Winchester and East London
27.11.2015 - 30.11.2015
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.
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.
Where are the treats?
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!!
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.
Adopt a buddy if needs be.
Till next time.