Thursday, 26 April 2012


Pop-up. That's what it is IN right now in London. Somebody even invented a random Pop-up event generator that must be somewhere there online.

Temporary stuff. Because limited edition is THE thing to be right now. Sometimes it is a justification for overpriced goods or booze. In occasions, it gets originated from brilliant ideas, and in other ocassions is a way of masking more and more high street franchises dressed trendy.

I remember how, a bit before Christmas, the begining of Bethnal Green Road, junction with Shoreditch High Street was the place to be for the dodgiest bums selling car-boot sale style, or, better called unsellable crap. Giving the impression of the non-glamorous corner of hip Brick Lane Market, it suddenly disappeared one day, taken over by a bunch of upcycled shipping containers painted in black highlighting the temporary status of the new established Pop-up mile.

One cold morning, I found myself in the place. Adventurous me, I was hoping to find a few quirky presents outside the ordinary  typical stuff, to gift my loved ones. To my surprise, I could only find that that great idea, turned out to be a huge disappointment.

Yes, Puma was one of the shops.

There was a Pie and Mash shop too. Pies were alright, but franchise.

And turns out that what they once called Boxpark, the so-called first Pop-up shopping Mall, is still part of that same corner and looks like it's there to stay.

But anyways. Here I am today. A bit underdressed for the occasion, surrounded by black leather, tattoos and elaborated pin-up hairdos, covering myself from the umpleasant rain that still cannot get rid of the hosepipe ban. Another pop-up store promoting an American rum with the name of a famous tattooist pioneer. According to one of the PRs, the place just opened 4 days ago. In a very good location next to Soho Square, they found the venue all painted in white from top to bottom.  I look around and the aged wooden floors looked like they had seen Victorian times. A floor that now suggests that this could have been a tattoo parlour for years, but in reality, it is a place that probably a week ago was still smelling like new wood varnish and paint. Put it is a Pop-up thing, and in the land of the arts and crafts, making somethig look like another thing is everyday's homework, and they did it well.

That's the magic about temporary things. Relative low investment, not very compromising contractual agreements with letting agents, high priced booze and good revenue. Everyboy is happy. -"I attended an exclusive event and won't happen again", some would say. We all love EXCLUSIVE, don't we? Come after June and this night pub, coffee-place slash t-shirt shop during the day will most probably be converted into a high-end permanent cosmetic centre by July and nobody will be able to tell what happened here before.

But anyways. Sitting in the floor, like waiting for a school play to start, and from the front, an innocent looking ginger girl appears and the rest of the band suddenly jumps into little stage and the gig commences. A short 20 min performance with a mix of ska and punk happened with a loud main singer, a sweet looking guitar player and a smiley 50s hairdo drummer with access to a bell. Pop-up performance indeed. Now, it looks like nothing happened. The band crew has now blended into the pub crowd, like part of the spectators.

But hey, I just came here to see Dirty beaches. And I really liked it. Alex Zhang Huntai, a taiwanese-born Canadian, that formed a unipersonal DYI band as a necessity. Currently, as success progress by his side, now has the luxury of affording a bandmate, a guitar player and what it looks like a good buddy, to help him out. Melancholy looking guy he is indeed. He was greeted by one guy with an infinite hug to the sound his signature pre-recorded base music, as he descended from the stage. That's what I call love.

And it all started as an innocent tweet. It is all about the social networks nowdays, isn't it?

But that's another story.

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