A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: kidd1200

Auckland

What’s crack’n people? It’s been almost a year since my last adventure. The time is finally ripe for another instalment in this blog. Over the year, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see that an audience beyond family and friends has been perusing my rambles, I’m not sure if it is being viewed as an actual tool for ideas when travelling to parts unknown, if that’s the case, hopefully in amongst the strangeness something useful has been gleaned. With that in mind, I’ll try and include some more pertinent information on locales and the like.

Auckland is a sprawling city, with problems not unlike many parts of the world. A lack of investment in critical infrastructure necessary for a growing population. An increasingly common refrain from many of us in our developed worlds is that governments seem to be reactionary and not well equipped to forward planning. So, relying on public transport to get to our base of operations, would have been frustrating, but not impossible.
Our headquarters for the week was in a sleepy hamlet near Orewa. For your sake and mine, I will provide a helpful pronunciation guide for some critical place names. As a child, I did have a speech impediment, that I would argue still rears its head on occasions. My guide probably should be ignored.

If I tell you where Emma lives, you all might move there and ruin its peaceful vibe. Orewa (oar-ree-bar) is a delightful place with the whole area between the east and west coasts seemingly ripped right from the pages of Footrot Flats. On our many excursions, north, northwest, west, north-north west and left at that junction, I expected to see the Dog running down the undulating valleys with an upturned water-tank attached to his collar.

Speaking of collars, here is a fancy camouflage harness attached to an awesome pup, Jasper, my host and hostesses young hound.

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He did accompany us on some excursions, most notably when we visited Emma’s parents place, running riot with a collection of hounds both bigger and hairier then him. The highlight, amongst many, was E’s mum’s long heralded Yorkshire puddings. The logic of having a full roast with all the trimmings in summer was questioned, but thankfully not vetoed. It was with much delight that I savoured every morsel of that meal. Seriously, probably the best roast I have had in my life. I will be back. The copious amounts of wine that I drank that night left me a little dazed the next day, but, with prescient foresight a date with ribs was on the schedule.

Along the Hibiscus Coast Highway in downtown Orewa is a joint called Coast, which once a month does all you can eat ribs on a Wednesday. This is well worth the visit if you get the chance. I mean, Ribs. That you can keep eating. Until you can’t eat any more. Ribs…is there nothing sweater in the animal world than a plentiful portion of portly Porcine protrusions? You can drink as well and you should, but be responsible. New Zealand is one of the best places in the world, I think, to drink beer. There is so much craft beer been brewed, that you need to hop to it, if you want experience it all. That was a lame beer pun. Hop-fully you got it.

Much of the adventures were based on places to drink. The day we headed across to Muriwai (moo-ee-why) beach to check out the Gannett colony, the temperature was in the mid-high 20’s (Celsius) and we were well parched at the end of it. Incidentally, it also is a great place to visit, free as well, and the cacophony of cascading cries from the hatchlings was deafening. It also so smells. If you’ve ever been to a slum with no irrigation, you’ll understand why. Here’s a few gratuitous photos.

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To quench our thirst, we stopped off at another awesome brew house called Sawmill Brewery (saw-mill) in Matakana (mat-a-kaaa-nah). Actually, it may have been on a different day, when we went up the coast to look at views of the water and other such vistas. No mata. Again, another awesome place for good food and even better beer. Check it out. At some stage we went to The Riverhead, probably on Gannett visiting day because it makes more geographical sense and Puhoi Pub, both worth a stop as well.

A few team sports were played in the week or so I was over in Auckland, a pub crawl and attending Meatstock. The pub crawl was a surprise for one of the crew, who was misled into thinking we were heading to the Auckland Museum to attend a symposium on Archival techniques in digital libraries or some such silliness. Drinking beer was a much better option. We went to a few joints all with a fine selection of craft brews on tap, including; Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen, Brothers Beer, Birkenhead Brewing Company and Hallertau Brewery in Riverhead. This is a cracking joint with killer food and drinks, well worth getting any kind of transport you can find, even in the back of someone’s ute with three other people and a spilt drink.
Meatstock was an interesting day as well, kicking around the heaps of stalls (not as many as expected) with amateur backyard bbq afficienados trying to tempt the punters with mouth-watering slow braises and pork treats. This inaugural event has room to improve, but was a solid outing. Even the vegan protesters seemed in high spirits. They were protesting meat and its side effect of animal deaths. It wasn’t a bunch of dudes who dig meat protesting vegans. Which would be an interesting concept.

From a travel guide perspective, driving around the coasts north of Orewa is really pleasant and likewise the stretch of coast north of Muriwai is worth the drive. If the weathers right, there are a heap of places to go swimming and nice areas for nature walks. If you want some free places to hang around with views of the city, try Northhead and Mt Victoria.

Having a local contact when visiting a foreign city makes travelling a much more rewarding experience and even better when done at a slow pace with plenty of time for sleep-ins and hanging out time. Finally, a word of thanks to my hosts Emma and Carl, and their respective families, for allowing me to hang out and enjoy their company. It was a time full of fabulous food, frivolous fun, wondrous walks, scintillating scenery and bountiful beer brews. Both our nations have many commonalities, but what continues to strike me is that New Zealanders seem to be just a bit more relaxed about life in general. They are generally friendlier, still possessing that openness that seems to be disappearing in Australia. I can’t quiet put my finger on it. New Zealand still has a charm that we are beginning to lose. Hopefully, they hold onto it longer than we have.

Till next time.

And if your interested in some of the urban street art pictures from my other blog posts, I have a book of photos available as an e-book. Check it out.

http://au.blurb.com/ebooks/613670-street-treats

Posted by kidd1200 23:55 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

Wellington

Time to fly the friendly skies again. Destination Wellington, the capital of our closest neighbours, New Zealand. I hopped over last weekend for a bit of a reunion with some Vodkatrain comrades. Also, it was a final trip for those stalwarts of the street scene, the Chuck's, which will be laid to rest soon. They have met their replacements and have been seated next to each other, passing on stories and imbuing their spirit in a primal urban ritual.

A fairly straightforward flight, predictably there was a take-off, a few hours of high altitude cruising, followed by a landing. Wellington Airport is one of the more dramatic destinations to fly into. The landing strip is pleasantly nestled at the base of an embrace of hills, with half of it jutting out into Lyall Bay. This probably accentuates the windy conditions that have been well documented about the sleepy hamlet of Wellington. That is by no means a pejorative description. After our plane clumsily fluttered onto the runway, having been buffeted like the nostril hairs of a avian flu sufferer, the cabin steward announced "I don't need to tell you that we've safely landed, sorry about that ladies and gentleman, it was a bit rough...but I think we can agree that the pilot really nailed that landing!".

And there it was, the friendly, laidback humour that seems to be a shared hallmark of our national characters. If anything, Kiwis' have a more relaxed, overall chilled approach to life. The abundant, fertile, lush, verdant natural setting makes it a pretty sweet looking place. A few tallish buildings do their best to announce to the world that this is indeed a City, but, like Canberra, it's really only an administrative Capital. Again, not a pejorative! In fact, it seems to define itself as a bespoke, artisan sort of place. Some pretty cool little haunts. Having been worded up by Emma about Garage Projects, it was pretty neat to do a pit stop there on our way to an afternoon bbq for the Ride-on-Lawn Mower-World-Champion who was one half of my host. That probably didn't make sense, but I can't work out how to fix that sentence.

Anyway, Garage Projects is a craft brewery that was set up in an old Petrol Garage. Not sure where they got their name from. I can only assume they probably had a brainstorming session whilst listening to the 90's band Garbage and in a moment of dyslexic inspiration, figured that would be a winner. I'll include a photo below this paragraph to hold your attention. I did have quiet a lot of craft beers. A pretty industrious scene it appears to be. Also had Russia's finest export, Baltika, which, when purchased in a 1L can is akin to a Babushka doll of beer. That was honestly pretty horrible, but was done for sentimental reasons.

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As you can see, from the Projects façade, a bit of artful artistry is also a hallmark of the brand. Each of the brews, has distinctive artwork to accompany and evoke the spirit of the recipe. A strong concept, executed completely. Quite impressive. It also helps that at the end of the day it's just good beer.

I did take a few more happy snaps of some street art around the traps. My most favourite piece, which did prompt an unwitnessed happy dance, was from Phlegm. You may remember a couple of pieces from the London and a one in Cardiff that I also caught last year. Super styles. Here it is, plus a few more.

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It was a short happy trip, although I was in a haze from a remanent flu fever and was not at my most talky talky self. Managed to catch up with the goings on with Emma and her solid, welcoming, friendly crew (cheers for the hospitality), good to hear Mrs Fryer is doing well. Was super cool to see Sarah again, and Dan, although had trouble seeing him as he wasn't wearing high vis. Them's the breaks. I like Wellington, it has a good vibe. A small improvement, if I may be so bold to proffer. Maybe you should all switch off your pedestal fans, or stop pointing them out the window. When even the local birdlife have a bemused expression everytime they take flight, you can literally see the expression of their faces 'WTF?!'. I wouldn't be surprised if the avian central committee decide to migrate south to join their penguin cousins in Antarctica. Clearly, those penguins originally lived in Wellington, but got so fed up with the confounded winds blowing every which way in a confusing conflagration, that they decided to cast of the shackles of flight, and waddled to the ocean and swam south. Setting up a colony, claimed in New Zealand's name, they have been preparing for the rest of Wellington's Aves class to join them.

But I digress.

Perhaps it was the memory of Fix & Fogg's 'Smoke and Fire' handmade peanut butter that has been causing my mouth to salivate worse than Pavlov's dog, or, the giant mouth ulcer that had erupted in the far reaches of my mouth, either way, I have been living with a veritable cascade of secretions for the last week. It has left my mouth damper than a goblins cave in the Misty Mountains. Mastication has been a tormentous undertaking.

Everything tastes like blood, just not in a good way.

Till the next trip. May the winds ever blow in your favour.

p.s. I acknowledge that my recent illness has left me a little bird brained, but, some factual inaccuracies are deliberate.

Posted by kidd1200 15:30 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Melbourne

What! It's over?

Hah! Managed to clock up about 35,000 km. Probably should check that my air-vents are not buggered since I got a new battery.........hang on, think that might be someone else's life and troubles with their Cruze. For the record, my vents are dispelling the correct gas mixture, at a healthy temperature following my cruising around the world. Not quite around. Malaysian Airlines, in a what could be an unusual option for them these days, decided to fly directly to Kuala Lumpur and then Melbourne. Apologies if this is a little insensitive to anyone. There was a major dog leg, which probably explains the applause on landing, circumventing a flight path over Syria and Iraq, instead we flew south over Israel, then over Saudia Arabia before exiting the Arabian Peninsula over Oman. Apparently it was a 14hr flight. Having spent more time watching a plethora of Birch trees pass by, it was no big deal.

Malaysia. Bought back some fond memories. Especially when waiting at the departure gate for the next flight. The casual mix of cultures, relaxed atmosphere, bored disinterested security attendants, lack of an apparent system to passing security, it all works in a beautiful, casual, chaotic way. The appearance of numerous sari clothed Indian dadis (not sure if this plural works), who, when your gaze is averted by a squirrel you see out the corner of your eye before realizing that it was just that little bit of scum on your retina that habitually pops up just when you think you've seen the last of him and his microscopic ilk, manoeuver themselves in front of you as if Ganesh himself guided them through the ocean of bodies that many would simply see as a politely functioning cue, instead of an affront to their personal dignity and standing in the world populated by brash youngsters with more time on their side and a miniscule amount of good sense to know what to do with that precious gif compared to these elderly life creators.

Makes me want to go back.

With all trips, it's more about the people you meet. Be they new friends or old family. Again, this was true on this trip. There were some pretty spectacular natural sights. Iceland will be hard to beat. The Mongolian steppes. Austrian countryside out the window en route to Grunau Im Almtal. Crystal clear lakes in Norway. Some cities worked their magic on me as well. Krakow, Reykjavik and I think I started getting London. Cardiff I really liked for some reason. Not sure why. And those little suburbs or haunts that due to repeated visiting, you start to feel an affinity for, often due to the company. Grünerløkka fitted that bill and parts of Berlin. A little pub in Hampstead. Kicking round Munich and Stuttgart for hours searching for hidden treats and talking so much gibberish with Emma.

The four weeks in Cambridge and London were special for a multitude of reasons. Not for general consumption however. That's for me to hold onto.

This whole exercise may well prompt some change in direction. Hopefully. Given me lots to chew on and thanks to everyone who had some wise words for me along the way. You all helped. What and how remains to be seen! Which is the way the best stories begin, with a bit of an unfolding mystery. I may well just keep you posted. Feeling a bit reluctant to finish this up................I already wrote the ending to this post, so will take this opportunity to not say farewell. Instead, hope we catch up soon.

Amongst the many, many awesome nuggets of cool items that I got from my Cambridge five, was some information on Kim Philby. Well, the other good times and gifts were to be honest, more valuable, however, knowledge is never to be scoffed at. So J told me about his story. I did try and think of a way to tie it all together with some link to the Cambridge Five, but what I just wrote was the best I could manage and will not be used as a final, rambling, tenuous thought about my adventures. It will be the penultimate paragraph though, which is a critical one as it can be used in all sorts of ways. A nice lead in is hopefully how this one will have turned out. Not sure which wall I broke by describing how I am using structure in my writing. Definitely already broke the fourth wall. So this could be the fifth?

Things are always better when that old master, Father Time, has worked his relativity magic, the taste of that burger at Jack and Chans in St. Petersburg, the one in Krakow with an entire field of Jalapenos and a block of brie, the label off a bottle of China's finest pressed grape, your face and mine, amongst the many things. So instead of some street treats Melbourne style, I think its only fitting that this post ends on an image of the oft imitated, but never beaten Chuck Taylor All Star. This is my homage to the ad campaign made by you. Sweet street styling of another kind. These kicks are finally worn in. Think I'll keep them!

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Posted by kidd1200 19:34 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Cambridge

Credit where credits due.

More for my own reference I have started confirming the name of artists whose work I have seen. So let me just list last entry's authors. In no particular order. The picture with a partial paws of a weasel, which you can't see is by ROA, hope to get another bigger piece next foray into London. On that same photo, I noticed the hands peeling away the white sheet and giving the finger. Pretty sure that is some very old Banksy work. The little guys are from a Polish artist called Noriaki, who is crazy prolific.

The lady with the crazy colourful hair is from Olivier Roubieu. Interestingly all the black swirls in her hair each say London, except one which says 'Mr Shiz' his former pseudonym. I'm learning all these bits of information from various knowledgeable blogs that other people have. The research is pretty fun.

The big lettering is by EINE, Dr. King was by Paul don Smith and I have a few more from him of different people. Seen more work from Space Invader, Alice as mentioned last post. The work from Cardiff and Oslo, and this piece below, is by PHLEGM which also has the full piece from ROA on the left. Hope your enjoying their names!

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The owl work is by DSCREET, the piece with all the colourful smile monsters is by PEZ. I had taken a few shots of work by Jimmy C, here is one of them.

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Just thinking that when I get back and make a photobook/ scrapbook thing it will take quite awhile to cross reference all the works and properly attribute the works. So that covers all of last posts featured artists. What about now you ask? Well let us have some new treats. Try this for a start by Mr. Cenz.

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All the mushrooms around the place are done by Christian Nagal.

I'll get back to the props later. Should recount the last week, it has certainly been awhile since I dropped by and rambled. So to get the words flowing, might throw on some Led Zeppelin and Ramble On.

Quite a lot has been happening. The family went on a holiday to Amsterdam and Norway. I have found myself, on more than one occasion, back in the capital. Have been having some epic adventures. Went to a pop-up screening of A Nightmare Before Christmas down near Victoria Station. Was pretty tops, bit of a feed, comfortable chair with blanket and a few warming drinks. We all had headphones on so as not to disturb the neighbourhood, so kinda like a silent disco vibe. They even created fake snow for the exit, so that was certainly a magical way to finish. Managed to travers a fair section of the city, both above and below ground. You kind of realise how all the bits fit together when you walk upstairs. Every thing is closer than initially thought.

Even took a ride on a double decker bus, sitting up at the front of the top deck, from Camden across the Thames to Waterloo station. That was quite cool. Had a pretty massive grin. The destination at Waterloo station was the Leake Street tunnels, bit of a sanctioned graffiti space underneath the train line. A slightly undiscovered gem. Well not really undiscovered. But part of an alternative London tour. If your so inclined. What else in London? Well, eaten some food. And had many a pint of ale. Can't really ask for more!

Actually, managed to go to the Wellcome Collection and due to some serendipitous timing there was an exhibition on Tibetan Buddhism. This was very cool. Bought back some memories of the mountain adventures of India and reminded me how much I'm drawn to that part of the world. Not just the sounds, smells and sights but the deeper spiritualism and cosmic thought that is rooted in one of the most ancient philosophies going around.

During all these going on, also checked into my Christ's College accommodation. Although yet to spend a night there! The College is relatively new, only had its charter granted in 1490. Pretty impressive grounds, like all the Colleges. Charles Darwin is probably the most well known Alumni to have gone there. I was hoping my room would be his old room, but the paying guests are sequestered in the new buildings out the back. That's cool. Might still be able to inhale some spirits when I finally end up sleeping there. Perhaps.

On other related olde tymes, I was honoured to be the guest of J at the Christmas dinning at his college. This was another, in a long list of singularly amazing experiences I've been lucky enough to enjoy this trip. Securing a Dinner Suit, we donned up in our best imitation of 007 and made our way to the College's Masters house. Bit of a soiree, some nice Champagne and intelligent discussions were the pre curser to a five course dinner, with matched wines in the dinning hall. It was just a touch of Hogwarts. The wood panelled room was lit only by the flickering of candles as the sartorial conversational breeze blew around the room. Some very intelligent people were there, as well as me, the continual incubation of progress and world changing pursuits was clearly evident. Pretty crazy.

Hope this hasn't been too boring an entry. Have found it a little difficult recently to write the thought thoughts down. But that's cool. Not for any bad reason, quite the opposite in fact. Been having an absolutely amazing time recently. It's all about the moments. Sometimes they don't need to be expanded upon or analysed. Yeah, gotta totally be like water sometimes. Bruce Lee and by inference all of Eastern thought is generally on the money in that respect!

So that's about as introspective as I'll get this entry.

Nice to drop back in and say g'day to you all, hope everything's peachy. Best to finish on some pictures, so here we go again.

Have a few pieces in this series by Otto Schade aka Osch, who is a Chilean, I really like his work.

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Another piece by PHLEGM, on the walls of the National Theatre, I'm pretty sure.

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This is really cool work by FANAKAPAN.

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Posted by kidd1200 05:16 Archived in England Comments (2)

Cambridge

Winchester and East London

The nature of these blogs will probably change again. Hopefully for the better, or worse, depending on your point of view and what your here for. Perhaps its time for a reflection on what the point of this exercise is. At the risk of going all SJP on you, I may posit and perchance answer some idle questions. Not the what are we here stuff, or questions relating to life in New York for a group of single something spinsters, but, as I'm sure most would bloggers or diarists have to eventually come to grips with, the questions of audience and purpose. Actually more of a why am I here. Man, now I feel I have to go right back to first principles and articulate, to myself more than anyone, who is this?

This began as a simple task of keeping family and friends abreast, in a hopefully humorous manner, as to my adventures. A means of keeping a virtual account of sights, sounds, scenes and silliness. That was fine. Nothing deeper was required of me, and by me. It did, then, quickly, morph into a way of keeping a real time snapshot of my mental state. As I reconcile life post, well, lets be honest, post many things. Every moment in life can be thought of as a post and pre point in your journey. This is at risk of becoming a seriously serious navel gaze. Better divert my attention and, keep you interested by letting you into my locale. At Alfie's in Winchester. A pretty happening little Freehouse in the main drag. Blustery wind is whipping whorls of wind in wicked whisks of wearisome wet precipitation. But that's okay, just had a stout, which went down well, and written a few winding words of 'w' laden wisdom. Or something at the very least. We, been the four of us, arrived 2 nights earlier after driving down on the Friday night.

This morning I did a quick kick around and checked out the Farmers Market where I picked up some brews from some local brewers. They were from a place called Alfred's brewery and Mash brewery, both local. Also, doing some pre planning which I have recently lapsed on, scored a collection of pies to help with dinner at some stage. Man they look good. Thick crusty packages of delisciousness, filled with tasty treats. Shall I get back to the thoughts? Have really been enjoying the local real ales. I finally get the taste of flat, warmer beers. They slide down an absolute treat in this weather. Yesterday afternoon we headed to a local pub called the Black Boy with a couple of Alex's friends and their little baby. So cute watching the interaction of J and the Baby.

My voice in all these ramblings has been pretty consistent I think. Each entry has, generally, had a fairly small group of people that I have been talking to. This, obviously, changed when I went solo, and changed again when I touched down in Cambridge. It feels a bit strange writing this and presumably posting it, when I am spending time living with part of my audience. Hence the pivot, or perhaps the realisation of a lack of a fixed immutable reference point on which to direct my thoughts. Maybe it has been an aspect of my psyche that has always been the audience. And if that is the case, is it 'present' me or 'future' me or some combination of the holy trinity that my existence is. Wow, crossed into delusions of grandeur territory. Perhaps my favourite mental health condition, next to Munchausen by proxy. Fascinating stuff.

Not to be resolved here.

Alas.

Still considering my future career prospects. Strange, spending time with the J's and having talky talks with A has helped muddy things even more! Alex and James have a disarming skill that I find, certainly at this point, and mum as well, usefull and desirable, to peel away the layers and force myself to articulate the maelstrom of feelings and thoughts that probably circulate in all of us. As my fortune cookie I got in Berlin said Don't wait for your ship to come into the harbour, swim out to it. Yeah thanks. Stupid pithy fortune. I get it, you need to make your own luck, but jeeze man, I'm trying to find a friggin direction here or boat[i] to swim to. At least give me the name of the boat. Happy to do the swimming.

As an aside, totally enjoying been an uncle. Relishing the opportunity, perhaps once in a lifetime, to live with my niece for a month and be involved in all aspects of her life. It's really crazy and brings the stupidest grin to my face whenever I think about it.

Back at our rented accommodation, which thanks to J and A's forward planning has a spare room for me, only requiring uncle Daniel to usurp the previous designated occupant. Thankfully she had no knowledge of the grave injustice that I caused her. Perhaps it was fitting that I returned home and threw on some Pink Floyd, bit of [i]The Wall, an interesting album that I can identify with in some aspects. For sure, the freedom that is granted you when you free form write any and every thought that comes into your mind. Not always filtering yourself, as having no immediate feedback or feeling of been judged, perhaps what we all fear and do our best to avoid, well some of us do, is liberating. Again, this gets back to a question of audience, I mean now I am faced with a slight dilemma as to whether to censor some lines of internal questioning, I always was the final arbiter of what was written and posted but didn't need, and often relished in the fact that I could let some deep feelings out.

Well, I'm bored of this. Presume you are as well.

Some lighter moves. Went rolling on the hill with J today. The younger one, that is. If you havn't rolled down a grassy hill with a child, or even a fully grown adult, do it. Even if grass monsters sneak up and silly attack your side flanks, it's worth it.

That was written a few days ago, and as alluded too have not really felt a need to post or finish off my rambles, purely because I have been getting that therapeutic aspect that this exercise brings from conversations at home. But now? Well your in for a bit of a treat finally. The recent aspect has been the exciting chance to bring a little street colour into your lives, and mine mainly. Hit out around Cambridge yesterday, today been Wednesday 2nd, looking for the elusive arts. None, not a skerrick of street adorned stylings. Which in itself tells a story. Is it due to the proactive municipality and their desire to keep the rarefied streets of Cambridge unadultered? Or, a higher socio economic mix that results in a community content with their lot? A combination of the two undoubtedly and perhaps some other reasons as well. No simple duality here reader. Life is always a mix of reasons.

I was not to concerned however, as my daily exploits and focus lay elsewhere. However, as I am now in East London having reason to return to the city for, what could prove to be a very exciting encounter, have hit upon an extremely verdant location. Read up on this area as I had some hours to fill in. So have been cruising around Old Street, Shoreditch and Brick Lane area. Walked into many a hirsute individual amid my meonderings today. But more importantly, have snaffled some sweet shots. This is pretty much ground zero for the popularizationof the movement in London. From memory some early Banksy works were done here. Let me be clear, this is by no means a new phenomenon. From the 70's carriages in NYC were been bombed and a lot of those early innovators are still doing their thing, which is pretty impressive in my book. Some have taken decades to be recognized, by a wider audience, partly thanks to quality publications dedicated to graff and urban art, as well as the rise of networks and small-worlds modernity. Actually it was even earlier because Basquiat, Warhol's buddy, was the first person, deservedly or not, to make a name/ living out of this kind of work. Whilst for a long time it was mainly the purvey of the downtrodden in society, screaming out at the world, and disaffected gang youth, it really kicked up into the forefront of social consciousness in the 80's, especially as it was tied up in the Rap/ Hip-hop scene and always followed and was informed by and conversely informed by the social movements of the time.

It always was viewed with distaste by most people, mainly due to lettering on and around stations been an 'eyesore' and its association with grimey dangerous ghettos. This led, especially in New York to a big crime crackdown, well I think it got caught up in the whole reducing the crime wave and making NY 'safe again' movement, mainly by Giuliani, but this is, like history should, still in dispute. The 'broken windows' approach to crime. Essentially resources were directed at removing 'potential' criminals off the street in neighbourhoods with, literally, broken windows, a flip-side was that a disproportionate number of African Americans were pretty much profiled and arrested/ sentenced for lower level crimes and given longer sentences based on an assumed risk of recidivism. Admittedly this was mid-late nineties time I think from memory. Anyway, bit of a disjointed B-grade historical synopsis there. Nowadays the murals, 'pretty' and 'clean' work is tolerated and accepted by a growing section of society. But as I maintain, you can't have the good without the bad.

In the recent times, the big name international guys, like Shepard Fairey and Banksy, got picked up by the art establishment, leading to a struggle between keeping it legit and a way to make a living. Then you have a proliferation of mural or commissioned work, gentrification movements and boom, suddenly it losses an element of it's punk ethos. Well, that is a universal story when the status quo is challenged. This has all been well and truly documented, and will continue to be. So I can offer no insights and may have got a lot of the previous information incorrect, back to front and generally mashed like a delightful potato and cauliflower mix.

Enough.

Where are the treats?

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There are a few of these mushrooms scattered around on buildings the area. Also some masks scattered around too. I forgot the name of the person who does the owl pieces, but will suss it out for next entry. Some very nice lettering work.

Some more work from Alice popped up as well.

Mum, hopefully can speak to you before you leave, if not, have a great trip and we all look forward to seeing you soon!!

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And of course these little guys are just everywhere. Starting to feel quite connected to them and feel like we would be friends if we ever meet when the sun goes down and their out cruising the streets, vacuuming the side walks and repainting the white lines on the road. I feel safe when their around.

Stay safe.

Adopt a buddy if needs be.

Till next time.

Posted by kidd1200 07:45 Archived in England Comments (2)

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