Monday, 28 May 2012

Chicken or egg

A while ago, while browsing around my sources of information to organise something fun to do, I came across a small tiny exhibition in a very unusual place.

I must point than I am writing this more than 1700 km away from the actual place, in the National rail equivalent service from my hometown. International commuting they call it. That's how I roll. In the air conditioned carriage, I am seating in one of those foldable seats, just in front of a 4 seater. There are two ladies seating, and from my long spy experience, I would say that they are mother and daughter. The mother has the very usual blonde highlights so typical from upper-middle class mums in the 90s and still wearing a very conservative outfit. In front, her daughter, natural brunette like most of us in here, and carrying some sort of documments, folders etc. Considering my current destination, I would say they are going to stop at my own destination, place for a well known university, an presumably she's going to ask for information about the degrees and all that jazz.

However, my point was other. As soon as I set a foot on the carriage, both their heads turned violently towards me and I felt more scanned than a bad boy in a Terminator's film. Ok, I was probably not wearing the most classic pair of trousers, as they are navy blue with white polka dots, but their disturbed faces and careless looks without hiding it, is what bugged me. And suddenly I reminded myself why I like London.

While I was being assessed by the judgemental mom and daughter, a couple of 50-something ladies were having a very loud conversation in the seats beside me. A loud chat that involved words such as knickers, neighbours and jobless friends. That's the moment I decided to evade myself from what I was witnessing and focus on the street art I had seen a couple of weeks ago.

Going back to the exhibition, I came up with a street art related exhibition, that most probably caught my eye as it mentioned the word 'Banksy'. I know, i know, it feels like is totally overrated and overdone lately, everybody thinks he's a sellout and stuff but still, the mystery around him makes me constantly curious about his new pieces. Taking a closer look at the description of the exhibition, I realised that in reality it was not about him, but about his allegeded source of inspiration.

Blek le Rat. French graffiti artist who's carrier started more than 20 years ago when Banksy was still probably fresh and innocent. Alleged pioneer on the use of stencils and black and white paint. Blek has claimed a number of times to be the one and only stencil pioneer and has blamed Banksy for copying his signature black rat (and now that I look at it I am wondering, isn't Blek's rat a bit chubby?)

As soon as I saw the chubby rat painted on the walls I remembere the last rat Banksy painted. It seemed much more real, healthier and hands on.
('If graffiti changed anything it would be illegal', famous Banksy's rat piece near the BT Tower in Warren Street)

The exhibition has held in a very unusual place. I did not realised of how odd it was until I was actually there. I googled the adress to discover that it was in the centre of Mayfair, in the famous New Bond street, next to High End brands and on the same side of the road as the recently opened Victoria's Secret. In a tiny door, disguised between shops of fine tailored shirts and leather handbags, a stencil of Einstein claiming that 'Love is the answer' is what hinted me of the odd location of the Opera Gallery.

As per entering an exclusive boutique of the area, I was welcomed by a very friendly security guy who briefed me about the exhibition, how it had just been opened that morning, with impressive queues of people waiting at the entrance (see review of the launch day). With a handful of visitors at the time in popped in, I carefully stood in front of each piece. Hesitant of taking graphical evidence of my visit, I asked my newfound friend about the photography policy, to reassure me that there was no problem at all.

(Monalisa gone gangsta)

All the pieces were framed, unlike Banksy's, which gave me the impression to be a more commercial type of 'street art' (although Banksy's pieces have been highly priced and sold in numerous art galleries around the world) that although they had a message to transmit, the message itself felt sort of ironic. Social protest exhibited in the wealthiest neighbourhood of the city?

For some reason, apart from the undesirable framing, the background of all the stencils had some sort of colourful abstract landscape that confused me even more. I found a couple of rats sprayed around the tiny gallery, but in spite of being pioneer rats, they felt bland and meaningless.

At the back of the gallery, there was a pn unexpicable cheesy heart by Damien Hirst to add to the oddness and in one corner, colourful skull. There was a secret floor underneath apparently just available for exclusive guests, VIPs or proper buyers (although all the rest of the pieces were also on sale). And now that I am thinking, I am pretty sure that Xavier Prou (Blek) was walking around supervising and chatting with the visitors.

It is weird how recently I had lost my faith in Bansky, I regained it again after contemplating Blek's exhibition. I appreciated his innovation on the use the stencil, but let's face it: they guy from Bristol feels much more compromised, I feel his message is much stronger, and although his latest piece brings confronting opinions, I think it is one of his best lately.

'I painted this on the side of Poundland in North London. A shop which sells cheap jubilee merchandise, is located on the route of the Olympic torch relay and was caught using sweatshop labour two years ago. But I only discovered any of this afterwards - I just thought it was a nice coloured wall'. (Banksy dixit)

As I arrived at the station, I stood up, making the foldable seat to return to its natural position, making a strong noise. The two other chatty ladies sweared incredibly loud (and ridiculously rude) to expess their shock after the unexpected sound. The equivalent of F***!!!! WHAT THE F***!! invaded the carriage leaving them in shame.

The best thing is that I was right. Mother and daughter got off where I predicted.

I still think I should be a spy. But that's another story.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012


Last Friday I decided to me super productive and do as much as I could take advantage of the half day of work. With all LUL on my side, I managed to swim to Shoreditch High Street on my first stop with out any hassle. I walked towards the famous Tea Building, just in the corner of Shoreditch High Street with Bethnal Green Road.

It is funny how after sort of criticizing the Boxpark for being so-called Pop-up mall but not really because it has been there already for more than 6 months, I have visited the site more often that I would expect to. Must admit, is not that bad really, and just by forgetting about the presence of the ordinary shops, the rest of the containers ‘contain’ a few good quirky shops. And, let’s be honest, that corner of Shoreditch High Street is not as dodgy as it used to be and alternative food & coffee places are always welcome around that area.

Actually a couple of days ago, when it looked like there was a glimpse of spring (well, basically, a couple of degrees more and sometimes sunshine when the clouds didn’t ruin it all), my friend R and I ended up again in Boxpark (good old BP), in search for something that looked like a terrace facing the sun. Because, just as an observation and fun fact, a lot of the terraces in London are facing the wrong side, so no sun. No point. So yeah, sitting down, drinking a slightly bitter coffee on the upper deck, we tried to enjoy the leftovers of the sunshine as the Sun was literally playing hide’n’seek behind the clouds. The previous clients sitting in the wooden benches had drunk a couple of beers that turned out to be so local that they were actually brewed in the street round the corner. Apparently ‘Shoreditch Blonde’ is brewed near Cambridge Heath (Hackney) and I just learnt about it.

Following with funny names of beers, I also came across Meantime, also brewed locally in London (Greenwich, actually), and which name suggested me to be as inappropriate as ‘The halfway house Pub (!!!) (on Seven Sisters Road. Don't go)’ or ‘The Breakout Cafe’ (for being inappropriately near Pentoville Prison). For some reason, the label suggested more an organic fruity juice more than a lager, but the amber colour bottle glass told the opposite. While R and I discussed about the percentage of traces of alcohol in Fentiman’s soft drinks for being fermented products, the sun finally hid in the horizon leaving us shivering and ready to go home. Nice try though for a hint of spring.


But as I was talking about my last Friday, I managed to find the entrance to the gallery on the side of Bethnal Green Road. A little entrance with a glass door, with letters engraved in light grey announcing the name of the gallery: Hales Gallery. I bumped into the door. It was locked. But I rang the bell, and the glass door opened for me to enter the narrow corridor exhibiting a few pieces of the artist.

From the end of the corridor, a member of the staff of the gallery appeared to greet me and he disappeared again. I was alone there and there was absolute silence.

I kept walking entertained, observing the pieces, until the white corridor led me into a room, the big room where the exhibition was held.

It is funny how I got into this place. When I was a couple of weeks visiting Cityzen Kane’s exhibition at Richmix, just at the entrance, where all the fliers are placed for grabs, I came across some sort of newspaper. I looked closer, and it really was a couple of pages of what it looked like numbers and figured from shares, financial stuff, with different graphs and pictures digitally printed on top of them. I kept it. A week later, I think having a coffee with some friends at Café 1001 in Brick Lane, I came across the same paper sheet and reviewed it again. This time I observed it carefully and found a name, an author, a website and a location. Turns out it had a purpose; it was a flier for this exhibition at the Tea.

I kept the flier again and jotted down in my notebook the details of the exhibition as a reminder to visit it as soon as I had the opportunity.

The author Kenard Phillips and the title: Occupy Everything.

And there I was on Friday, in that white room. Filled with a very strong political message against the System, against Capitalism. All of a sudden the paper flier made sense.

It was all very consistent. All the pieces had as a base financial newspapers, to symbolize the Capitalism, the System, the Power, the Control, and on top of it, the artist printed what appropriate: inequality, unfairness, statistics…

His signature piece is the face of the current Prime Minister David Cameron, in which he ripped the centre to fill it with different landmarks, situations and stills that symbolised the current problems of the society. One of the main walls contained dozens of copies of the PM face as a big display. A big version of the piece reined the centre of the room. It was one of the banners used as a protest in a few of the recent demonstrations against the Cuts. What’s inside the PMs head? Tenners, numbers, riots, derelict buildings, closed shops…


Also used in a few demonstrations, as it could be seen from the columns found on newspapers, that actually included stills from people holding his pieces, also featured his other signature piece: giant 1 pence coins used as a protest symbol.

In the same format of the flier that I found initially, more financial figures pages printed with images of sweatshops, hunger, misery, poverty... It was the contrast and irony of having both together what made it pieces great. At the same time the artist also wanted to portrait some kind of reuse message, using actual newspaper sheets to communicate his message.

Almost at the exit of the room, there were two voting booths with a list of what presumably is the list of the richest and most powerful men on the system. CEOs, Executive Chiefs and big fishes in general, along with the company they work for. Who would you vote to, perhaps?


Full of thoughts and happy to have made it into the exhibition, I saved the gallery and the author in my favourite’s list and headed back to the tube.

Just before the exit of the gallery, I came across this canvas:


And for a second I thought: I should.

Too bad I am not very creative.

But that really, is another story.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


Leaving aside arty exhibitions, guilty pleasures and Sunday branches at my local coffee shop, I'm back again in to my good old train.

Rushing my way again to my tube station, I checked before hand the status of the underground network. As usual, Jubilee Line had delays (surprised anybody?) and my friend misery, I mean Northern was disrupted too. Must admit I did not make it to my usual 0701 Victoria Line, but waited for the rest, as I still have plenty of time to make it anyways.

0705 and Vicky was still on its way. By the time we got in, I rushed inside the carriage and occupied the only seat left available. However, as a H1N1 virus, faulty trains at Green Park in Jubilee Line spreaded vigorously until making Victoria Line fall ill. The sky blue tube line run coughing on each station until painfully reaching Oxford Circus 12 minutes late. By the time I boarded Bakerloo, I was timing carefully the time into each station and mentally writing the warning text to my boss about me not making it into my usual train and subsequently, being late.

Arriving at Waterloo, I engineered the perfect way to hold my ever-opening handbag and secure by lunch bag to have a consistent and safe grip of my belonging before running the 100 m final. Tickets for everybody on the station! There I was, painfully breathless climbing the escalator to win the gold medal to reach 1 minute before the departure but missing the Wednesday freebie (some sort of wholegrain hypercaloric biscuit).

Running like there is no tomorrow, made it in to the barriers and queue behind the 3 or 4, also delayed, fellow passengers, the last fellow let me in first with unexpected chivalry, but I just managed to say a quiet 'thanks' with out even looking back.

Like a bull running after the red cape, the closest available seat was on a table seat, already semi occupied by the belongings of a semi regular to the train. Semi-agreeing, and not fully content, he displaced his suitcase to the floor leaving space for me. After taking a few minutes to regulate my heart-rate and lower the panting, I sat down and made sure I was all in one peace. Packed between the bloke, a suitcase in front and the train, I barely had space to take my jacket off and recover a healthy body temperature. To give me a bit more space, I temporarily placed my bag under by seat, on the side, while I was cluttered having me breakfast. Two seconds after, the guy behind was poking me on the back: 'Excuse me, would you mind taking youe bag from there? I don't have space for my legs'. Eyes wide open, as the guy was not even tall, I resigned myself and followed his instructions to put the bag again on my lap for again, restricting any kind of movement due to the lack of space.

Still sort of grumpy, the guy on my side kept working in his laptop, famously protected by a privacy screen that did not allow me to sneak into what kind of business was he working in. Nevertheless, he didn't miss the opportunity to sneak into my phone or my little notebook at each opportunity he had. Oh well.

The lady sitting in front of me, that was wearing a jacket matching my shoes and who's suitcase also did not leave me any room for my legs (but I did not complaint about it), had one of those chunky files with at least 500 hundred pages full of information and notes. At first glance, by the format of the text, my first thought was that she was film-related. She was making notes in something that looked like a script, a dialogue with different characters, printed in recycled paper. But it was that specific detail, the recycled paper what gave me the clue to realise that THAT was not a film script and she was not the director, the translator nor the adaptor. That was office paper. Paper from somewhere that uses humongous amounts of paper. What it really was: an interrogatory transcription.

And she turned the page.


And I read a couple of names.

And identified some famour emblems.

And then it was when I stopped reading as for the fear of knowing some information would involve me in some sort of dodgy case of those who appear on front pages.

I went back to my morning tweets and by the time I was self-erasing all the info that I had just read, I managed to eat my breakfast, get out of the cluttered space to chuck the rubbish in the bin. While coming back, my fellow commuter Subject I offers me a seat besides him as he witnessed my discomfort in my actual seat. 'No, thanks! I'm alright' I replied politely.

By the time I returned to my seat, without realising, forty minutes had gone by and I made it into my station.

Today I did not have to run.

Now I get why City workers wear sneakers with the suit.

But that's another story.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Clap clap clap

6 Burlington Gardens, just in front of the infamous American retailer that according to Wikipedia, focuses on casual wear for consumers aged 18 to 22, and sells clothes in a retail space that would normally be confused with a nightclub and does not even require a name sign on the entrance. A shop that people actually queue to enter. But that's not the point. 6 Burlington Gardens is the place we all girls met to enjoy a very girly exhibition about leather, bags and expensive items, all at the same time. Ladies paradise for a couple of hours, located in one of the most exclusive areas of the city, that, in case needs to refresh the memory, is surrounded by Savile Road and Old Bond Street. 

Advertised in full colour prints on the free distribution mags and papers daily, and of barely 15 days of duration, the cost of the entry was zero (FREE!!) and the excitement inside priceless, (well, as priceless as the bags inside). 

Leather Forever. An exhibition about the famous and legendary Parisian fashion brand Hermes. To accompany the terrible name of the exhibition, that I found extremely obvious and naff, a greco-roman type of sculpture in immaculate white, standing by the stairs, had been carefully accessorised with a (also white) Kelly bag to give more 'ambiance' to the exhibition. Once in the floor, a massive and again, TACKY as hell rhino sculpture welcomed us to the entrance.

(said ostrich leather Rhino at the entrance of the Hermes' flagship in Paris -!!!-)

'You know the rules girls, right? No photos and no touching, only in the first room' said the security guard as we anxiously approached the door. Funnily enough, the fact that the warning about touching had just been made, made all of us wanting to touch every single item of the exhibition. I guess it worked just as a very clear case of reverse psychology: Don't touch - I want to touch.  

Disappointed, camera on our bags, we approached the beginning of the show. A display of, by the way, touchable skins were available for us to rejoice in the world of the leather. Thick, thin, red, green, ostrich, calf skin, crocodile, snake and probably some illegal animals. First contact with the very expensive brand of legendary bags and we already started to visualise our ideal model in some of those touchable skins. 

The next room, called the artisan's studio held the benches of two bag artisans and their respective tools to construct the bags. At first glance, I felt sorry for the ladies who were displayed by loads of curious females, similar to an animal in a circus. Nevertheless, the feeling of animal exploitation faded away once fluid conversations started bilaterally between spectators and the artisans. Very well explained details of the crafts and procedures of the construction, materials, tricks and all sorts were disclosed by the very amicable ladies. The game was clear: try to display the careful care and craftsmanship that require each bag, to possibly try to justify a little bit the elevated price of them. Affordable or not (definitely not affordable at all), the point was made and newfound respect for those bags grew after admiring the creation of one of them. 

Next to the benches, a display of different models of handbags hanging out from ropes and pulleys started to display and cause dispute of which one to chose in case of ever having a very caring husband able to treat us with one of those. 
While I was admiring a green Constance handbag and we were deciding weather it could be convenient or not because of its size, the same warning security guy came around, first to tell us off for approaching the bags too much, and then to joke about how the bags were 'green', 'blue' or 'red' (it was orange). 

Clear case colour blindness, what was at first a very serious bouncer, turned out to be a chatty and sympathetic bloke that ended up following us to every single room of the exhibition, still making jokes about the colours and simple shapes of the bags. Yes, that is a square bag.

Couple of rooms after, where we found knackered bags from 1850's and an array of leathery stationary, we entered an extraordinarily dark room which housed the trick of the deal: can you differentiate a Birkin from a Kelly? Well, just when we all believed to be previously educated on the brand, as general knowledge proved by Vogue and Sex and the City, our beliefs crumbled while facing a quite generous display of both together. Ugly and beautiful, we needed one of the guides, handed by the 'funny' security guy, to finally figure out which was each, and realised that we were more confused than ever.

After the darkness, an strangely orange-lit room was set up to create a very Indiana Jones environment. Big trunks and suitcases and a long leather mackintosh was surrounded by a layer of fine beach sand. In the mood of the adventurous, we decided that the men holdall travel bags were also quite well made and that we wouldn't mind one those.

Leaving the fantasy of the sand dunes behind, we approached a very bright section. Its entrance was confusing, as it was basically a very thick layer of around half a meter of hanging leather fringes, leading to a long-haired white carpet and folded filter coffee paper on the walls(well, it wasn't, but it reminded me of it). As those hundreds of leather fringes were freely hanging from above and the fact that there was a (very tacky) coloured horse saddle, the scent of the room was quite leathery yet fishy, so we run away from it, even though we were tempted to stand barefoot on that fluffy carpet.

After a couple of rooms more in which to decided which bag to keep and playing games of guessing the year of the bag, we finally arrived to the last room, titled the 'Star Bags'. After reading the description at the anteroom, we prepared ourselves for what it was going to be the designs of the bags representatives of the United Kingdom. Being just a little corner, it consisted on a small marionette-like theatre custodied again by a guarding security guy. Probably tired of so many female admiring bags of different colours and shapes, he just stood there making sure we did not runaway with one of the pieces.

The curtain raises and an apple green, shiny snake-skin bag appears. Ok. Very obvious, Ireland. The curtain drops, and a subtle change of scenario occurs and suddenly Scotland gets unveiled: a model covered in a very obvious brown tartan. Nah, disappointing. Curtain raises again and a few miliseconds of silence happen. Unexpectedly, when fully unveiled and admired, Wales appears in its greatest splendour: the room comes to an agreement and a very loud and long 'AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW' resounds. Spontaneous clapping occurs and it is contagious to the rest of the spectators. After the appearance of the Welsh piece, the English burgundy tasted bland.

The crowd was happy, excited and they wanted more. The public screams 'encore', so they stay for more, a second round of the display. Again, another standing ovation for the Welsh, although the English survived in a well-diserved second place. 

Feeling poorer and more miserable than ever for not possessing of the very expensive bags from the french 'maroquinerier', we exited the building in search for some sort of soul food to ease our pain.

As still in the mood for France, we headed to Aubaine, located in the little Heddon St. Indifferent of the wind of the corner terrace, while sharing a carrot cake, a chocolate cake and a raspberry and pistachio tart, all our thoughts of possibly saving some money to someday, be able to afford a Birkin faded away, so we started debating about the possibility of subletting our rooms for the Olympics, which is more down to Earth and beneficial but really, also won't probably happen. 

Still, there is people that think it is not possible to enjoy London for free.

We even clapped!

But that's another story.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Made out of paper

Walking down Redchurch St, which by the way, is one of my favourites in the Shoreditch area, I found, close to a small gallery, probably in the corner with Ebor St, a pile of past issues of Our Bare Bones magazines, one of those independent and free papers / magazines that tend to have quite a good creative content.

For some reason, this issue really impressed me with quite a few of its pages.

One of the images showed a green landscape, with a snowed mountain, and the back of a person with a yellow t-shirt writing in the back: 'F*ck Ooooff'. Yes, five O's intertwined. It is probably one of the simplest ways of telling someone to F*ck off, but it was the fact that the O's from the phase were represented giving shape the Olympic Rings what made me understand it. Probably I am terribly wrong or the author did not intended it that way, but to me, it clearly showed a feeling of rejection towards the Games. The chaos, the hypocrisy, unfairness and all sorts that are involved on the negative side of the Olympics. Almost instantly, I thought about how the Mayor of London is heavily suggesting commuters to walk their way to work and avoid at all costs using the public transport to avoid overcrowding. In return, the feeling of rejection towards the system arises from the surface and momentaneously we all hate the idea of suffering them in Summer. And I loved it.

The next page that caught my attention was a two-page spread with bold, capital monochrome letters saying: LIFE'S A BEACH. SOME GET BURNT. Designed by Ross McDonald Russell Weekes, I am not sure if it was my lack of sun, and the fact that it was one of those days not necessarily joyful, that made me think that this was a very bold statement and again, I loved it. 

Continuing turning the pages, I came across Harry Malt's drawings. In these times of rejection towards the system and corporations, and times of going back to 'buy local' and support the community, his drawings really showed how Tesco could one day fully conquer the World. The worse thing is that, even though it made me laugh, it is sadly close to being true. 

However, the master piece in my opinion was the following article titled BANK in bold blackboard chalk style, black characters and text in Times New Roman, in two columns. A two-article written by Michael Smith, describing London's famous City distric, the financial core of the Country and a probably a big chunk of the World. I enjoyed every word of it. On the opposite side of the paper, there was a drawing from Stef from Reiswitz, that somehow perfectly reflected Michael's words, showing again, a monochrome London, cluttered with all the landmarks of the city, as described by him. Perfect combination. I cut it out and posted on my wall.

Bank, by Michael Smith
My bank is dwarfed by the towering financial edifices of the City of London, squeezed inbetween Lloyds, the Bank of England and the Stock Exchange. It is a tiny socialist bank with hardly any branches. It is the only bank that would have me. I am not allowed an overdraft and can only take out £200 a day by card; my landlady wants cash only (shady), so I have to go to my bank and get her rent out by hand. The conspiracy of circumstances relegating me to the outer wastes of the financial universe also compels me to wander into the singularity at its centre on the 19th day of every month.
It’s only a 30 minute walk from my council flat to the crucible of free market capitalism; I walk out of the security door of the concrete block, past the litter and the grubby window which is always open to the maddening sound of the man playing the noisy grand prix computer game every day instead of going to work.
Down Pitfeild Street, past a Georgian church and 1930s deco council blocks, a scruffy, pleasant, tree lined road with a local backwater feel; the off licence still has the giant hand-painted sign saying “CHEAP BOOZE” after all these years, stubbornly resisting the gentrification you notice more and more the further down you stroll, until you hit Old Street, a fashion catwalk that flows from the tube station to Hoxton Square: a gold lamé parade, kids with three haircuts at once, kids with no idea who they are. It’s laughable, this string of singular activity that acts as a border between local East End nowhereness and the heart of the financial universe. Old Street is like the subatomic srings described by nuclear physics: one dimensional, so to speak, a vector, vibrating with its particular frequency through the multi-dimensional space of the metropolis all around it.
This happens a lot in London, certain moods and energies thinly stretched out along one magnetic line of force – the gay street crosses over the members’ bar street in Soho, with hardly any interaction; Oxford St rushes by a block away, and may as well be in a different city.
Crossing Old St is passing through a membrane into an entirely different order. Breaching the edges of the Square Mile, heavy weather, gloomier forecasts, financial and meteorological; my head hurts, my sinuses ache, I worry about where the next paycheck will come from; a thousand financial isobars bear down on this square mile like the leaden anvil of cloud above it; the dead pressure bearing down on everything moulds the jowly physiognomy of these waxy faced, grey suited sea-bed inhabitants, catfish men of the mirky depths, choking in tight tie-collars; the only things missing are luminous storks off their foreheads, to light the way through the subterranean gloom…
Even the sound of the place – Lon Don – is a heavy, dull thud. Leadenhall, Castle Court, Pope’s Head Alley, the winding passages and ratruns round here induce the feeling of subterranean burrowing, the feeling of these ancient edifices bearing down on you, the feeling of being buried alive…
This is the singularity at the heart of the financial black hole, zero space and infinite gravity, space twisted up so tightly it bends back on itself, and even light can no longer escape this stormy London gloom.
Bank: only a city as mean and greedy as mine could call this black hole crush its centre. It’s taken me fifteen years of wandering past it to realise that’s even what it is; but on a map of the Square Mile you can see this fact at a glance – the eye of the storm is The Bank – all roads lead to it like the centre of a spiderweb.
A statue of Wellington on horseback stands at the centre of this crossroads – Wellington the guardian of our English liberties, of Anglo-Saxon free market capitalism; Lloyds, the Natwest Tower, the Gherkin, the full force of English capital clusters behind him, flanking and dwarfing him, the cumulative muscle of a nation of shopkeepers; the pediment on top of the columns of the Royal Exchange, like the grill of a Rolls-Royce, bears the inscription “The Earth Is The Lord’s, And The Fullness Thereof”. The Lord… I try to imagine what kind of a mad god could be the lord of this labyrinth: the eye in the dollar bill, the eye in the blinking pyramid of Canary Wharf downriver, the totem of some terrible and unseen hand…

But the funny thing about the story is that on the first read to the magazine, I was sitting down at Byron's terrace having lunch in Hoxton Square. The very friendly lady waitress, greeted us, and while jotting down our order, quickly asked me for the magazine as it clearly caught her attention. After giving her more information about where did I take it from and what was it about, she greedily looked at it, silently suggesting to give it to her as soon as I had read it. Again, funnily enough, I unconciously agreed to keep it for her after lunch. She finished her shift and ran away without saying anything. 

I kept the mag.

And my tea got cold after the second read.

But that's another story.  

Sunday, 13 May 2012


In the Era of Digital Information, computers and virtual life, written words are still powerful. People out there really want to send their message.

'5 Abbey Road'. This really doesn't need any explanation.

'Little Britain'. Well known street for the City of London. I just can't help but think about David Walliams, Matt Lucas and automatically say Yeah, but no, but yeah, but no...

'Diversion'. An innocent detour sign for roadworks is definitely funny for people who knows how speak Spanish. Diversion means 'Fun'. Irony, isn't it?

'Danger. Demolition work in progress. - I don't feel good'. An intense feel of melancholy and pity invaded me as soon as I saw this writing. At first I laughed at the sort of irony between both sentences. But then, I felt really sorry for the person who wrote it. I genuinely think he/she was feeling really sad.

'DIY Centre'. Near Hornsey Rd. Nothing special, I just liked the carefully displayed range of elbows and pipe fittings. Amusing.

'Moreton Street'. In English is not a very interesting name, but it certainly is in Spanish. 'Moreton' is the incorrect (but used) way of saying 'moraton' which means bruise. It is fun, I swear. 

'Lupus Street'. After years of watching House, and in all the episodes Lupus is the first option but never the final diagnosis, the fact that the disease is an actual street really made me laugh.

'The Sun Alway Shine When We Pour. (We don't serve Malibu)'. It was definitely both disturbing the fact that Always is misspelled and the fact that the warn you in advice about Malibu. What sort of place was it? Can't remember. Essex Road. 

'The 1/2 House'. Felt like Harry Potter's Platform 9 3/4. I think magic things happen there. Somewhere near Ennis Road.

'Door release'. Happy face. Inside Richmix. Not all have to be miserable.  

'Budget Britain take computer from Obama'. Bethnal Green Rd.

'Huh?'. On top of Urban Outfitters, Commercial St. Couldn't agree more. 

'Didn't get arrested'. Simple and true, although he might had at the end. Mobstr, where Redchurch St meets Ebor St.

'If you stare at this and stroke your chin you may appear intelligent and cultured'. At the back of the Sunday Up Market, in Brick Ln, close to Vhils' legendary carved portrait. Mobstr made his point, and I happened to capture a tourist in the perfect pose. 

'Coriander ruined my salad'. Probably the most brilliant sign up to date, and definitely my favourite. I absolutely dislike Coriander and hate the fact that everybody cooks with it. Parsley team.

'Just £5 per month will help preserve stickers in their own habitat'. Somewhere in Hanbury St. Silly, at least leave an email address. Wasn't planning to pay for it though. 

'Eleven and A Half'. Just to be clear, I don't live in 11 or 12 Fournier St. 

'Warning'. Although it is just a simple H&S warning on a heavy-duty truck, the picture itself is quite disturbing. 

'Mind the Gap'. Altought is all around the country, it is best known for being London's icon. Legendary. Daily reminder of the fear of dropping a shoe or your phone on your day to work.

'Bed only'. Not london by anyways. What really caught my attention is that this tiny independent B&B , who's owner made a very botched job by covering the 'Breakfast' bit with a piece of paper. Cheap cheap cheap. 

'To the river'. Sounded to me like somebody got absolutely tired to giving directions to tourists in Cambridge so decided to make life easier for everybody by writing it on the wall.

'I can feel your smile'. Sort of flattering and self-indulgent at the same time. The worse thing is that even though for a second you thought that was written for you, in reality, it wasn't. Bummer. 

'16 pints today, please'. Found at Cambridge University, close to the Materials Department. Just saying...