28 November 2012

We Make London Christmas Fair at Battersea Arts Centre this Saturday

BAC, Lavender Hill, Battersea, is the venue for the next We Make London's Christmas Fair.
On Saturday 1st December this lovely building will be full to bursting with diverse talent and unusual gifts – the perfect place for south London fans of the unique and individual to purchase directly from the designer-makers themselves. So much better than ordering mass-produced items on line, don't you think? Find me in the Dressing Room.
WML's book, Inspired:London, featuring 162 talented people will be available to buy on the day... another crafty idea for a Christmas present.
Please see The We Make London site for more info.
The Battersea area, still has a lot old architectural details; ghost signs, pub signs weather vanes and stink pipes. Some are shown below. I have missed out the obvious Battersea feature becasue I have written about it before. See more of my Battersea pics on Flickr.

20 November 2012

Keeping it local

This weekend the lights go on in Holloway.
On Sunday 25th November The Nag's Head Christmas Extravaganza one day event will see the northbound section of the Holloway Road between Camden Road and Seven Sisters Road closed to traffic and taken over by rides, stall, reindeer, music, dancing, mulled wine and other festive stuff. Just like last year.
I will be there selling my pipes again, so do come and say hello.

On the subject of the Holloway Road, I recently got a copy of the Born and Bred book which showcases some of the people who live and work along this section of the A1.
Goula from Michael's, my favourite local fruiterer and greengrocer, is featured. I have been patronising her family's wonderful shop for over 23 years and it never disappoints. The goods are always excellent quality as the family source the best seasonal produce, as well as top quality named brand pastas, sauces and coffees which they manage to sell cheaper than at the nearby Morrissons and Waitrose. They also have lovely artisan breads, fresh herbs, cheeses, nuts and tinned foods. And everything is beautifully displayed on lovely wooden shelves with hand-written signs.
Whilst chatting in the shop to Goula's daughter the other weekend, and complimenting her on all of the above, I was amazed how few people came in during that period. It appears people the general public is more attracted to bogofs* and £1 bowls of limp carrots. These idiots don't know what they are missing out on.
So I urge you – support your local shops!!! 
You will miss them when they are gone and we end up with streets where everything looks and tastes the same.
Michael's don't have a website but I found a favourable review of the shop here
*buy one get one free
Fruit and veg pics from all over London:
Top: Balls Pond Road, Vauxhall, Hackney
Middle: Belgravia, Mayfair, Highgate, Hackney 
Bottom: Bankside, Acton, Crouch End, Barbican

16 November 2012

Tim Key – Masterslut

Last night I went to see Tim Key at The Arts Theatre.
Funny, clever, poetic, weird, wet, rude, aggressive, coy, clean.
Go see him for yourself.
Top: Caledonian Road, City, Covent Garden, Smithfield
Middle: Finsbury Park, Fleet Street, Spitalfields, Hornsey Road
Bottom: Bloomsbury, Gloucester Road, Greenwich, West London (I can't remember right now!)

15 November 2012

Puerile fun

My sister recently posted on Facebook that she was going to give up innuendo for a week.
It's only made me worse... I seem to be noticing more double-entendres than usual. So I had a bright idea and put together this collection of images. Oo-er missus. Titter ye not.
Weather vanes, shadows, pub, shop and information signs, plus a street on Trafalgar Square.

You might recall a collection of suggestive images I put together a while back titled 'Are you feeling frisky?', a section of which was printed in The Guardian...!

7 November 2012

Hand-painted signs of Kratie and Holloway

Many you will already be aware of Sam Roberts and his excellent work compiling an archive of UK ghostsigns for HAT.
Sam and I met years before this project through our mutual interest in these old signs, and we have since become good friends.
Two years ago he and his wife moved to Cambodia to work for a voluntary services organisation and I wondered how he would manage to keep his own Ghostsigns site and the HAT project alive from so far away. But the internet is a wonderful invention and it has enabled Sam to seek out new signs and information from all around the globe. His regular bulletins about things signy and hand-lettery are a great source of inspiration.
Earlier this year, as if he wasn't busy enough, he started on a new project...
Sam had noticed as he wandered around Kratie, his local area of Cambodia, that there were a lot of old hand-painted signs and many of them were slowly being replaced by modern versions. So he took out his camera and started snapping as many as he could find. Another archive.
He wanted to put them all together in a book and so he approached me for advice about design and layout I ended up putting the whole thing together for him! It was a lot of hard work for both of us but we are very pleased with the end result.
It's now available on Amazon as a book or in Kindle format... buy buy buy it here!!

My hand-painted signs of Holloway:
An earlier post about some of these Holloway signs here

6 November 2012

Remember, remember the fifth of November

Last night I was invited to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night at a fireworks party on the roof of One New Change, opposite St Paul's. The event was billed as The Carling Winterzest Bonfire Ball; a title which turned out to be rather misleading...
I took along my friend Malcolm as my +1. He has written on his own blog about his distaste for this building, but I thought he could easily be won over by a beer, fireworks and fabulous views of the city. We had a good, fun evening, and laughed a lot, but that's just because we usually do. But it wasn't a ball. And certainly not a Bonfire Ball.
Let me explain...
The drinks: I am an ale, red wine or Guinness drinker and I hardly ever touch bottled lagers unless I am abroad. But hey, there were crate loads of Zest, Carling's new winter lager to be quaffed. This turned out to be an pissy orange flavoured liquid served ice cold. But it was free!
The bonfire: Ooh it was cold on that roof, what with it being a clear night. there was a bitter chill in the air and those beers were making us colder. Good job I wore gloves. But where was the bonfire to warm our bones? Turns out they'd made a pretend bonfire – a small collection of 'wood', LED lights and red net material, the type used for underskirts, had been fashioned into the shape of a bonfire. A girl with LED hula hoops gyrated around it. There were only two outdoor heaters and, of course, anyone near them wasn't about to move. I never did see any of the sparklers they promised us on the way in. But the fake autumnal trees with their red leaves were pretty. So that's good.
The food: Admittedly, food wasn't mentioned on the invite, but when a few small plates of strangely sweet sausage on bread things were brought out, they were quickly pounced upon. I doubt there was enough for one per person. Why bother? A man was offering hot chestnuts. I prefer my nuts to be nutty, so I declined.
The fireworks: The view was, as expected, really good, especially as the night was so clear. Fireworks displays could be seen off to the south in places such as Crystal Palace, and Deptford. But it was a bit disappointing. Not like being underneath an actual display. We couldn't hear the bangs and whizzes.
The music: I am a bit confused here... at 8.30pm a DJ started playing some tunes. Then another fella joined him. They played songs we knew. We danced about and had fun. Yes, Malcolm moved in time to music! Alert Paris society!
Then another fella played trumpet over Dizzie's 'Bonkers'. It was good. But was this really Rudimental who was listed to play there? Perhaps it was just a couple of them. I dunno. Answers on a postcard please.
So, to conclude, if you like weak lager with a hint of fruit in it, then Zest is the one for you!
Rather than include pics of fireworks, St Pauls, or alcohol, I am here again posting my set collection of fire insurance markers which are still apparent on a few old frontages around London. In the days before the London Fire Brigade was created, insurance companies had their own fire crews and if a building went up in flames only the company with the badge on that building would douse the fire. Harsh! But a clever marketing ploy. 
More info here.