25 July 2008

Sons et lumieres

Paris was a delight - the sun on the river, the outdoors Rodin museum where there is space to think and a space for The Thinker, not too busy and the Eiffel tour lit up in glorious blue each evening and sparkling for 10 minutes on the hour which is quite magical.

London fell a little short on the 'lumieres' front as Kenwood open air concerts, back after a year's break due to residents' complaints, was good on the music but no fireworks. Something about protected bats being disturbed - well, they've survived at least 20 years of Kenwood fireworks, but what do I know except that it wasn't quite the same. And, they've moved the site away from the lake. However, the classical pieces were great andOmara Portuondo was doing her Buena Vista stuff and it was dry 2 weeks running if you ignore the very small shower on week one...

Other sons et lumieres - an installation on the South Bank where you can walk amoung tall thin speaker like structures which have music coming out and light patterns going up and down them. Apparently as you move around them you affect the light and sounds but we couldn't work it out at all.

The final 'lumiere'? The appearance of the sun! Not constantly but enough to feel a bit like summer and get that awful sweaty feel on the tube , yes summer must be here so I'm off to soak up some light.


14 July 2008

Viva la vida - in France

This week's blog will be delayed due to a short trip to Paris. Off to sample life over the channel courtesy of Eurostar's fabulous speed and a friend's gorgeous flat. More on my return...

9 July 2008

The rain came and loads and loads of tennis....

So, second week after leaving work and this week's highlights were: tennis, another street party, City of London Festival, Press Photographers exhibition and rain, rain, rain.

Wimbledon seemed to take up all of Sunday! It was compelling but also very hard to watch as a Roger fan, even from the sofa and goodness knows how exhausting it must have been to experience it in Centre Court. The rain added even more drama and gave us what must be one of the latest and darkest men's finals to date and what is officially the longest.

Another street party - well more of a square party but that sounds rather dull and it certainly was not. It was in one of those amazingly beautiful London squares - all railings, greenery and surrounded by white stucco fronted terraces. For a modest entry price there was free drink, nibbles brought round as we stood and a chance to grill our local council members and MP on what's happening with road closures, recycling, and other fascinating topics (!) to the sound of a jazz band. Some amount of drinking, meeting local residents and even nipping into the local pub after- good job it was only an 10 minute walk home and took place before the rain got set in.

A trip into the City for a friend's work do led to a lucky find. We followed our ears which picked up jazz at 6pm just off Cheapside, very unusual in the serious surrounding of all the money making, and we found a Balkan jazz band playing in the Guildhall yard as part of the City of London Festival. Never heard of it before but it has free music over the summer across the City including on the steps of St Paul's and at Liverpool Street Station to help out harassed commuters. Find more at http://www.colf.org/

The Press Photographers' Exhibition in the National Theatre was sobering and interesting - sobering because of the number of stills and a video from Iraq and photos from Pakistan around the return of Benazir Bhutto. But also some great sport shots and quirky items. See attached: www.thepressphotographersyear.com/content/exhibition

And finally, rain, rain, rain. Annoying and always seems to lead to the break down of transport so I found myself and a friend stuck in Camden on Saturday for ages waiting for a bus home at 3.30am . Still there were lots of guys enjoying Gay Pride day long into the small hours so it certainly wasn't dull. Inevitably decided on a taxi in the end and the sight of the little orange light was so welcome...


2 July 2008

What a week...

First post on my new London blog. I want to share London living - the fun and the frustrations. I've just left my full time job and it seemed a good moment to go into print and hopefully graphics, well, photographs if my blog skills allow, about a summer in London.

First week has seen a trip to Wimbledon, a London Walk, a street party and a comedy club. All this and it's been sunny as well!

Bit more info to get those jealousy buds going.....

Wimbledon: no centre court tickets sadly so I headed down on the tube on Friday afternoon and joined the jolly queue hoping the dark and rumbling clouds didn't deliver. About an hour later I was in and wandering around the outside courts with easy view of the matches and the amazing speed of the balls (one of which hit a photographer in a painful place of the same name!) Bumped into a friend who gave me his centre court ticket for over 2 hours of top class tennis from Ancic and Ferrer into the dark and gloom at 9.15. What luck...

A London Walk around Kensington led by the excellent Russell was an insight to an area often just rushed through on the way to the Albert Hall or ignored when going to the shops. A few moments behind the main road take you into old and graceful squares full of stories.

Comedy in Crouch End. As ever a mixed bag but Danny Bhoy was the stand out winner on the bill, along with Dominic Frisby the compare who outshone some of the acts. Contributions from the audience included cheery drunk doing a wonderful comedy fall off his stool.

Street party: where I live we have an annual get together in the small public garden in the middle of the street. A wonderful point in the year when those of us who normally rush out of the flat to work and back late evening get to say hello to people who live very close by. Interesting people - artists, doctors, film makers, some finance guys, some retired, many many families with youngish children - and me.

There's a flavour of the week - missing out the drinks with mates and the lounging around in the sun.

Back with more next week......