps you've caught me on a bad day and my opinions might change, but in the meantime I'll be heading over to the nearby Victoria Park, with it's vast expanse of fields, water and cute lakeside pavillion there are many places to escape the madding weekend crowds and there camera glares.