Wednesday, 15 February 2012

East London Street Art

The East End of London is the grittier, edgier side of London.  It’s where the hipsters and students live and it’s where the street art is at it’s best (in my mind).

Taking advantage of a groupon, I’m doing an East End walking tour next month with a colleague and friends and I’m well looking forward to it.  In the interim though, the street art is everywhere. 

On some level, I realise it’s vandalism but even so, when it’s a mural or something, I find it hard not to appreciate it.  I’ve no time for tagging but for actual street art, I’m a big wrap.  London’s well known for it’s numerous Banksy’s. and a ROA or two but one artist' who’s work I’ve just come across is JimmyC.

I’ve no idea how long these two pictures have been up but they’re in a street I’d never walked down until Sunday last weekend.  And I  think they’re pretty darn amazing.  Stunning portraits made up of many blobs of paint (watch out for my technical terms!).  What do you think?

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What are your thoughts on street art/graffiti?  Below is some more from the streets around these.  See the yellow stick man?  Love him, loathe what’s either side of him. Quite like the Union Jack (the bubble writing is the words to the Sex Pistols "Anarchy in the UK" and the mural is by Tilt).

Monday, 13 February 2012

From Russia with love–St Petersburg

The final stop on our Russian trip was St Petersburg.  Scene to one of my favourite books,  The Bronze Horseman, I was well excited to visit here.

More European in looks and feel, St Petersburg is a stunning city.  It has many ornate coloured buildings set along canals and is home to the Hermitage, a wonderful museum full of chandeliers (and amazing artworks). The former capital of Russia, it is also home to the graves of Nicholas, the last tsar, and his family.

During our stay we saw some ballet, ate at a Lenin themed bar, ogled chandeliers and artwork at the Hermitage, Peter and Paul Fortress and the Church of the Spilt Blood and ventured out to Pushkin to see St Catherine's Palace.  Of course, we drank more vodka too.  Whilst I preferred Moscow, more because it was a little less familiar, it was so good to see these places I’d read about and long imagined.

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Top to bottom: St Isaacs, The Bronze Horseman, Hermitage (green), random interiors, St Nicholas Naval Cathedral (blue), Church of the Spilt Blood (multi coloured), Peter and Paul Fortress (tall spire), St Catherine’s Palace (blue),  Ballet.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Moving home

Today, not six months after last moving, I get the keys to my next place.

When I moved last August, I was assigned the lease by a girl moving to Madrid, knowing it was only for 6 months but hoping it was for longer.  Sadly, the landlord of this property is moving his family in soon and all of us are off to houses new.

The hunt this time was a lot easier.  Still looking for a room in a share house, I saw three.  One was an instant no and the other two were offered to me.  I’m pretty sure I would have been happy in either but I ended up going for the bigger room. All of them in the same hood that I’m currently in.

I haven’t really spoken much about where I live specifically and I’ll probably leave it like that on here.  But know that it’s a pleasant walk to work, near (in terms of transport) my friends and accessible for the city, west end and east end.  It’s got character and history yet is quite residential for somewhere so conveniently located.

I’ll be spending this week’s evenings moving my stuff to the new place.   Such fun, right?  Hopefully this is the last time I need to move in London.


These pics are some I took last weekend as we had our first snowfall of the season.  Taken from my current place, you can actually see my new place in them.  I wasn’t lying when I said I was staying in the ‘hood.
Moved lately? Tips for me?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

From Russia with love–Moscow

I went to Russia a long while ago now.  October 2010.  I’ve blogged about Pskov but not the highlights of the trip (Moscow and St Petersburg) or the reasoning. It was a long dreamt of trip and a fantastic one.  Aside from Pskov, we had a few days in both Moscow and St Petersburg.  Very very different cities, one prettier than the other.  That said, Moscow, was my favourite.  A little less European I guess.  More of it's own character.  More soviet remnants.

We took in Red Square and therein the Lenin Mausoleum, the shops, St Basils.  We toured the Kremlin, sight saw at night, kissed saints in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, shot guns in cold war bunkers, delighted at the chandeliers throughout the metro and ogled the old royal coaches, bible covers and Faberge eggs in the Royal Armory.  We drank vodka by the plenty and took in the old soviet monuments, collected from around the country and moved into the Fallen Monument Park

The one thing that surprised me the most about Moscow were the posers and the photographers.  All through the parks, young girls and ladies were posing (Tyra style) with their friends taking photos.  It was a constant photo shoot.

An intriguing city, full of contrasts and certainly worth a visit (but not somewhere I'd ever call home)

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Have you ever had any desire to travel to Russia?