14 November 2009

Last week in London 5

Farewell to our St Pauls flat
Tour of the Houses of Parliament
Jewel Tower
Cartoon Museum
British Museum

Last week in London 4

Trial at the Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court)

12 November 2009

Last week in London 3

St Paul's (including Triforium tour)
Grant's Museum of Zoology
Petrie Museum of Egyptology
Auto-icon of Jeremy Bentham at the University College London

Mew (Shepherd's Bush) 10/11/09

Zookeeper's Boy
Am I Wry? No
Saviours Of Jazz Ballet
Uda Pruda
Introducing Palace Players
Sometimes Life Isn't Easy
White Lips Kissed
Silas the Magic Car
Snow Brigade

Comforting Sounds

Last week in London 2

Hunterian Museum

11 November 2009

Last week in London 1

Last week at Yahoo!

Leaving party
London stuff:
  • Gresham College
  • London Silver Vaults
  • London Transport Museum
  • Roman Bath (behind King's College)
  • Magpie Alley Crypt

Max Reeve's "Londinium" at the Barbican

Heather Nova (Union Chapel) 06/11/09

Truth And Bone
Walk This World
Talk To Me
What A Feeling
Gloomy Sunday / Bare
Heart And Shoulder
Fool For You
Doubled Up In Love
Paper Cup [with contest winner playing flute]
Spirit In You
London Rain
Drink It In
I Miss My Sky [with Sophie Solomon on violin]
You Left Me A Song
Maybe Tomorrow
Out In New Mexico

Walking Higher
Beautiful Storm


Clay pigeon shooting

Halloween party

29 October 2009

October round-up

Lucky Quid screening at the Raindance Film Festival

BFI interviews:
Gaspar Noé
Jane Campion
Clive Owen
Julianne Moore
Nick Park (Wallace & Gromit)

Yahoo legal conference

Farewell Bethlem drinks

Dinner and drinks with Simon and Alex

Watt's Memorial

Liverpool weekend break

Nerina Pallot (ICA) 21/10/09

The Right Side
Learning To Breathe
Why Did I Become Such A Bitch
Geek Love.
Coming Home
Everybody's Gone To War
Real Late Starter
I Don't Want To Go Out

Encore 1:
Your Song / Benny And The Jets / Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting [Elton John medley]

Encore 2:

Manchester weekend break

Arrived in Manchester to find hundreds of police officers lining the streets through the centre of town. Turned out there was going to be a couple of rival groups staging protests that day - some lefty outfit vs the usual bunch of racists. Some of the shops had even been boarded up in preparation, so it clearly wasn't going to be a place for us to hang around. Instead we found our hotel, which was nice and close, and spent a few minutes acquainting ourselves with a map.

Wandered about for a while, past Chinatown and St Peter's square, then killed a couple of hours in the superb art gallery. This had a very eclectic collection, but everything was either very beautiful, or very interesting. There was a little display of etchings by Goya, which were suitably frightful and grotesque. I was especially impressed with their pre-Raphaelite collection, which had another luminescent pastoral scene by William Holman Hunt, and by the grand staircase with its frieze reproduced from the Elgin marbles.

Afterwards we took a guided tour, which was useful, but too slow-paced for our taste. We saw the lovely Midland Hotel, where Mr Rolls first met Mr Royce (and the rest, they say, is history), the old stock exchange (now the Theatre Royale), a flower garden dedicated to Princess Diana, a statue of Abraham Lincoln thanking the city for its anti-slavery stance, the magnificent old library with its carved wooden interior, and finally the site of a massive IRA bombing (a post box was the only surviving structure).

Afterwards we hopped on the shabby little Manchester Eye, that although giddying, gave great views of the city.

The next morning we took the electric train out to the Docklands, which have undergone substantial regentrification, and now provide a variety of interesting architecture to admire. First stop, the Imperial War Museum North, which has been designed to serve as an anti-war memorial. We caught a terrific exhibition on Prisoners of War, which had the actual hobby horse from Stalag Luft III, and took an elevator up to the observation tower.

I then tracked down some moth-eaten old Roman ruins, before entering the Museum of Science & Industry complex for a nosey.

11 October 2009

The Pixies (Brixton Academy) 09/10/09

Dancing The Manta Ray
Weird At My School
Bailey's Walk
Manta Ray

Wave Of Mutilation
I Bleed
Here Comes Your Man
Monkey Gone To Heaven
Mr. Grieves
Crackity Jones
La La Love You
No. 13 Baby
There Goes My Gun
Gouge Away

Wave Of Mutilation (UK Surf)
Into The White

Encore 2:
Where Is My Mind?

07 October 2009


Virgin building's rooftop gardens

Waterhouse retrospective at the Royal Academy of Arts
Samuel Johnson's House
Wellington Arch & Apsley House
Raindance Live!Ammunition!

03 October 2009

Paris - Day 5

Monday 28 September

Breakfast at the famous Les Deux Magots cafe in St Germain, then a brief visit to the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church, before heading to Place du Concord to visit the Orangerie. A gallery of minor impressionist works, the stand-out feature are the two large rooms with wall-length Monets. Quite magnificent, and certainly the best way to get to the heart of what makes Monet such an important artist.

Afterwards we walked to the Louvre, and pulled a good several hours exploring the lesser-travelled galleries. Saw lots of interesting work from Asia/Africa/South America/Pacific, and we particularly enjoyed the Ancient Persian rooms with their exquisite glazed terracotta bricks.

Popped back to our hood to say goodbye to Anthony, grabbed our bags from the hotel, then headed home on the Eurostar (with another delay - this time at the entrance to the Channel tunnel).

We really enjoyed not having to rush about with the other tourists, clamouring to visit the must-sees. Instead we had a leisurely and very pleasurable holiday. Many thanks to Anthony for being such a good guide and a gracious host!

Paris - Day 4

Sunday 27 September

Had brunch outside the Sorbonne University before another day exploring the streets and shops. Walked through a big underground shopping complex near the Pompidou, before picking up some amazing pastries in St Germain and walking to the Jardins du Luxembourg for a picnic (albeit on a park bench).

Went to Anthony's favourite restaurant for dinner, with Maggie and Julian as well. Pretty rich foods (soup with foie gras, duck breast covered in foie gras, you get the idea...), and unusual decour (bras and people's business cards). Capped it off with a little bicycle ride around the Pantheon and our local hood. Great fun!

Paris - Day 3

Saturday 26 September

Found a nice street market to have breakfast in, before visiting the Natural History Museum. This is spread across many buildings, each with their own ticket costs, so we plumped for the Evolution building - which had a great interior, and many interesting stuffed animals, but was light on information - then the outdoor Menagerie.

Effectively a miniature zoo, we still managed to kill about 3 hours in the sun, and saw some great animals - capybaras, bush dogs, Russian wolves (renards des Steppes), armadillos, and a surprisingly active sloth.

Took the underground RER train across the city to see the miniature Statue of Liberty, before walking around underneath the Eiffel Tower - this time to admire the tenacity and perseverance of the crappy merchandise touts. Returned home on the RER and ate dinner once more at the crepe restaurant.

Paris - Day 2

25 September

Another late breakfast, at a different cafe near the Pantheon. Great coffee, and excellent squeezed orange juice to accompany our Croque Madames. Visited the Pantheon afterwards - formerly a church but since converted to a memorial to the French Republic. It is beautifully decorated inside, with a recreation of Foucault's Pendulum demonstration, and houses a tomb below where famous patriots are interred (Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo etc).

Walked across the river to the Pompidou Centre, then back for a boat cruise from the Pont neuf. More soak-in-the-culture walks, and some Nutella street crepes, before going to meet Maggie and Julian for dinner. Had some drinks in a little Spanish place on the Ile de la Citee, before moving north to a great Italian restaurant.

Paris - Day 1

23/24 September

Decided to avoid all the hassle of a flight, and took the Eurostar instead. Unfortunately, the powercables on the train platform collapsed, and we were stuck waiting for 3 hours, not even knowing if the trip would still go ahead. Eventually we got lucky, but it was still a slower trip than usual, and we arrived in Paris very late at night. Fortunately the taxi ride was a doddle, and we were at our upmarket hotel within few moments. A tiny room, but very nicely decorated, and with a superlative shower.

We were so tired, we ended up sleeping in until about mid-day (in what would become a recurring feature of this trip), then went in search of an omelette. Several places stubbornly refused to send us one, and Anna was reaching her emotional and hunger limits before we found a decent enough little place near the Pantheon.

After breakfast, we walked to Anthony's place nearby (we were staying in his neighbourhood), where we had some delicious home-made coffee before going for a long walk around the south side of the Seine. Visited some great comic shops, and popped in to meet the chef at Ant's favourite restaurant. It's a strange little place, with underwear on the wall. We got a little glass of cassis as a treat.

Ate dinner at Anthony's favourite crepe restaurant. Apparently authentic savoury crepes should be a dark colour than sweet crepes (because of the buckwheat that is used instead), a distinction apparently not made by the street-side crepe vendors.

Dinner was indeed delicious, and we naturally had sweet crepes for dessert as well (salty butter and sugar, lemon and sugar, and coconut and rum flambee). Afterwards, Anna did a 3 hour night time walk around the river to the Eiffel Tower and back again.