Monday, 20 August 2012


This weekend was quite random.

First, on Saturday, I reserved my afternoon for a mysterious experience in Hoxton. I think I found it through this week's Le Cool newsletter, and as soon as I read the description, I signed in to get my slot for the day. Actually, it was the fact that it involved finding out about the location by means of clues sent days in advance and reading about it what made it quite interesting for me.

The event was called Traces, and it was basically a very elaborated art/furniture/jewellery display by upcoming artist inspired on the location and the theme around it.

The clues lead, drop by drop (actually, a few of them spreaded around the area, literally posted in random places) by email and Twitter, narrowing the location around Shoreditch and providing with a big of insight and history about the area, but specifically in the corner of Hoxton Overground Station. Just there in the corner: a derelict Victorian Pub in 32 Cremer Street, formerly called Harwar St. The team made a research on the archives to find out that the upstairs part of said pub, used to be a brothel (and one of the reasons was that it was a normal practice at the time, not to specify on the registry of the establishment the type of activity carried out). From them, the team developed a story, some characters and found the group of artist to base their pieces on it.

The result was a candlelit building, hidden behind a green main door, with a dense atmosphere very well recreated with the help of dried flowers, wood and all sorts (plus the +30 degrees hitting the streets of London at that time, that made it more victorian-realistic but a bit unbearable).

Everything was touchable, smellable and obviously observable. Actually, the story was so elaborate that there were (fictional) love letters from clients to the girls showing their love and subsequent anger for being ignored, very clearly portrayed in the evolution of the handwriting (the last letter of the admirer had a very clear upset calligraphy).

Such a peculiar way of exhibiting artists artwork. Definitely worth popping around, but what a pity not to be able to capture some images of the rooms.

Some more info about the pieces here.

Although for some reason I was expecting a treasure hunt or more mystery solving in there, I thought that showcasing pieces this way is a really good idea. Much more engaging, fun and different (oh well, and FREE).

And then my usual Sunday street art hunt, that normally ends up in Shoreditch, as it the epicentre for most of the pieces of a big chunk of artists. I went straight to Ebor St to, first of all, take evidence of the new Flip's piece.
Nice fluorescent squid with a furry cat (?) on top. Flip

Being already in the area, I remember I read about the Mexican Festival going on this weekend in Rich Mix, so I decided to pop around to sneak in and get the latest edition of the free musical magazines around.

As per usual, I took a look at the downstairs part, where the cafeteria is, as it always shows interesting little exhibitions. Actually, I went there back in May to check CityzenKane's stuff within touching distance and I loved it.

Surprise: I came across a lot of little postcards sticked to the walls. The space was empty, but there was Sarah Hyndman. Sarah is actually the person behind the exhibition, so as soon as she saw that I was quite interested, she introduced herself and briefed me into the concept of the Project.

It is called Random Project 2012, and it is a project made by people all around the world. The idea starts from choosing a number from 1 to 100. Each number is related to a specific word, so once chosen, the participants had to design a postcard related to that word and London.
The result is therefore, an interpretation of the views of Londoners and visitors towards that That given word and the city; or literally citing:

Random Project 2012

A growing collection of postcards which are created by everybody. These celebrate 2012 and are visually documenting a historic year. Curated by Sarah Hyndman.

Sarah's idea is to ultimately, by the end of the year, order all the postcards chronologically to get a better picture of the feelings of the participants towards the City, specially to be able to detect the change of behaviour or awareness towards the Olympics games, before and after.

Just as Sarah was explaining to me the concept I was getting more and more excited about it. I am aware of how blindly I am in love with London, but some others are not as much. Probably people born and raised here have seen enough of it, or tourist may have a hard time when coinciding with some disruptions in the tube; others may have the most exciting trip of their lives and others may find London just dull and overcrowded.

But it is that essence, the pros and cons, the black and the white, the good and the bad and the colourful range of opinions and points of view in between what makes it exciting. For such an overcrowded yet lonely city, this is a great way of putting together all the thoughts and make it a bit warmer.

Bank Holiday.

People may or may not agree with the presence of the Queen in this country, but the fact that the Jubilee is celebrated and involves a Bank Holiday is reason enough to be happy.


A visitor from Amsterdam and the ticket evidence of his/her trip to the Olympic Site
Great British Sunday with a Roast
Looks like it is getting a bit crowded at 10 Downing St. One at a time! (Oh, and a bit of summer romance of Boris and David).

Somebody was quite happy for Wiggins

Because we all know that diamond is made of carbon. Just as graphite, but different structure.

'This is not like home'. Is it better? Is it worse?

OH-O. I am in your pants. This one confused me. H2O? Water? I tried to applied my organic chemistry knowledge but couldn't come up with a solution. What can be in your pants with so many OH and O groups? The first thing I though was sugar, but then, it is a bit strange.


London. The COOLest capital! A bet this person came when it was pouring rain. Still, a lovely drawing of the city (observe the fact that is full of pigeons hehe)
I liked this one a lot. I suppose the given word was SILVER, easily linked to Silver medal for example. But is is funny how this person has related silver to grey silver hair. I would say that this person is quite young but is starting to get his/her first and becoming conscious about it. Still, he/she dignifies them by naming them Silver instead of the ordinary and depressing grey. Good one.
Somebody had a nice and peaceful view of the full moon laying on the grass.

Full-on football fan and fervent twitter user. I loved the way the person captured the reaction of the famous social network with all the hashtags (#Euro2012) involved and the users.

Academy Awards 2012. 'Most Miserable' performance in a feature film. A hope this person was talking about the closing ceremony.

The impressive thing is that the participants come from all around the world. From Sao Paulo to Mumbai, and all ages.

The worse thing is that I almost didn't get to see this. Just when I arrived at Rich Mix, Sarah was taking the last pictures to shut the doors of the exhibition in less than an hour.


But Random Project is not finished. As I said, the project will wrap up in December, with a big layout of the time scale and the evolution of the city from the point of view of resident and visitors in Postcard format. Needless to say, there is still time to send more, so do it:


Pick a number between 1 & 100 and send it to
We'll email you your word and full details.

But talking about randomness... what's going on lately at the Sunday (Up) Market in Brick Lane?

Climbing walls apparently...

Arrow of love? Robin Hood came all the way from Nottingham to see the Olympics? A little Viking invasion?

I will find out, but that will be another story


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Open letter

Dear London (or maybe LOCOG?),

I am a bit angry, and you know that I don't like saying this in public.

On Monday, we all woke up to the hangover of the Olympic games. Tourists are still wandering around the tube spending their last days in the city, BBC kept reporting until very early in the morning talking about the games, and Metro greeted us good morning with a full-on colour spread of the recap of last night.

But I am sort of traumatised right now. It is the second night  that the great Olympic Ceremony gets spoiled and we end up watching it at home.

See, without trying to sound pretentious, I have, very successfully, planned a lot of my weekends for the last few months, for me and my housemates to do things around and have lots of fun. 9 out of 10, all the planning was spot-on executed, with just minor incidents (easily amended). But in these Olympic Games, it has just gone wrong all the time, and my proud title of Events Organiser has been dangerously damaged.

I need to maintain my reputation.

For the closing ceremony I tried to apply all my management skills, so I carefully organised an agenda for the day. For the evening, we prepared a picnic bought in the morning (thanks 3x2 Waitrose) -- at the end, we ended up spending much money that buying food at stalls -- with amounts of food and drinks equivalent to 3 days of fasting, blankets and umbrellas for a foreseeable rainy evening and double the enthusiasm than the previous time. At the end of the day, it was the closing ceremony, who would like to watch it?. Unfortunately, as the Opening Ceremony left the standards above expectations, and even though Haggerston Park was the perfect place last time and it was recommended by certified sources, the queue when we reached there was longer than the queue around the Vatican on a 3rd of August. Reaching almost two hours before didn't help at, as the venue was apparently at full capacity already. But we went there to stay. We could not fail YET* another time again, so we kept queuing ignoring the one-out one-in warning until show time.

*I keep saying YET again. For the opening ceremony we failed by going to Hyde Park in search of free big screens.

And the doors didn't open.

We had failed again and it was too much to risk it to Victoria Park (chance to take Boris Bikes?) and I had no recollection of Boxpark showing it in this occasion.

With the tail between our legs and the cans of, now warm, Pimms snoring in our bags, we switched to mango Rubicon and headed home once again, to at least, feel safe in our basement.

Just when the defeat was tasting bitter than ever, we realised that this ceremony was not like the opening. I sat in my sofa stuffing myself with all my 3x2, speechless of what I was watching. Rumours of One Erection Direction playing while we were heading home were confirmed, just as I saw George Michael on stage boring the crowd in his leather total look (to the amusement of my friend R, that just before GM showed up on stage, he asked me: - Is he in jail right now?). By that time, Twitter was on fire praying for GM to sing Last Christmas and at least my bitterness was being washed away.

At that point, the ceremony was turning into a massive mash-up / variety show that was feeling a bit like a joke when the producer of the show gave Jessie J stage time for more than 3 songs, with an outfit to pretend that she was half naked (or pretending to be just covered in 'jewels') singing that it is not all about the price tag, while riding on a Rolls Royce with no seatbelt on (hello? Health & Safety?).

I suffered something close to a sugar rush caused by the failed picnic and the fact that I was not enjoying what I was watching. In fact, I was about to go to bed when Norman Cook, also known as Fat Boy Slim, showed up in a giant inflatable octopus DJing a couple of his hits from the 90s that at least, used to be mega tunes.

And the Spice Girls also showed up (note that I am ignoring the fact that Ed Sheeran also showed up to sing semi-acoustic backed up with some guys from Pink Floyd), and at least we laughed a bit watching Boris shaking his bootie (while we all secretly were hoping for another zip-line moment to rejoice ourself photoshopping it).

Monty Python had their slot too.

London (or LOCOG), I must point out that I am totally conscious that the showtime timeline is proving totally wrong in my arguments, but it is due to the confusion of the day of the event that still prevails today at this point. But you should not blame it. Russell Brand showed up at some point dressed in skinny trousers stolen from Alice in Wonderland, surrounded by women and singing through a megaphone (and he was not singing live). Summer of '69 meets circus and who knows what. Again, I was speechless.

At some point Beady Eye showed up, and sang Wonderwall. For some reason, it felt painful to see Liam.

All of a sudden, out of the blue (I keep citing Adele for some reason), British fashion. BOOM!! the QUEENs of the Catwalk. Naomi and Kate where there for the world to see. Obviously, this helped to build up the WTF sensation up to that point.

And talking about Queen, Muse was there, playing their new Olympic song. Although Matthew Bellamy's goatee is not my cup of tea (somebody please tell him, it does not look good on him), his glittery black suit was totally appropriate for the cheap Vegas show that was going on, and still he was totally pulling it off.
Can't remember the order, but at some point, the distortion pedal was whacked by the (rumoured -- gotta love the old discussion forums) grey wig-ed up Brian May, that at least managed to wash away (yet again) the mega cheesy show that we were all witnessing.

Then, from the corner of my eye, and my screen, I saw a leg with a flesh-coloured stocking, and I swear I started praying to avoid my worse fears: Please, dont let Jessie J be in stage ONCE again. My prayers didnt work, and I was there, watching it speechless, and I thought about throwing my leftover meal-deal hoisin duck wrap to the TV, but refrained of doing so because, after all, it was not the TV's fault. But still, with all the great musicians in the UK, why does Jessie J have to sing 4 times?

Oh, Kaiser Chiefs were also there. They should have played I predict a Riot, at least for a bit of piss-taking.

But yeah, Queen + naked lady finished a very loud and terrible We Will Rock You (how predictable) and very abruptly Boris came back on stage to do what he likes the most: waving flags (no embarrassing situation, unfortunately). And that was it: the handover to Brazil, with also a very blah show, that not even Alessandra Ambrosio could cheer up, because, let's admit it; she may have an amazing body (Victoria's Secret Model) but she is not the best example of brazilian moves at all (zzZZZZzz).

I went to bed glad that I didn't pay for it.

And then, apparently, The Who closed the act.

By the way London, for your information, please find bellow 15 things that sum up the event and makes us realised about what we have learnt from the ceremony.

But well, in spite of the jinx, I must admit that the games. I actually miss them a bit.

Plus wandering around London was better than ever during this fortnight. 

But still, you'd better make it up for the failure, London.

Yours truly,


PS. Where was the Queen, by the way?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Sweet Revenge

Any curious mind or person a bit attentive to detail can easily spot the bright pink gum and pearly white teeth all over the place in London.

A bit of google action and you can easily find out that the author is known as Sweet Toof and it is signature confectionery sweety.

And it happened just by chance, that I found myself, for a second week in a row, on a Friday evening at Hackney Wick, buildings away from where I explored last time, at the opening of Sweet Toof exhibition called Sweet Revenge, at Colour Works, and run by the High Roller Society (and once again, thanks to Facebook I found out about it).

I really didn't know what to expect, but went ahead.

Safe and sure of where I was heading to, unlike the first time that I stepped on the Wick, I easily found my way to it (plus there was a sign)

And there it was: a full warehouse full of pink teethy satisfaction

The Messenger

Bad guts

Strip tease

Sweet vanity (?). Probably one of my favourites

 Burning Candy

Bright lights. Big City. My second favourite

Somebody has a sweet toof indeed

When there are gums, teeth and sweets involved, a toothbrush is a must.

I Toof Hackney Wick. A poster of this is included on the last issue (#2) of The Wick

A bit of the good old merchandise

Brilliant one, just by the entrance. Can't mention teeth without having a fang snatcher 

For the enjoyment of the visitors...

People was having so much fun with it!

Even with the Jailed version...

Can't have an opening without a bar


Tuff City United

Off my line

The night is yours

Daisy daisy. Good one too

And yet again, I come across The Wick

 Some nice chaps breakdancing to make the evening more entertaining

Graffiti is for Losers t-shirt

Toof-fan (well, I assumed that it was a fan, for some strange reason - well, it was quite hot)

Aw... needless to say, I loved the exhibition. It was great fun

Nice engineered solution

And the sun was starting to set as I went out

Never underestimate the views from the Overground staircase

And the Olympic Stadium

Oh look! A sweet roof in the wild!

Awww, nice little relaxed an teethy Fridays.

And the Olympics almost over. But that's another story...