Thursday, October 31, 2013

Londinium, I.

Apparently I live in London now. Which is weirdly not that weird at all. It was at first, for about two and a half weeks. Then that wore off and now, a whole month in, it seems strangely normal. That might wear off too though. But there you go. It's so familiar in so many ways. And yet entirely different.

Here's the first street art picture I took here, after about a week (that is weird, I've taken hardly any photos):


Space Invaders. Seems apt. I've definitely invaded this space, and it has invaded me.

And I've seen this artist's work in many places in the past, around this city and others. So that also seemed apt as a beginning. And a continuation.

No photos of most of where I've been or what I've done.

On the way towards the Thames one day passed a building sprouting a lot of greenery:


It had an old piano and a pram among other items, and also hosted the Happy-Go-Lucky funeral parlour:


After nearly two weeks did wander down to the Southbank. As a public space it is derided as touristy, but it is pretty impressive to be fair. And it has a lot of art, street and other kinds.


Have you heard the news? Well you should have:


Not going to get into a discussion of 'sanctioned' vs illegal streetart here, just liked some of these pieces:



But soon came upon my real reason for going to the Southbank:


A cheese festival. OK some people had evidently come for the 'and wine' part of the festival, but not me. Above are the proud Welsh family where I got my first proper cheese of my new life is this dairily-well-endowed (not Dairylea!) country. Fairly delicious and I was verily happy by the end of the day.

A large group of preposterously multi-ethnic and multi-coloured (in clothing) children were lined up two-by-two beside this playground two storeys up outdoors on the Southbank, before being released by their adults and running to play on the shapes and toys strewn about. Many of them were dressed (deliberately?) in bright monochrome outfits. I was too inhibited to take a proper photo so you can't really get a full impression from this:


Nice to see use of public play spaces.

Here they just went the whole hog on brutalism, unlike our halfhearted hideousness back home. Makes it kind of beautiful:


There was some interesting repurposing of lorry containers:


Including some disconcertingly cantilevered ones:


Finished up with a walk over the Thames. Because, y'know, it is London after all.


This week I walked into a pub with some new acquaintances/colleagues (will they become friends? What would that require? Is 'making new friends' even possible in a meaningful sense any more? God I'm old. But I think it is. Possible I mean. Probably (hopefully) throughout life.) and realised it was an 'Irish' pub. Hadn't even made it one month as an Irish person in London without that happening. Hardly surprising. Anyway. I ripped open a packet of crisps and put it on the table for people to share and no-one batted any eyelid. It was expected. A Canadian woman got more crisps later on and ripped them open too. It's something I never used to do, until a few years ago, when having seen people do it countless times I started doing it consciously too. Not just handing around the crisppacket for people to share but ripping it around so that the crisps are sort of sitting in a pile on a shiny sheet of opened out flattened packet on the table. It seems somehow friendlier. More open. These little cultural similarities make it seem like I'm in some other part of my usual home. But I'm not. I'm in an entirely different home. It feels more like a different life, than a different place. But so far a pretty good one.


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