Shakira - Loba / She Wolf - amazing!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shakira has a new song. It is amazing.

My review:

  • Squelch disco.
  • HORN!
  • Disco
  • Honking horn!
  • Beeps!
  • Shakira sounds like she's drunk on a vocoder.
  • HORN!
  • HORN!
  • Spanish singing!
  • Synth-laser!
  • Head-flick.
  • Ooh, quick fire rap-singing.
  • Ugh grunt.
  • Synth-laser! (head-flick.)
  • High-as-the-sky chorus.
  • "Ah-woooooooo!" wolf sound.
  • Heavy breathing.
  • HORN!
  • More Spanish singing.
  • Synth-laser
  • Head-flick.
  • Quick-fire & ugh.
  • Chorus.
  • HORN!
  • "Ah-wooooooooooo!"
  • Bridge = Ghetto-blaster humping moment.
  • Breathing, breathing, breathing.
  • Massive, OTT crescendo.
  • More drunk vocoder.
  • HORN!
  • Synth-strings!
  • Handclaps!
  • HORN!
  • Heavy breathing

  • And it's called SheWolf. Brilliant. Even if it is crying out for a big gay hands-in-the-air remixing.

Tel Aviv Bauhaus building flash mob

Monday, June 29, 2009

Yesterday, I took part in a flash mob. I never thought I'd say that. What with summer downpours, it almost threatened to be a "flush mob". Boom boom.

The purpose of the flash mob - organised by the Jewish Community Centre in London - was to build a replica of a Tel Aviv Bauhaus-style building.

This is part of their celebrations of Tel Aviv's 100th anniversary. I had no idea that Tel Aviv was only 100 years old, originally founded on the outskirs of another town, Jaffa.

And as the city grew in the 1920s and 1930s, German Jewish architects introduced Bauhaus architecture to Tel Aviv. Now, Tel Aviv's White City, contains more than 5,000 Modernist-style buildings inspired by the Bauhaus school and Le Corbusier. Apparently, Tel Aviv has the world's largest concentration of Modernist-style buildings.

So, yesterday, in Hoxton Square, clad in pink hard-hats, around 20 people made blocks from cardboard boxes, some cardboard balconies and flowers from crepe paper, and our very own Bauhaus building, 17 Emile Zola Street

And then we demolished it.

There's another Tel Aviv bauhaus building flash mob event on July 12. Go, it's great fun.

Tel Aviv bauhaus, being built

Tel Aviv bauhaus, being built 2

Tel Aviv bauhaus, built


Food & Meat-related tube stations

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's a quiet day in our office, and a conversation about Swimbeldon turns turns meatily to Gambledon and a whole afternoon of foody pun fun.

Puns are good.

  • Turnpike Loin
  • Aldgate Yeast
  • Banger Lane
  • Parsnip Green
  • Elephant & Custard
  • Euston Squash
  • Bacon Street
  • Brent Cress
  • Charring Cress
  • Mill Hill Feast
  • Arnos Grape
  • Ladbrook Gravy
  • Marrow-on-the-hill
  • Bean Park
  • Green Pork
  • New Crisp Gate
  • Turnip Green
  • Kings Cross St Parsnip
  • Snout Kensington
  • Hamden Town
  • Whitechipolata
  • Mansion Grouse
  • Offal
  • Turnip Green
  • Maida Veal
  • Shepherds Pie Market
  • Piccalilli Circus
  • Marrowlebone.
  • Brussel square
  • Mint-Imperial Wharf
  • Old meat
  • Lan-pasta Gate
  • Sprout Kensington
  • High-berry & Ice-cream-ton
  • Oxford Circus-cous
  • West-Mince-ter
  • Pimmslico
  • Chutney bridge
  • Seven shish-ters
Any more?

Walbrook - London is a river city

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I took part in Amy Sharrocks' artwork Walbrook on Friday, a walk which recreated the course of London's underground and lost Walbrook river. About 30 people, all wearing blue, were tied together and walked the course of the river from Islington to Cannon Street Bridge.

Amy spoke before the walk about us being water: we were tied in formation resembling the molecular structure of water, and we, as humans, are 90% water. In this walk, we were water in the form of a river. Her artworks deal with how Londoners interact with water.

As we set off, I found that, rather than learning a lot about where we went through, the geography of the city was slipping past. I was talking and learning about other people in 'the river' - almost oblivious to what was going on around us.

Maybe all rivers do that. They flow silently, unseeingly through landscapes, especially cities. People are busy building over and around them, on their banks, but the rivers unknowingly continue flowing, doing what they do.

I noticed placenames with watery connotations, but they slid past. I was able to photograph some, some I missed.

The experience really resembled being a river - our sense of onward momentum was very strong, the movement like a river current.

The blue elastic ribbons holding us together were sinuous - at one point I was wrapped and surrounded, later I only had two ribbons tied behind me. It moved around silently, unbeknownst to me, like water when you swim.

We set off with a great pace, slowed at some points and sped up again. Having sluiced slowly through the city, we reached the Thames in silence.

Walbrook: walkers

Walbrook: water along the way

Walbrook: where Walbrook & Thames meet

99 cone

Friday, June 19, 2009

99, by drinksmachine

It's summer! Yesterday, I had a 99 cone - lovely ice-cream and flaky chocolate. Lovely.

I started to wonder, though, why is it called a 99? But, sadly, it seems, nobody really knows. The term was used as early as 1936 in a Cadbury's ad which said "Try a 99 ice cream with Cadbury's Dairy Milk Flake chocolate"

There are some wild theories, such as:

  • There's an idea that the flake chocolate bar is exactly 99mm long, but everything back then was measured in imperial measures.
  • Askeys, a cone-making company, made a cone stamped with "99"
  • An Edinburgh ice cream maker called Arcari claim to have invented the treat in the 1920s and named it after the address of their shop at 99 Portobello High St.
  • The initials of ice cream - IC - is one way to write 99 in Roman numerals... but the usual way is to write it as XCIX

Lots more interesting suggestions on Wikipedia and BBC

Photographers Gallery

Monday, June 15, 2009

I recently submitted some images to the Photographers Gallery in London - not in any professional sense, but for a fun online gallery called Beautiful Disasters, which encourages anyone to upload images they have taken which went wrong, but have something beautiful about them.

I uploaded these two. The first is a building somewhere in the City seen, I think, from Bethnal Green road (or somewhere Hackney / Shoreditch) on a bright February afternoon. The photo came out blurry, but I really like the feeling of this being a balmy high-summer day, and the light reflecting on the building in the foreground.

City skyscraper

The second shows blurred street lights in Cork city, around dusk. It wasn't as dark as the photo implies, but I love the effect of the sky and the light trails.

Blurred street lights, Cork

The gallery is now closed for uploads, but there are many interesting photos to look through.

I also noticed on their site a project called the The World in One City. It aims to take portraits of citizens living in London from all 205 world nations, to be displayed in time for the 2012 Olympics. Fantastic.

What's in San Marino

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I've long wondered exactly what is in San Marino. Just what keeps such a small state afloat and what goes on there?

In my recent trip around Italy, I decided to stop overnight in San Marino. Perched high on a mountain, San Marino city overlooks the rest of the tiny republic. The San Marino flag features three towers on three peaks, the symbol of San Marino.

San Marino panorama II

Cesta tower, San Marino

Guaita tower, San Marino

Tower, San Marino

There are also a variety of tacky-sounding museums (the Museum of Torture, and the like). Mainly, it seems tourism is the prime industry here with souvenir shop after souvenir shop.

Sadly, when the final bus leaves at half past six, San Marino empties. I walked around the town, seeing closed shops, empty bars, empty cafés and empty restaurants. It was all rather disheartening.

Empty street, San Marino

Empty restaurant II, San Marino

Empty restaurant, San Marino

Happily next morning, everything was busy again and San Marino seemed a happy place. So happy, indeed, that the police wear delightful mustard yellow shirts. Lovely San Marino.

футбол! Football with London's Bulgarian fans

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Last night, I watched the Ireland -v- Bulgaria football match with Bulgarian fans, and pretended not to be Irish (bit like Lorraine from The Apprentice).

I went to two venues. Starting in Arda2, a restaurant in Finsbury Park, I joined 5 Bulgarian football fans to watch the match.

Bulgarian football fans in London

Two screens showed the match - one with Irish TV, and the other with Bulgarian TV. Oddly, the sound came from the Irish channel.

I began to question whether these guys actually were Bulgarian. Some of them seemed quite happy to see Ireland take the lead. Then, they were equally happy to see Bulgaria equalise. Add to that, they were speaking to each other in a mixture of English and another language (I can only assume it was Bulgarian).

It was, it's fair to say, a sedate affair - mainly as they sat drinking Coke & J2O and staring out the window.

At half time, I decided to leave the maybe-Bulgarians, and hot-footed it to Green Lanes to Juliana99. If Arda2 was sedate, Juliana99 was comatose. Two men sat inside watching the match in dead silence. The Bulgarian tv commentary was deadpan with a ridiculously low volume.

An old woman sat in the corner clucking and sucking her teeth.

Eventually a few more men arrived. I noted they were all snappy dressers with trendy jeans, designer jackets and t-shirts. The bar owner - in a loud Hawaiian shirt - rather let the side down.

The (boring) match ended in a draw, with the Bulgarians on TV barely cracking a smile. I hung around afterwards, hoping to hear some Bulgari-pop. But there was none. The bar just emptied out, leaving me to wonder where all London's Bulgarians are. Maybe they've been credit crunched?

Hey, Mr DJ

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I'm DJing tonight, at London Media Gays in barcode. Should be an ace evening of retro and nu-pop! My last foray at DJing was playing foreign pop at the long-gone Club Contact, and I'm hoping to revive the foreign pop tradition tonight by playing lots of - now v trendy - ace Swedish pop, such as:

Velvet - Chemistry

Alcazar - Burning

Maybe Infernal - Redefinition

and, of course, Agnes Carlsson - Release Me