28 April 2012

Paul Bommer's 'Delft' tiles and other cleverness

Hurry hurry... only a matter of hours to go....!!!
Paul Bommer's selling exhibition at 15 Wilkes Street, E1, finishes this afternoon at 6pm.
I very much doubt there will be much left to buy as everything was selling like hot cakes on Friday eve.
The fake Delft tiles are wonderful; Paul has made a set of 120 one-offs, each depicting locations, people and businesses. I was really surprised and pleased to see he'd done one for me with my initials above a clay pipe. When I say 'for me', I mean I had to buy it(!).

Due to the individual surface crackles on each tile I thought he'd got hold of a load of plain crackle-glazed tiles and over-painted them. But no; Paul points out that they are pastiches made using acrylic panels. He thought this process might disappoint but I think it takes more time and effort to make each one and so I think I've got a lot more for my money.
As well as the tiles there are 15 illustrations and cartoons all available as limited edition prints. I have to go and collect my tile tomorrow... I may be tempted to get something else... watch this space.
For details for the exhibition, scroll down to the bottom of the link above, which also contains many more of Paul's cheeky illustrations.

26 April 2012

Top Hat is TipTopTaptastic

I went to see Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre last night.
I am not normally a fan of musicals, by which I mean the Abba and Queen variety*. But being a sucker for the old black and white singing and dancing films, especially Busby Berkeley movies such as this corker, and anything with Fred and Ginger in it, saying yes to this show was a no brainer.
This new stage version of Top Hat is wonderful. That Tom fella off the TV who won Strictly is in it and he's rather good indeed. As is Summer Strallen who makes tap dancing, especially high kicks, look so easy and, boy, can she sing! They are supported by a great supporting cast. I loved every minute of it. It's all based on the simple old story of boy meets girl mixed with mistaken identity (aren't they all?!). A few extra numbers  that were not in the original have been cheekily added but hey, why not?!
Reduced seat prices are available here.
"Heaven, I'm in heaven..."
Now I feel the need to watch the original 1935 film of Top Hat again... here's a clip. Notice how it's mainly a simple continuous wide shot so you can see the dancing in full, which contrasts with all silly close-ups etc we get in films and on TV these days featuring unnecessary cuts to the audience. Also note the lovely soft film quality.
"I'm putting on my white tie..."
No photos of the show, but here are some of my London hats:
Top: Hollen St, Chenies St, Goswell Rd, St James St
Middle: Ely Place, Hatton Gdn, Jermyn St, Shepherd Mkt
Bottom: Lambeth Walk, Prebend St, Wilkes St, St Martins Place.

*though I am always prepared to be proved wrong, so if anyone has any spare free tickets for any of the big 'modern' musicals, then please do get in touch ;-)

25 April 2012

Small traders' livelihoods threatened – again

I have just read the latest post by The Gentle Author about rising rents in the Spitalfields area that are forcing small businesses to close down or move out of their long-held premises.
This saddens me. If big corporate chains continue to trample rough-shod over everything, it means we will end up with the same shops everywhere; not just in London, but worldwide. Every city will be the same, selling identical products shipped in from China or the far east. Why bother with specialist traders offering bespoke goods and services when you can just drive to the local plastic shopping city or get your must-have factory-made designer items delivered to your door?!
I have written about my concerns in this vein before in posts about Notting Hill, Lambs Conduit StHanway St and Charing Cross Road.
Are homogenous or empty high streets what we really need and want?
Support your local traders!!!!
Read the Gentle Author's article here.

23 April 2012

World Shakespeare Festival

An international festival starts today to celebrate the Bard.
It's his birthday you know. He's 448 today.
You might have read about him or heard about one of his plays. He wrote quite a few of them.
For those who have never heard of him (!!!) it's all in the link above or here.
Below are some of my Shakespeare-related images. The top row shows a pub, a theatre, a house and another pub. Perhaps you might know where they are?
The next two rows hint at Shakespeare plays – "prizes" to those who can identify the plays and/or the locations shown.

22 April 2012

Bog standard bogs

The toilets in the ICA are piss poor. (Very droll, Jane!)

I wrote this in 2008. I know it went live because it has comments. I just found it in 'drafts'... somehow it had un-posted itself. So I am paying it another visit.

The London Marathon

Watching the London Marathon in my dressing gown on the sofa drinking endless cups of tea (not doing Spitalfields Market today).
The roads are lined with plastic event-specific signs. And balloons. And people are waving those plastic air-filled sausage things.
So what happens to all this plastic after the event? is is biodegradable?
Answers here please.
Or perhaps it ends up like this?

16 April 2012

Ha ha ha... the Udderbelly is back on the South Bank

The purple upsidedown plastic cow is back on the Southbank for 12 weeks bringing comedy and fun and laughter to us, prior to a lot of the performers taking their shows to the Edinburgh Festival
I am going to see The Joy of Sketch this Thursday 19th... perhaps I'll see you there.
Did I ever mention that I was a Perrier judge in 2002? Well, I was. I entered a competition in Time Out and beat thousands of others to be one of the two London-based Joe Public judges on the panel. It was a lot of hard work racing from gig to gig, especially when some of the acts turned out be less than disappointing, but there were also some real gems which made the whole experience worthwhile. It was the year Jimmy Carr was 'discovered'. Amazingly it was decided that he shouldn't be entered for the newcomer award because he was too good! Eh? He didn't win that year, but he's won in other ways ever since. 
You might see someone at the Udderbelly this year who goes on to be the next big thing... And there's won't just be comedy on offer in the purple tent... there'll be magic, kid's events, music, and lots more.

15 April 2012

Alternative Fashion week

It's Alternative Fashion Week at Spitalfields Traders Market from Monday 16th April.
Amelia Parker's clay pipe jewellery stall will be there on Friday 20th & Saturday 21st, as well as Sunday 22nd as normal.
Top: Spitalfields Traders Market, Kings Cross, Chatsworth Road, Redchurch St
Middle: Balls Pond Rd, view from Brushfield St, Spitalfields Traders Market x2
Bottom: Spitalfields Traders Market, Whitecross St, Kentish Town, Walthamstow

13 April 2012

Titanic Titanic Titanic... stop stop stop!

Is it just me? Or is anyone else sick of hearing about The Titanic? I only recently fell in (ha ha) that all this media interest is because it's 100 years since it sank and that's what all the fuss is about.
Plenty of other boats have sunk too you know. Well, none quite as big, and none have had a cringingly bad film made about them (you can't include the The Poseidon Adventure, starring the wonderfully named Red Buttons cos that wasn't real).
Over the years there have been maritime disasters with greater loss of life, so why has the Titanic become so famous?
The 3D version of James Cameron's 'Titanic' is in the cinemas at the moment. Don't bother. Just watch this better, shorter version; Adam & Joe's 'Toytanic' – genius!
There's a Titanic drama series on TV which I have so far managed to avoid, and people are going on ironically ill-fated Titanic memorial cruises. I noticed earlier this week that the Titanic Cafe in Holloway Road was putting up banners promoting some kind of special offer. Prices going down perhaps?! The business going under?! All hands on deck!!!
I have always more interested in IKB's final amazing engineering feat that was the SS Great Eastern which was launched just over 150 years ago, yet I don't recall much fuss about that except a couple of programmes on BBCs 2&4 a few years ago.

A friend sent me this from today's
The Guardian:

Below are some photos of boats/ships in London:
Find them all here.

6 April 2012

Hot cross buns

One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns.
So why buy one when you can get two for the same price?!
I was singing this earlier and thought I'd put a collection of crosses together to relate to that Jesus fella and the buns.
I also had an idea to mention the story about the East London bun pub but, yet again, the Gentle Author has got there first, and done a way better job than I could have, so here's the link to it.
Various London crosses below. And here's a previous Easter collection.
Top: Holloway Rd, Kings Cross, Holloway Rd, Smithfield
Middle: Bloomsbury, Greenway, Temple, Battersea
Bottom: Carey St, Euston, W1, Holloway

2 April 2012

An Alphabet of London

I recently got a copy of Christopher Brown's book 'An Alphabet of London'.
This little gem is filled with Christopher's lovely, simple and effective lino cut illustrations depicting approx six different London locations for each letter of the alphabet.
The main part of the book is the A-Z but I loved reading the first section of the book where he tells us about growing up in 1950s London and taking in, and being inspired, by all the wonderful sights and experiences that London had to offer him. And, towards the end of the book is a section about his creative processes, which reminded me of when I made lino cuts in the art room at school all those years back. It really is a pleasing and absorbing process, working as you have to, in negative, and achieving a different end result every time.
The Gentle Author has written a really good, and more in-depth, review of the book here which also shows some of the illustations.
I can't compete with any lino cut illustrations of my own so here are some close-ups of As, Bs, Cs and Ds that appear on signs throughout Central London.
Perhaps you can recognise some of them? Or cheat, and find (most of) them here.