Thursday, 29 November 2012

Adore and Endure each other

Olek In London from olek on Vimeo.

Crocheted artwork on the streets of London. The four large knitted pieces quote Martin Luther King Jnr’s famous letter, written while in an Alabama jail in 1963 “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott and opened in 1933. It originally had only two 300 foot chimneys. The other two were added during the 1940’s. Closed in 1983 the site became a symbol of Thatcherism when her and her friends, who all knew the price of everything but the value of nothing,  ripped this Grade II listed building apart, concocting countless theme park schemes, none of which came to fruition.

Let’s hope the Rafael Vinoly plan gets off the ground and this iconic symbol of a bygone industrial age can be put to good use.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Carnaby Street

As if the Rolling Stones will not earn enough money from their current tour (some tickets for the O2 Arena are £406 each, no your eyes do not deceive you, that’s four hundred and six pounds each) they have now branched out into Christmas decorations.  Carnaby Street is currently festooned and bedecked with the famous Jon Pasche Lips and Tongue, a corporate logo as famous as MacDonald’s or Starbucks. A ‘pop up’ shop has also appeared selling Rolling Stones ‘European merchandise’.  They say ‘it’s only Rock ‘n’ Roll’ but it feels more like a corporate takeover. Carnaby Street is now populated by retailers and tourists who still think it’s the centre of 'swinging' London. I guess it’s been a long time since the Stones stepped out of their limo’s.

Parallel to Carnaby Street is Newburgh Street. It was here in 1954 that photographer Bill Green opened Vince the very first menswear boutique in London. Folklore has it that Pablo Picasso once bought a pair of suede trousers from the shop and according to jazz legend George Melly it was the only place “that measured your inside leg each time you bought a tie”. The shop featured in the 1960 Wolf Mankowitz story “Expresso Bongo”

Saturday, 17 November 2012

2Lo Calling, Damian Albarn

On 14th November 1922 the BBC used the 2Lo transmitter to make its first ever broadcast. To celebrate the 90th anniversary the BBC commissioned Damian Albarn to create a piece to be broadcast on all 55 BBC radio stations at 17.33 GMT. The first scheduled simultaneous broadcast since 1922.

The "snapshot of the airwaves" features the chimes of Big Ben, bird song plus the talking clock pips and was broadcast live from the London Science Museum. What a great way to celebrate such a momentous event.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Denmark Street

Denmark Street is London’s version of Tin Pan Alley. The street can be traced back to the 1730’s but is now famous for its musical instrument shops where grown men stare and drool over a vintage Stratocaster or Les Paul. 

The street has a more illustrious past as Jimi Hendrix, The Stones and the Kinks have all recorded in Denmark Street. The Sex Pistols lived and recorded demos at No 6. The graffiti and marks they left on the walls have been preserved for future generations. I’m sure the convent of Santa Maria della Grazie will not lose any visitors as a consequence. Denmark Street was also the home of Augustus Siebe (1788 - 1872) the man who invented the driving helmet (just thought I'd throw that fact in for good measure).

I had been tempted to include these in the 'Before they pass' section as who knows how long these shops can exist due to the exorbitant cost of retail space in London.