Wednesday, 18 July 2012

London Town Ups & Downs!

So after the wonderful experience that is flying Easy Jet from Aberdeen to Luton then getting into central London followed by a few tube stops I eventually made it to my friends warehouse where I was set to get a good nights rest in preparation for Bloc. However I was awoken with the news that Bloc had been cancelled due to overcrowding etc etc. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little gutted, especially as I only really wanted to see Apparat but London is a big town with lots going on!


The first port of call was to leave the warehouse and investigate the twittersphere to find out what was happening and where! Thankfully we had a tech savy friend who gave us regular updates which led to a tube to Whitechapel for the Hyperdub x Oscillate Wildly x Streets of Beige party. It was great to be in a familiar space but surrounded by complete strangers, listening to amazing tunes and dancing like you just don't care, because you don't! Everyone seemed to be having a good time despite the torrential rain and massive ques although we got down early enough to beat the ques. It was nice to see Ikonika playing on home turf for a good crowd and last time I saw Cooly G there was maybe 40 peeps crammed onto the dance floor in Origin, Flying Lotus might have been the secret special guest but it was Cooly G & Kode9 who stole the show for me, playing banger after banger and keeping everyone's feet moving.


The next day everyone else lay in bed as we didn't leave the club til 6am but I decided to head out to explore a bit since I only had a few days. I decided to head for Brick Lane to see some art. The first thing I saw upon leaving the station is the massive mural by Remi & The Agents of Change (above), this is actually miles away from Brick Lane but I'm glad I got to see it! Once I got to the general area its just a case of following the tags and big graff pieces until you eventually find what your looking for, babes, bikes, good art & cool markets! First up I spotted some of the giant ROA pieces which I'd seen popping up on the Juxtapoz blog a while back. ROA's a massive inspiration both in his subject matter, style and just the scale he works in, if you haven't heard of him  I highly recommend you google it! 


If your down Brick Lane then you kinda have to pay a visit to Rough Trade, the home of independent music, a haven for music geeks and generally a nice shop to browse in. After making a purchase they were kind enough to charge up my phone for me while I went for a chicken kebab, very nice indeed! Just along from Rough Trade I found the Rene Almanza exhibition, 1001 Draws of Perception. The show consisted of 1001 ink drawings each on 15cm x 15cm squares. The sheer volume of work was quite overwhelming along with Rene's skills. It reminded me of Ashley Wood's sketches but Rene definitely has his own thing going on. You can see a video of the show on his facebook page here!


Brick Lane really is a great place to just walk about, lots of cool second hand / vintage shops, cafe's, shops and art. I did miss the chance to go stand on Murray Mound and watch Andy Murray get beat live on a screen in Wimbledon but I think I chose wisely, Brick Lane all the way!



On Monday I set off with my skateboard in search of South Bank, the Skateboarding Mecca of London, or so I thought. The banks are pretty big, the blocks are pretty high and the constant stream of tourists and cameras was generally pretty off putting. After some akward standing around I decided to boost off in search of Dinosaurs & Darwin! A few tube stops later I found myself queing to get into the Natural History Museum. The photo below shows the famous dinosaur skeleton as seen in the Disney film One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing, a real classic! I spent a few hours walking around looking at all the amazing taxidermy but refused to fork out to see the Scott's Last Expedition exhibition or the Animals Inside Out exhibition but I'm hoping to be back down before they both finish!


After a few hours rest I set off to find Dave's place leaving the lovely warehouse behind along with the lovely hosts who provided lots of good banter. It was great to catch Dave, an old school friend going back to 1995! We ventured out to find some excitement and found it in the shape of Stonehaven moshers Dolfinz, who just happened to be playing in London on my birthday! They played a brilliant set in a swell little venue called Power Lunches with support from some other bands that I can't find out anything about and can't remember the name of. It was great to have a mini Aberdeen invasion going down, afterwards we headed for another kebab this time from Ali Ababa's on Kingsland Road. I think I can honestly say it was the best chicken kebab I have ever had. I actually can't wait to get one next time I'm down.


On our way to the gig we passed some massive letters by Eine! Another artists who's street work has popped up a lot in books and on the blogs, working with a good idea and doing it on a big scale!


Tuesday brought the end of my trip. I met up with another old friend who bought me a lovely pecan brownie and directed me to the Whitechapel Gallery.Here I found strange art with projections and mirrors which actually looked amazing, the way the mirrors reflected the projections was quite interesting and has definately left me feeling inspired. A lot of the work is quite quirky or cool, I especially liked the illustrated alphabet starting with "A is for Arnold" with an amazing drawing of everyone's favourite action movie ass kicker!


And with that I return to Aberdeen. Its nice to be home but its nice to be inspired too! Oh and my tin of sausages & wedges survived the plane ride, thanks Lindsay!