Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Don't hate your mornings

Some club on Stoke Newington Road has that cool sign to hang letters on like on the old cinema (or not actually as old - Rio Cinema in Dalston, ten minutes walk from there, still has it). I cycle to office daily down this road and get sometimes amused enough to stop and take a picture.

First day I noticed that (early April):

"Nothing to see here"



Diamond Jubilee:

Party on


"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing"

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday walk

St George's gardens:

St George's gardens St George's gardens

British Museum:

At the Great Court of the British Museum

New Oxford Street:

Mr Brainwash hits New Oxford street Mr Brainwash hits New Oxford street

Late lunch:

Waiting for a meal

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Angels have gone

Walking through the Covent Garden area today we have stumbled upon the recently iconic London couple, the ginger cat named Bob and his master James. Unexpectedly, what we have seen has made me sad - quite an opposite effect comparing to the same encounters two or three years ago when they still used to sell The Big Issue near the Angel Tube station.

The cat was still adorable and calm sporting another colourful scarf, but this time James wasn't selling anything. Sitting on the pavement, he was just repeatedly asking the people crowding around them "to make a donation if they were taking pictures".

There might be a thousand explanations (charity fundraising comes to mind, for instance) and I could easily be too ignorant to notice some important details, but still that almost made me cringe inside. You see, James and Bob are known all over London for their story of honesty and persistence rewarded. Fighting their way out of the street, not begging but working, boasting their distinctive personalities, winning the hearts of Londoners and finally securing a book deal!

Now there were two thing that disappointed me. The first and "the easy" one: well, apparently the book deal and popularity weren't enough to provide for them. That's harsh, but that's also something you can at least try to correct by contributing.

But the second and the most important reason was that this time the whole thing looked much more like an undisguised exploitation of the original idea. Of course the cat was there first to boost sales and not just to cheer the public up (not a problem at all with that) - but today there were even no sales, so the simple fact of taking advantage of the once earned public image became uneasily obvious. And that was done in the simplest possible way, by asking (or should I rather say begging?) for change in a crowded spot. I mean, that ruins the whole story, doesn't it?

That really shouldn't have ended like this, so I do hope I got it all wrong.

China Miéville on the Olympics

I couldn't find any verbose reports from this talk, so apparently I need to write down the points I liked most (although these are not the exact quotes, only as precise as I remember and reproduce them in my ESL):

China Miéville at SNLF

The Shoal: "That old shopping centre in Stratford was made redundant by Westfield, so let's just hide it and pretend that's art" (also, the same point from diamond geezer)

The Orbit: "I actually liked the architecture first and then I learned that it's called ArcelorMittal Orbit, and that was an instant "no" for me. This changes everything. You know, we don't even have luxury to judge these objects as architecture because of that shameless branding".

The Olympic stadium and the Orbit

Gentrification: "I'm far from romanticising the gutter and welcome changes, but changes may come in different packages. It's like you're opposing your school to become an academy, and then you're suddenly "against putting more funds in the education". No, I am not, that's not what I said".

Moody's report: "There might be different opinions, but look, their job is make rich people even richer, and from what we see, they do it well - and they have made it clear: the Olympics aren't going to be economically beneficial".

HMS Ocean and an old cannon

Westfield Stratford: "It is a sacred place, the only one that was secured by the Army during the last year riots. There are going to be more soldiers deployed in London during the Olympics than in Afganistan".

Sports: "...oh yes, sports! How could we forget".