In April this year I moved to East London. I thought I’d be blogging almost daily as there is always something going on. In truth I’ve been so sidetracked by addictive coffee, wandering down Spitalfields alleys to find old buildings inscribed with Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor, discovering art in unexpected places. I started an East London section in June and since then have not updated it, or this blog much in general. Like many great ideas are born from bacon so was this blog post today.
Today, after a kick up the bum from my sister, I woke with a determination to blog. I decided to kickstart my brain by walking down to Dishoom for breakfast. I fell in love with Whisky Sours in their Permit Bar over my birthday and now I have tasted the future…. the Bacon Naan. I could dream of recreating this but it would be pointless, nothing could come close. Bacon with barely a trace of fat with coriander, chilli chutney and a hint of cream cheese with a freshly baked naan enveloping it. Washed down with chai of course.
I walked off breakfast along Redchurch Street, discovering lyrics from The National in street art from My Dog Sighs. And it was that band that carried my feet all the way to Chatsworth Road Market. Not my first visit to the area but the first time I’ve visited the market (think Broadway Market before it went too middle-class). Full of families, smiles and Pearly Kings and Queens sipping tea. My main reason for walking up there was to visit Clapton Craft’s pop-up in the LBJ shop. I can’t wait until they have a permanent home as the service was exceptional and choice staggering, I went for Elderflower Mikkeller and it’s taking all my will power not to crack open a bottle as I’m typing. Craft beer is my new safe drunk, pain seems lesser in the morning. I swear by it.
I stopped off at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden before heading back indoors for the afternoon and my walk coming full circle. As beautiful in the winter as it is in full bloom. The minute I walk in there I feel my shoulders physically drop (and that was with a back pack stuffed with second-hand books and bottles of beer). I sat down after my wanderings and took stock at how lucky I am to live here. Not just East London but London itself. Come April I’d have been here a decade and truly not a day goes by when I don’t think this. It can come to me at the most ordinary of times, sharing a smile with a stranger at a bus stop. Or it comes on days like this, when I get lost in places now so familiar to me.
1. Tuesday evening we dolled up at the Roundhouse for Arcade Fire, The Reflektors. Red lipstick and a crown of black feathers round my head we were amongst people in outright fancy dress, face paints, mariachi band and sadly the downright dull (those rigid in their seats around us, not so much as twitching into a grin). The view from the seats was amazing, we danced regardless of the dullards & the choreographed crowd dancing to We Exist was utterly moving to behold. Beautiful evening and a good excuse to post their video from the YouTube awards recently.
2. Once Clet Abraham catches the corner of your eye it seems impossible not to notice his signs. Like those who haven’t walked along the road with their eyes fixed on their phones suddenly have a clarity of mind to keep their eyes peeled and look up, you will be rewarded. And every single one will make you smile secretly. He has truly caught my attention and heart, glad he has graced our London streets.
3. Indie guitar bands are very much nudging their way back to the forefront of the music scene (thanks to the likes of TOY, Tame Impala and Temples). All the T’s. The latter played Camden’s Electric Ballroom on Friday and were great to see live. Frontman James Edward Bagshaw looking like a man quietly confident and resplendent in glittering sequins.
4. The KK Outlet on Hoxton Square currently have an exhibition of Anthony Burrill’s work on, I Like It. What Is It? Most known for the above piece, created after he heard an elderly lady speaking to someone in a supermarket. Sound advice to live by.
5. TV is no longer an event, just one inane programme after the other with the occasional bit of brilliance dropped in (Luther, The Escape Artist, Misfits). In a week Doctor Who will celebrate its 50th anniversary and it will be a huge event, few programmes could create such excitement. And if you did miss it for some bizarre reason (and what a well-kept secret) watch the mini episode released this week. The Night of the Doctor. I dare you not to gasp, grin and go giddy.
I’ve not blogged for a while. I was thinking today that a lot of the things I put up on my weekly round ups really inspire me (apart for food, that’s just a primal urge I guess). I’m genuinely grateful that music can move me to tears, books can transport me to another place and London never ever fails to impress and engage me. Anyway, it’s been a brilliant week.
1. I’ve had to try to limit the amount I watch the Spike Jonze directed live music video for Arcade Fire featuring Greta Gerwig. The song Afterlife is hugely emotive but I love how dance really adds to the sentiment behind this track. Frances Ha is definitely my favourite film this year and Great is perfection in this creative genius.
2. I’ve just finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I barely put it down. Cleverly told story of an eccentric and brilliant mother told via traditional fiction interspersed with emails linking the characters together from an author responsible for the likes of Arrested Development and SNL.
3. I’m guilty of emerging from most gigs with the glow of alcohol rosy on my cheeks sighing “that was my gig of the year” on most occasions but Villagers at Heaven under the arches on Thursday really was utterly magical. I think it’s a modern indication of a bands brilliance live by the lack of mobile phones you see glowing in the crowd. I barely saw one, the audience rapt and attention focused on being in the moment.
4. Aldwych disused station tour only opens a handful of times a year and we were lucky enough to travel underground on a guided tour with London Transport Museum. Did you know not only did the station shelter thousands of Londoners during the war but also the Elgin Marbles and armed guards kept watch over the National Galleries collection? The station is a listed building, the history fascinating and has been used for films, shelter and drills during the Olympics last year if something was to go wrong with hundreds of people on the tubes. If you ever get the chance to do this don’t hesitate in booking up. More photos on my instagram.
1. Pizza Pilgrims permanent home on Dean Street in Soho has stolen my heart. Although all that usually takes is somewhere that serves a Negroni (they do) the pizza’s here are the best in London served by happy smiles and polite staff (the complete opposite of how Pizza East seem to be serving people recently). Order the Napoli Salami and you’ll never look at a pepperoni again. I’ll be making many return visits for a pizza fix and next time I want to save room for Affogato (vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso). Two pizzas and four (alcoholic of course) drinks came to £36.50.
2. Aside from my sister chanting “Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher” Have I Got News For You, and especially Ian Hislop, was the first thing to make me not only pay attention to politics and the press (closer bed fellows than we once thought) but to also make me question what I was being fed. That would have been as a teenager (it’s been running for twenty-three years). This week I got to sit in the studio audience, completely in awe and giddy with nerdy happiness. Amazing experience.
3. I was heartbroken when LCD Soundsystem called it a day. But my heart is slowly healing seeing as James Murphy is filling his time remixing, elongating and producing tracks from some of my favourite artists. This week his mix of David Bowie’s Love is Lost.
4. You only have one more week to see The Memory Palace at the V&A, it’s worth dashing to South Kensington for. Hari Kunzru latest work of fiction is a walk in book with illustrations from illustrators, designers and typographers, set in future London. From lamenting the NHS to glimpses of our Olympic Village in ruins. You get to save one memory in this future. In the V&A you get to submit yours at the end.
5. The Science Museum has opened a Media Space and launches with Only In England. Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr. This runs until March 2014, photographers and people curious in our culture and social characteristics would find this fascinating. Both men documented English life, focusing on our seaside towns. Shots of Margate and Broadstairs especially giving me that warm cosy feeling of reminiscing of our family holidays to those destinations. Above is Tony Ray-Jones approach to photography tips, don’t take boring pictures being my favourite. Below is from his note-book.
“British characteristics and qualities.
Love of tradition
Shortly after moving to east London this year the book A Hoxton Childhood by A.S Jasper came my way from my cousin. At the time of reading I had moved to the area where the book is set, an area where my paternal side of the family were born and raised. I blogged back in May how the words in the post script really touched me.
“Be thankful that you were born now and not then. Go forward, but try to be tolerant of your parents along the way”. A.S Jasper.
This Wednesday my aunt and I listened to A.S Jaspers nephew, Richard Penny, read that exact sentence at the books official reissue in the Broadway Bookshop, along with A.S Jaspers son Terry. A cousin brought this book into my life, two cousins have met after researching their family tree and republished this historical document.
Living in the area, and being lucky enough to wander the streets with my Dad and hear his stories has meant the world to me this year. I walk down Crondall Street and laugh at dad telling me about the “Crondall crumpets” (it seems the girls living on this road were once quite up for it). My dad could run street tours on his life in Hoxton.
Until I persuade him to do this A Hoxton Childhood is a real east end family tale, where people still find something to laugh about when all seems hopeless and doomed, that stood by one another. Christmas is lurking fellow book worms, buy a copy for your families and heed those words I quoted above.
1. Any Shoreditch local will recognise George the Dog and John the Artist from his usual spot outside Dishoom on Shoreditch High Street. John Dolan is an amazing London artist and has often found himself homeless, I got to meet both man and dog. He has sat sketching the ever-changing surrounding area over the past couple of years and this has resulted in his first exhibition, hosted by Howard Griffin Gallery. Well known street artists have collaborated with him for the exhibition. When I visited all but one of his paintings had been sold, one that praised David Cameron on a bill board (yet look closer and you’ll see what John really thinks, don’t be fooled). The exhibition is due to end this Thursday but Bird at the gallery told me they’re hoping to extend it. Do whatever it takes to visit. My cockles are throughly warmed this evening.
2. I have just finished Falling and Laughing: The Restoration of Edwyn Collins by Grace Maxwell. Told from Grace’s, Edwyn’s wifes, point of view after he unexpectedly suffered a stroke in February 2005. An honest account of the long road to recovery, the effect it had on both Edwyn and his family, the small and significant triumphs, the precious moments of laughter and the steely determination it takes to keep taking one step at a time. A book that will make you count your blessings and help find perspective.
3. Solange has released a video to accompany her amazing track Lovers In The Parking Lot. I desperately want light up laces and acid house pants now. Stylish and sharp. Oh to have one bone as cool as her in my body.
4. I’ve been meaning to visit Kentish Towns E. Mono since Giles Coren gave it a glowing review in 2011. Slightly tipsy I stumbled in there Saturday, finally at a meaty mecca. I don’t care what zone you live in this place is worth the trek. Friendly service, the shawarma was stuffed full of sweet tasting pickled peppers, crunchy red cabbage, shredded salad, chilli and garlic sauce with chunks of partly fatty, part crisp chunks of lamb. All for £5.
5. Finally the latest video from Local Natives for Ceilings. Hummingbird has to be one of my favourite albums this year. This song wraps up the summer for me, especially seeing flashes of Glastonbury in it.
It’s been a little while since I blogged about Tinnitus, seven months have passed since I wrote my last post I Dread The Quiet Of The Night. In October’s Cosmopolitan I get to talk about Tinnitus in an article called Just Be Quiet by Rosie Mullender (and I truly thank her writing about this). Today I met my new Doctor (not Capaldi), back on another NHS waiting list as I transfer to a hospital closer to where I now live. It seemed like time to blog about it again.
2013 is speeding past me in a blur, I can’t help but feel the older I get the quicker twelve months pass. Come November it will be two years with Tinnitus. I’d love to type that since I was diagnosed medical research has come on leaps and bounds but it seems stagnant. A woefully underfunded area and still little, at best conflicting, understanding around the condition. I am still as much in the dark as I was two years ago. But not alone in the dark, I am with my ever buzzing and ringing companion. Never completely in the silence.
But I am also very much not alone in my waking hours either. Since I started blogging about Tinnitus I have received emails from sufferers. A dear friend has also contracted it and we nudge one another to remember earplugs at gigs. Over dinner last week I chatted to my neighbour, a fellow sufferer. And you know, if there’s one little positive it’s having people to talk to about it that know exactly what it’s like. That you don’t need to try to reach for the words or comparisons. A look says it all between two people who know what it’s like to lie staring at the ceiling unblinking and frustrated. Honestly, unless you have experienced it I don’t think you can quite understand the levels of borderline insanity it can send you at times. I hope that you never do and wish none of us ever had.
Look after your ears beautiful music lovers.