A Travellerspoint blog

England

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)

Cardiff- London

Signposts and Goodbyes

It would appear some of my weird crazy ramblings have elicited some positive, if not vaguely concerned comment from Mrs Fryer about some of my writings. It did get me thinking on some rather odd tangents, like, as one of my work colleagues would attest too, an old boss of mine always had what I termed an 'eloquent turn of phrase'. This boss, a Chemical Pathologist, so not without a level of intelligence stratospheres above mine, used to take the longest way around when needing to describe something. It used to annoy a lot of people. I really liked it. This then got me thinking about the skill of concise writing. James once related a story about Winston Churchill, so bear with me as this has a vague connection to the UK, a young officer was tasked with providing a written report on something related to the war effort. On handing it in, he apologised 'Sorry Sir, if I had more time I would have made it shorter'. Mr Churchill, was well chuffed with this response and duly promoted him. I was then reminded of another story related to my brother, his graduation from high school, if memory serves, and a teacher used this to describe one of James' contemporaries; 'if he was any more laid back, he would be unconscious'. Given that this has stuck with me for nigh on 17 odd years, clearly it has resonated for some reason. Something to aspire to. Squirrel.

We did see some down at the park. Like distracted children, we did hang around watching their crafty ways. I mean they literally squirrel stuff away. So cool. Some dogs seem to be as amused and intrigued by their dashing skills of digging holes to hide their proteaceae delights away in as well. Other things that Cardiff had to offer, apart from the consumption by me of enough potatoes to send Cardiff back to the Scottish 1850's, was a bay area which we caught a water taxi down to. Strangely they have a Norwegian Church down by the water, which must have some historical reason for been so placed. I couldn't work it out, but it was curiously adjacent to the site that Scott embarked on his ill fated Antarctic expedition. We went to the Cardiff Castle, but decided to abandon its internal interests as the cost was 12 pound each. Instead we walked around the Natural History museum for free. Well, it only cost a small amount of patience due to the entire pre school population of Cardiff been on various exciting excursions. Must be holidays. Anyway, it was pretty average. But cheap. More spare change for potatoes and gravy. We also drank some Corn Moonshine out of a jar at the bar in the hostel. Delicious like potatoes it was not. Cardiff, plenty to see and do. We pretty much saw and did enough. Even went to the movies for the budget price of 4 pounds. Saw 007 do his thing. Was cool because we almost saw ourselves walking around London in the background.

I will probably be in London finishing this post off, which is weird because currently I'm in Cardiff writing about a future that hasn't happened but would have by then. If you think that made no sense, spare a thought for me in two days time when I accurately predict a win by NZ in the big game. I'm going to get Emma to read this, so as to verify that I didn't go back and alter it. I mean I could just edit it out by then, including this sentence so I don't come across as being totally unhinged. Or not. We shall see. Or maybe only I will? Now my head hurts. I better go pack all my stuff away in preparation for tomorrows departure, in my sweet new wheeled travel case. Some room to get super fun presents for the young niece.

So I did end up showing the previous paragraphs to Emma, it appears it will be a little strange but that's okay. Pretty much how I talk and act in real life..........I always liked authors who write like they're talking to you. Reading back on the posts, things did get progressively stranger along the way. Which is reflective of the company I was in. Hopefully will manage not to almost knock myself out like I did the other morning when putting my shoes on. Almost had to go to Hospital and find out how good this NHS system really is. But I was alright, just a semi-concussed ouchie. What an amazing few days. Crazy. Surreal. I mean, NZ won!!!! Am now writing these parts on Monday the 2nd. Iceland Airwaves festival is about to receive me as a guest.

We kicked back into London after catching different busses from Cardiff, in time to roll into the hostel, then it was out to Bond Street to the HMV store. Unfortunately didn't get to pass GO so missed out on $200. Didn't matter because we had a more important date, it involved Enter Shikari doing an album signing. For those not familiar, like myself a few months ago, they're a band. So now your up to speed. I had the pleasure of chaperoning a superfan, and taking some photos of her and her new best friends. They all got along pretty well and I assume it's only a matter of time before Emma invites them to Auckland for a Sunday roast. Fingers crossed she doesn't open the oven door and cause all the pudding to deflate like a shipwrecked soccer ball.

We did have a cracker of a Sunday roast, actually on Sunday. Which was last night. It was good. Super great, pork of course, with all the trimmings. Considering it was our final overseas meal together, we went out on a pretty good note. For the preceeding few days we had been hitting up cheap meals courtesy of the local supermarkets. I ate 5 sandwiches in a single day. Only spent as much as the two coffees I bought in the morning. Strange. Some things are as expensive as at home, such as coffee, but if your smart about things it's almost cheaper then at home. Especially if you get someone 2 for 1 Vodkas. Which is what occurred on the post game crazy times that were experienced after the Final. Which happened the day after the signing day. Sorry if I jump around a bit, but here is some wise words for you, “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards” which strangely links us back to the time Emma and I stared out of a moving train window in Siberia and went through the looking class. Now I've forgotten what I was saying.

The day of the Final, we kicked around London. By kick around, instead of catching the Underground everywhere, we decided to walk topside. Actually, this was the day after the Final. So, the day of the Final we went to Camden. Right, I'm on track again. In an effort to avoid the 87% of London tourist, we headed out fairly early and a good decision it was too. I wanted to get some more photos on my camera, incedently my phone died yesterday. It's been repaired. Fingers crossed I don't loose all the photos. So, managed to get photos in Camden and also had deliscious breakfast at the Cereal Killer Café. They have heaps of Cereal goodness, all the sugary ones and we got super sugar highs. It was fun. Then spent some time devoted to my shopping needs. Now we were sorted, boosted back to the Hostel, discarded our treats and geared up to hit Trafalgar Square. Managed to get a pretty sweet spot, secured drinks just as the game began. Man, it was an awesome experience. Crowd was cool, I enjoyed the outcome, because Emma went a little crazy. Super excited. History, we were a part of it. High fives all over the place. We were a little tipsy. And it was only 7 Pm, so we had to keep the party going, hence the Vodkas. I had forgotten that Emma swore off Vodka after our night in Vienna when we drank every shot on the menu, then I finished off a bottle of Vodka with the barmaid. Needless to say I'm not really sure what Vienna actually looks like. So, a massive day.

We functioned pretty well the next day. Which is when this super massive walk occurred. Our hostel is near The Shard. Get a map of London for this part because it'll be more exciting to play along at home. So from Guy's Hospital, we walked to the Thames, then followed the river along past The Globe Theatre, The Tate (which as a building I really like so will throw a photo up), all the way to Westminster Bridge. From there we jumped across, said g'day to Ben before purchasing some sandwiches. Which we duly consumed underneath Churchill, in Parliament Square, whilst listening to the bells from Westminster Abbey ring for 15minutes. Pretty epic. It was also really sunny. I mean, we have had some amazing weather. Always when we do really cool adventures. So, after our pit stop, we walked up Birdcage Walk and if you are been sneaky and looking ahead on your map, you'll know that we were heading to St. Jame's Park and yep, Buckingham Palace. I mean, we pretty much did all this without realising we were ticking off all the sights. No map, just random aimless walking and inane ramblings. And some grumblings because I hadn't eaten mashed potato for about 16hrs and was feeling lightheaded. Boom. Buckingham Palace done. Walked back down the Mall to Trafalgar sq. Salutations were given to Nelson. Emma got a quick, albeit entirely inaccurate history lesson. Then we headed back to the Thames. Emma got a history lesson on my speech impediment I had when I was little. That was actually an accurate lesson. We followed the Embankment, Paul's Walk and all along the waters edge to the Tower of London, then back across the Tower Bridge to our hostel. It was pretty epic. Think it took a solid 3 hours at least. Many things were discussed, including why the Pigeons have no feet in London's Underground.

So that may be everything that's happened in the last few days. So we all know about the All Blacks winning. Heavy stuff 'aye. Good though.

Parted company this morning. It's North for both of us, except I go all the way to Reykjavik. My phone died as well. Just about to go check if the kind people have managed to restore it. Otherwise I loose a stack of photos and other important stuff. Like an alarmclock. Memories are intact in my brain though.

Update, phone has been re-incarnated as an actual functioning phone, complete with camera and the ability to alarm at 7:50 AM and wake everyone up because I'll snooze it when I go have my shower instead of turning it off. There's always one annoying person. The other morning it was the guy who decided to blowdry his hair in the room really early. I know right, a guy. Blowdrying his hair. He then put a hat on. Are you kidding me, who takes a hairdryer overseas. Just use the hand drier in the shower. Personally I have not even been using a towel. If a hostel doesn't supply one, for minimal cost, then I have been using a t-shirt. Heheh, probably why I stink.

So, here is the aforementioned Tate Modern. I think I like it because it reminds me of the 'Animals' cover by Pink Floyd. Just the same era building, it is a super ugly era to be honest but, isn't there a saying along the lines off; 'there is truth in ugliness'? There should be. I could just look it up. Good tunes on that album, which helps. Maybe some Camden art as well.

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Posted by kidd1200 10:02 Archived in England Comments (1)

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