October 30, 2010
Hello! I started writing this a couple of months ago (early September), but got interrupted by the birth of our son Alexander. To further complicate life we had an office move and some rather stressful work situations. It’s now nearly November and the first time I’ve looked properly at my website. I’ve decided against finishing the full review of the day, partly through failing memory but mostly, having re-read the unedited version it was dull as fuck. I want to post the remainder anyway because it was a truly ace day and it’s nice to have a reminder. This is why I am not a professional blogger.
Our baby is due in the next few weeks so I’m confined to the local vicinity for the next couple of months. My first War in the Park was a great last day out of the summer and a good chance to catch up with London (and Southampton) friends who I really don’t see often enough.
I went up with Emily and Katie, unfortunately Lady K couldn’t make it as ready-to-burst pregnancy doesn’t fit in so well with guerrilla festivals and sitting on muddy ground for hours.
War in the Park is an annual outdoor event featuring poetry, spoken word and unplugged acts, the official description:
We take over a space in a park which we announce a day or two before.
We advertise it by hijacking phone-ins on Radio 1 and XFm.
We book the best acoustic acts and the most amazing spoken word artists.
We book rock, industrial, metal and electronic acts and force them to play totally unplugged.
We get people to burn stuff.
This is WAR.
100% free, 100% untraceable, 100% uncontrollable.
This year WitP was in an abandoned playground in the corner of Burgess Park (Camberwell, just off the Old Kent Road).
Due to overplanning we turned up half an hour early. Tried to find a cafe of some sort but didn’t know the area at all and were both too damn lazy to work out how to use the apps on our phones to find the nearest eating facility. We walked aimlessly down the Old Kent Road hoping to find somewhere that matched our annoyingly middle class requirements. We walked the wrong way for about 45 minutes, passing nothing but manky looking KFC clones, ‘Saunas’, assorted religious buildings (lots of ‘Holy Ghost’ churches), hardware stores but nothing edible. Walked back the way we came and found plenty of options two minutes from where we started. After a bit of procrastination we went into a Bolivian restaurant which turned out to be pretty much targeted at the local Bolivian community. Food was excellent (mountain of roast pork, potato and something I had never seen before), occupants were friendly and had a chuckle at me when I tried the chili sauce which nearly killed me.
Stopped on the way back to the park for supplies. We bought a 2 litre bottle of something that looked like a soft drink called “SELECTO!” it was technically a soft drink but was fucking horrific and contained sugar than should be legal. I managed to drink the entire bottle throughout the day for lack of any other option. The next day I had a bastard of a SELECTO hangover. Not great.
We were about two hours late to WiTP, we wandered around aimlessly looking for it eventually bumped in to Yvonne and friend who pointed us in the right direction, conveniently right beside where we had started in a disused playground area with a raised area to one side, almost like a magical glen of drunk musicians and poets.
The gig itself was marvelous, a great mix of bands and poetry, unfortunately I don’t remember the names of most of the acts but everyone was ace. We turned up just as DeathBoy were about to start, Adam on acoustic guitar and Scott (cheating a little) using a battery powered speaker for backing. Lost Again, Parasite and So I Said You Died, DeathBoy worked well as an (almost) acoustic act managing to get across the energy and emotion pretty well without amplification.
Next up were the bombastic Bleak with typical style Anton took to the stage area wearing a cowboy hat, mirrored shades and smoking a large cigar. A more traditional setup than many of the other acts a Bleak acoustic set is not far removed from a Bleak plugged in set. The band played a storming set of their very own style of blues rock with Anton storming round the park in his theatrical manner, during the set he held up a herbal viagra pill and swallowed it with much ceremony. Musically they were as together as ever with Tim perched on the stage/raised area doing his usual guitar wonder, Yvonne devoid of her usual full drum kit giving it some on a hand drum and Rachel’s backing as brilliant as ever. This was Tim’s last Bleak gig (and IAI gig) before moving to Berlin, very glad I made it.
I Am Immune opened with a rather too pissed Pete apologising to the audience before they even started both for his state of drunkenness and that they were an electro-rock band so might not work so well as an acoustic act. They held it together pretty well to start with, with Pete balancing rather precariously on the raised bit above Tim and winning the day by turning round during the set yelling “I’m taking it to the bridge” before legging it to the little wooden bridge behind the staging area.
…. and it’s two months later and I can no longer remember much detail from the day. I really enjoyed some of the poetry, which is a nice change. This Is Radio Silence were staggeringly good. A poet chap convinced the audience to help him achieve the first ever poetry based stage dive. My camera died just before This Is Radio Silence came on. We got home in on piece and it was a lovely day.
Here’s some photos… The full set is on flickr here.
… and then the camera died
November 21, 2009
I am getting old. I know we did three day trips to London in the last couple of months but I absolutely cannot remember where we went on which days. I know we did the V&A twice (and still didn’t see everything properly) and we wandered round Hyde Park a lot but that’s about it. This worries me. What else has fallen out of my memory? Did I go shopping with my cock out last week? I have no idea.
I took a few photos on the day we did the V&A and Hyde Park, most were a bit too fuzzy. It seems I have old man shaky hands to go with my failing memory. I’m 33 for fucks sake.
Most of the shots I took were for reference (a load of religious bits and pieces and a bucketload of skylines), most will not be uploaded as they are very dull out of context. I’m quite happy with this one:
Why the hell had I never been to the V&A before? It’s possibly the best place in the world ever (this week). Seriously, I can’t start to explain how inspirational that place is. I’m not going to try and review it, I find it hard to string a sentence together as it is without pretending I’m in some way qualified to provide critical evaluation of a subject of which I have minimal knowledge or experience.
We were fortunate to see the Telling Tales exhibition on our first visit which was a thing of disturbing wonder. A dark but beautiful selection of pieces, mostly furniture, arranged in a wonderfully fairly tale arrangement. The sound design was excellent and creepy and the exhibition setting really added to the experience (from the subjective angle of someone who has been to far too few galleries to make a comparison), although one of the sections was a little over-mirrored which freaked me out a little (not a sign of old age, just a sign of not getting out of the house enough). Anyway I loved it and balls to anyone who disagrees. Go to the V&A it’s fun and inspirational.
We wandered round Hyde Park for a while on the way to Selfridges. It’s easy to forget there’s so much green space in London. We probably see more nature on a day trip to London than a week of staying in Maidenhead where we live on the other side of the road to the damn moorland.
The whole set is here. I need to get some more practice at landscapes.
I nearly had to physically remove Lady K from the Serpentine Gallery. She can just about deal with ‘proper art’ (old paintings) but gets a little angry at anything she deems to be modern art. The gallery had an exhibition of fairly aggressively modern art including a smashed car, piles of newspapers, buckets on a shelf, etc. I wasn’t too fussed, I prefer my art visually interesting (although not necessarily attractive) but I can understand the purpose of more thought provoking works. Karen on the other hand looked ready to kick the nearest artist in the balls and had started mumbling hatred, I daintily removed her from the premises before she spontaneously combusted.
We wandered round a few of the notable London shops; Fortnum and Mason, which was nice but we didn’t buy anything. Liberty, interesting building, there was some cool furniture I will never be able to afford and a nice chocolate department I could afford stuff in. We also visited Selfridges, which I enjoyed less. I may be a middle class twat who sometimes shops in Waitrose and M&S but fuck me, that place is such a temple to consumerist excess I wanted my fucking head to explode and take out as much of the building and it’s yapping fuckhead customers as possible, of course I could have just been in an arse because my feet hurt. Barbie pink Christmas trees can fuck right off along with gold plated mobile phones, jewel encrusted mp3 players and other such shit. Uck. We visited the ‘Wonder Room’ which is so laden with needless luxury it threatens to break reality. On the positive the food court was nice. Mmmmm…. tasty hypocrisy.
We probably went to some other places, but my oldmanhead can’t remember much else.
November 11, 2009
Yes, yes, yes, I suck balls at updating. Work has been a right mountain of pants (and other weak excuses). Myself and my good Lady K have been out a few times in the last couple of months and I’ve made the effort to take my camera. I only realised this afternoon when I ran out of memory that I FAIL at doing anything with my photos once I’ve taken them. As of this afternoon I had 583 on sticks.
We went up to London with Scott and Emma a few times recently to go and see the stuff that we usually pass up as being ‘just down the road, we can do it anytime’. First trip we covered the Natural History Museum, The Science Museum and Harrods.
The Natural History Museum is absolutely awesome. It doesn’t appear to have changed much since I went as a child (it probably has) so it was a brilliantly nostalgic experience. Some of the exhibits seemed amusingly outdated, but this just gave it an extra layer of charm. The age of the exhibits is pretty much beside the point anyway, they are fascinating, fun and informative.
The building itself is beautiful, there’s so much detail to it it’s hard to imagine the effort that went into it. There’s carvings around all the doorways DIFFERENT carvings around all the doorways, seriously. From room to room the details change, always in the same style but always slightly different. Some have birds, some monkeys, lizards, plants and flowers and then this:
I blame either Lovecraft or Geiger any ideas?
Next up was the Science Museum. I’ll be honest, I was less excited but possibly more through my aching feet than anything to do with the museum itself. We didn’t manage to cover much of it, it was getting late and my feet were starting to hate me. It was brilliant, the space section was especially inspiring. I really wanted to see the historical medicine section on the top floor but my feet and K’s desire to see the HORROR that is Harrods killed that plan (for now).
HARRODS. Well beat me with a tacky stick from the tackiest shop in tacky land (Harrods). I had been here once before in my youth, but obviously being young and unaware of such things I hadn’t noticed the pure amazing lack of taste and decency in the decor. Kitsch doesn’t even begin to cover it. It’s fun in a tasteless manner. The massive over the top Ancient Egyptian style decor coupled with the OPERA SINGER SINGING DOWN THE FUCKING ESCALATORS did have me wondering if I had fallen through a portal to a world where fairground ghost rides were decorated by drag queens. Karen loved it (of course). It’s now her new favourite shop in the whole world ever. She ran around the Christmas department like a mental and didn’t want to leave. We bought some nice decorations and chocolates (NOT the £10,000 box of chocolates, I mean SERIOUSLY, how does that work?).
Then we went home.
Here is some photos:
Here’s the entire set. I was too busy looking at stuff WITH MY REAL EYES to take many photos, unlike various mentals I saw in the museums who never removed the camera from their faces.
I am Bob. This is my blog. It is an outlet and a substitute for real life. I have anxiety issues and I like silence.