LONDON STREET ART JANUARY 2018

As you will have seen from my previous blog post, I was in London over the previous weekend. It wasn’t exclusively for Street Art, but it would have been rude not to get some photos.

I had been to London previously before, so I knew where I wanted to go. Camden and Shoreditch were high on my list.

As my train from the Airport was terminating at Liverpool Street, this gave me a great opportunity to check out Shoreditch.

Well, it would have, if I didn’t wander about and get lost.

I cheated a wee bit by referring to London’s Tourism Website, which informed me that Spitalfields was a good place to visit. I had passed it on my travels, so made an about turn and headed for there.

How right it was. I spotted one piece, decided to walk to the end of the street, then saw more pieces on the next street, and decided to walk to the end of that street to see what there was …. and repeat. I think I covered every street in Spitalfields, which included pieces by Falko and Dan Kitchener, who have recently done pieces in Belfast.

I stumbled onto more Street Art and eventually found Shoreditch. From previous experience, Car Park Attendants were a bit dickish when I tried to snap pieces in Car Parks, so I had to do quick snaps of those pieces rather than setting myself up.

Smokers are a pain in the arse at the best of times, but they all decided to congregate outside Mercure Hotel in Shoreditch, denying me the opportunity of shooting a mural outside it.

There was also a piece with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un being in a band called The Psychos.

By the middle of Friday afternoon, I already had enough Street Art photos to fill a blog for the entire weekend.

On Saturday morning, I headed to Brixton to see the David Bowie mural in it’s current form. I had previously seen the mural, finding it by accident, when I visited Brixton in 2014. It is a rarity amongst David Bowie murals in that it was actually painted when he was alive.

When he died in 2016, the mural became a shrine and meeting point for fans to share their grief.

The core of the mural is now covered in Perspex due to the number of fans writing messages over it. There is now a sign asking fans to write around it and not on it, as well as flowers left by fans at the bottom of the mural.

Not far from the Bowie mural is a mural of the poem The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, though that has fallen into a state of disrepair.

I walked around Brixton, and stumbled upon some pieces around Brixton Market, including a tribute to various Rappers.

I then headed to Camden, a hotspot for Street Art and found a lot of pieces walking from Camden Underground Station to Camden Lock.

Camden Underground Station is exit only, so I had to travel to Mornington Crescent Underground Station for my onward journey, and the diversion was a stroke of luck, as I spotted more pieces, although it was hard to get photos due to parked vehicles causing an obstruction.

Sunday was spent visiting the more clichéd touristy parts of London, so I didn’t get as much photos as in the previous days, though I did spot a mural just off Carnaby Street.

Heading home on Monday night, Monday was never going to be a busy day, but I made a point to visit Leake Street Tunnel near Waterloo Station, a tunnel dedicated to Street Art which has multi-coloured lighting, which made for some decent photos.

As stated in my main blog about London, I was tempted by the idea of a day trip to Brighton at some point, as it would have been nice to have visited there for the day and get some Street Art photos.

Can’t complain about my lot. Every time I visit London, I seem to find more and more hidden Street Art gems. Hope you enjoy this round-up.

Photo Album 1

Photo Album 2

London Street Art 2016

London Street Art 2014

Camden Street Art 2013

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LONDON

A week and a bit ago, I headed to London for a short break. It’s fair to say I enjoyed myself.

Why London? Usually, in late January or early February, I like to go away somewhere for a weekend.

I would have preferred to go to Mainland Europe, but there wasn’t a lot of value when I went to book it. September 2017 was a busy month for me so I didn’t get a chance to book anything until October.

London was a lazy option, but still a good option. I’d been before previously and enjoyed myself.

This was my first proper visit to London since 2014. I had been in London briefly in 2016, spending a day there as I was flying home from Gatwick after a stay in Paris.

However, I would not be flying in and out of Gatwick. My previous visits to London had seen me use Gatwick, but this time, I would be flying in and out of Stansted.

There would also be a change in my accommodation arrangements from my previous London visits as well. In my two previous stays in 2013 and 2014, I stayed in Paddington, but this time I would be staying at Easyhotel in Victoria. I would have to make do without a TV of Wifi in my room, but getting three nights in Central London for £87, I couldn’t really complain.

Flying into Stansted meant I would be travelling through London, and I got to see cranes that were working on Northumberland Development Project, better known as Spurs New Ground, from the train window.

Whenever I go away somewhere, there are two things I really want to see – Street Art and Football.

With the train from Stansted terminating at Liverpool Street, it gave me a perfect opportunity to search for Street Art, as I would be near to Shoreditch, where I had visited on my previous visit in 2014.

I walked around a bit and got lost, so I cheated by referring to the internet, London’s Tourism website has a feature on Street Art.

After lunch, I headed back towards Liverpool Street, racking up the step count. Yep, I got an Activity Tracker for Christmas, so i’ve become one of those guys. In case you care, I had four successive days going over 30,000 steps. You’ve no idea how much my feet hurt.

I stumbled into Spitalfields and specifically, Spitalfields Market. What a place. I’m annoyed at myself that I only discovered it on this visit.

Having walked past a man in a Coleraine shirt at Liverpool Street Station, I got a reminder of Irish League when I visited a stall of Scrabble Art, motivational phrases spelt out with Scrabble letters, one of which said “Fortune Favours The Brave”. A more apt one for Linfield players would have been the one that said “Keep it simple”.

£30 though, so I gave it a miss.

Spitalfields Market had lots of fantastic independent and quirky stalls. I really am annoyed at myself for only discovering it on this visit.

Having checked London’s Tourism Website, I was aware that there was a lot of Street Art in Spitalfields, so I went to check it out.

I used my instinct and stumbled upon pieces. I kept saying to myself that i’ll just walk to the end of the street, then spot something on the next street, and I just kept walking and walking, snapping loads of Street Art, only stopping to pop into a Vintage Market I stumbled onto. If I ever visit London again, i’m going to make Spitalfields a place I visit.

By Friday afternoon, it was time to check into my hotel. As stated earlier, it was Easyhotel in Victoria, a very convenient location for getting to and a very conveniently located hotel.

I was in Room 13. Thankfully, i’m not supersticious about that number. It might have been a different matter if it was Room 9 after seeing the Hotel Zanzibar episode of inside Number 9.

Just thought i’d sneak it in about how Inside Number 9 is the best thing on TV at the moment.

My original plan was to visit Camden as soon as I checked in, but having spent so much time walking around Spitalfields, I was a bit behind schedule.

I wanted to get Street Art photos in Camden, but with the sky getting darker, I decided I would leave that until Saturday morning. I had a teatime appointment in Covent Garden.

I was aware that Turin Brakes were doing an instore gig at Fopp in Covent Garden, so I decided to head over. I loved them back in 2001, and I was getting a free concert, so it would have been rude not to.

I headed to Covent Garden Underground Station to the venue. Did you know that Covent Garden Underground Station has 193 steps from the Platform to the Exit? I do. I found that out the hard way.

The funny thing is, I saw a massive queue of people wanting to use the list. I thought they were being lazy. Turns out they were smart. I won’t be making that mistake again if I visit Covent Garden.

After the instore gig, I went for a gentle stroll around Covent Garden, before getting a bite to eat before finding a bar to watch the United match, before heading to bed or a (relatively) early night.

When you are in London, you can take advantage of free publications such as Time Out or Metro to see what is on, which is what I did.

On Saturday morning, I headed to Brixton. I wanted to see the David Bowie mural in it’s current form. I had previously seen the mural in 2014. When he died in 2016, it became a shrine to him and a meeting point for fans to share their grief. There’ll be a write-up on the Bowie mural on the Street Art blog which will follow this.

During my time in Brixton, I spotted and snapped Street Art, checking out Brixton Market, and taking a stroll along Electric Avenue, immortalised in song by Eddy Grant.

After Brixton, it was Camden next for me, for pretty much the same thing, snapping Street Art and checking out the market. Every time I go to London, I make a point to visit Camden. The only downside is that it is infested with smelly tramps puffing on fags and vapes. Not cool. It really drags down the standard of the place.

Camden Underground Station is exit only, so to leave Camden, I had to get The Tube at Mornington Crescent. I took advantage of this detour by stumbling onto some more Street Art.

Saturday afternoon was spent watching Millwall v Rochdale in the FA Cup.

I checked the listings guides and there were some comedy gigs on, but I decided to go for a bite to eat, and then relax.

Up early, Sunday morning was spent being all touristy, having a walk around the main City Centre shopping areas such as Leicester Square, Carnaby Street, Soho, Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square.

Another day, another market, having a stroll though Covent Garden Market, and catching part of an entertainment show by Covent Nick.

I then headed back to Brixton to purchase stuff that I had my eye on the previous day (I didn’t want to take loads of shopping bags to a football match) before heading to The London Studios for the recording of Unspun for Dave.

Unfortunately, I got lost, and found myself at the back of the queue, meaning that I missed out on getting a seat. There is compensation that I can get priority tickets for future TV recordings, so at least I can bank that for use at some point in the future.

I took the opportunity with my unexpected free time to walk along Southbank and check out Southbank Book Market, and taking in some of the views on offer at Southbank, before putting my feet up for the night.

Monday was a more relaxed day. Not going to lie, I was very tempted by a day trip to Brighton, especially as I was staying near to the train station that serves Brighton from London. If I was flying out from Gatwick, I would definitely done so, as there is a train direct from Brighton to Gatwick which is just over half and hour. If I go to London again, I might book an extra day and set it aside to go to Brighton.

I took the opportunity to head back to Southbank and walk along Jubliee Greenway. I was even able to see the Houses of Parliament, but as I have minimal interest in politics, I found it a bit meh to be honest. I was more excited at seeing the roof of Spurs new ground.

There was one last piece of Street Art for me to spot, calling in to see Leake Street Tunnel on my way back to Waterloo Station as I headed back to Spitalfields Market for a bit of lunch and relaxation before heading to Stansted to fly home.

As previously stated, I stayed in Paddington on my previous visits to London, changing to Victoria for this one. I like Paddington, and I enjoyed my stays there, but if I go back to London, I would try to use Victoria again, especially as you can have the option of a day trip to Brighton on your last day if I was flying back from Gatwick.

At the end of it, I had very sore feet and a lot of photos to sort through. I guess that was the sign of a good trip.

London 2013

London 2014

London 2016

BOWIE

When news of his death emerged earlier this month, there was only going to be one point of pilgrimage for David Bowie’s fans to pay tribute to their idol – The mural of him in Brixton, where he grew up.

That mural was the first thing i’d thought of whenever the news filtered through just before 7am on 11th January. I’d actually visited it in 2014, purely by accident. I’ll get to that later. Due to the nature of street art, I wasn’t sure if it would still be there nearly two years later, but i’m glad it was.

In 2014, I headed to London for a weekend away. Checking the concert listings, I saw that Tom Odell was playing in Brixton. I’d wanted to go to this but there were no tickets available online, so I thought i’d pop down to the venue box office to chance my arm.

While there, I stumbled upon the mural of Bowie. For the record, I wasn’t able to get a ticket for Tom Odell. Still, getting to see a mural of David Bowie made it a worthwhile trip to Brixton.

If you want to see David Bowie immortalised on a wall, you don’t have to go to Brixton though.

Withing days of his death, two tributes appeared in Dublin – One in Francis Street (A renowned Street Art hotspot) and another one in Richmond Street.

I’ve no immediate plans to visit Dublin, but I do plan on at least doing a day trip during the summer. Hopefully, when I do arrive there, both pieces will still be there for me to see in the flesh.

Not to be outdone, Belfast would soon be getting it’s own mural, done by renowned local artist Visual Waste.

I popped down on Tuesday lunchtime when it was a work in progress, and then again when it was a finished piece two days later.

If you want to see it in person, it’s on Gresham Street, beside The Hudson Bar.

Photo Album

LONDON

Was in London last week for a short break, just as I was in February last year.

The reason I went back to London for a second successive year was simple, I had a lot of “Unfinished business” in London. I did and saw a lot of stuff when I was in London last year, yet there was still so much I didn’t do and see.

For that reason, London was always going to be my choice for getaway in February 2014.

Amazingly, I experienced travel problems before even reaching London as the airline moved my flight from a sensible 11am to 6pm. To fly out at 6pm would be a waste of a day. With the 11am flight cancelled, I got mine changed again to 6.45am.

The early start might be inconvenient, but at least I would get a full day in London.

A rearranged flight was only the start of my travel problems. Due to a Tube strike, I was going to have to go to my hotel by bus.

Due to the lack of transport options, Thursday was always going to be a write-off, but it wasn’t a total write-off. There were some Tube stations open, so I made the most of the ones that were.

Brixton was one of those open, so I headed there in late morning. I had a specific reason for wanting to visit Brixton, as I wanted to head to O2 Academy to try and get a ticket for Tom Odell on the Saturday night.

I’d tried online with no success in the weeks leading up to this, so I thought i’d try turning up at the venue. Turns out the venue box office is only open on the night of events.

It wasn’t a wasted trip as I had a walk around Brixton, Brixton Market, accidentally stumbling onto Electric Avenue, immortalised in song by Eddy Grant. Managed to get some excellent Street Art pictures when I was in Brixton.

From there, I headed into the City Centre and had a walk around, before heading back to the hotel for a brief sleep before heading East that night.

The reason why I was heading to East London was that I had an audience ticket for Life’s A Pitch on BT Sport. The studios are in Stratford, near the Olympic Stadium. I didn’t get to see much of the stadium though.

Just a pity it took nearly two hours to get from Stratford to Paddington by bus, thanks to Boris and Bob’s Comedy Act.

After a brief sleep, I was up early on the Friday morning to go on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour. Unfortunately, like the day before, I was frustrated by public transport, as delays on The Tube meant I missed the tour.

I was already en route to Shoreditch when I discovered the delays, so it was too late to turn back. Luckily, I had travelled through Shoreditch going from Stratford to Paddington, so had a mental note of where the Street Art was.

I had a walk around getting photos. If I go to London again, i’ll definitely try to go on a proper, organised, Street Art Tour.

From Shoreditch, I went into Oxford Circus and Leicester Square for a walkaround, before heading to Greenwich to go on the Emirates Air Line, a cable car journey across London Docks.

Got some good views due to it being a clear day, but it wouldn’t be an essential thing to do in London to be honest. It would certainly be a unique way to spend a night out, if it wasn’t for the fact that no booze is allowed.

From there, I headed in the direction of one of London’s most famous landmarks, Wembley Stadium. But it wasn’t Wembley I was visiting, it was the nearby Fountain Studios (where X-Factor is filmed) for Alan Davies Apres Ski, for which I had an audience ticket.

It was a very stop-start recording which got never really got going, to be honest, which is a shame as I like Alan Davies.

Saturday morning was spent in Camden. I went to Camden for a morning last year and loved it. Had a walk around Camden Market, and got some Street Art photos.

Saturday afternoon was spent in East London, watching Leyton Orient v Peterborough.

When in London, i’d hoped to take in a concert. Each concert I wanted to go to, I seemed to be thwarted.

Phoenix are a band I love, but inconveniently, were doing a gig in London the day before I arrived. Foster the People and Bombay Bicycle Club were doing XFM Sessions, but I couldn’t get a ticket.

Del Amitri were doing a gig in Hammersmith on the Friday night. I like Del Amitri, but not enough to spend 30 quid seeing them.

I wanted to see Tom Odell on the Saturday. I turned up at the venue to try and get a ticket. The Box Office was sold out. There were plenty of touts outside flogging, but the prices were extortionate. Looking at the volume of people already queing up to get in, it wasn’t worth it for what would be a crap view.

Luckily, on the Saturday night, I had a Plan B, a comedy gig at Bloomsbury Theatre headined by Katherine Ryan and Tom Rosenthal.

On the Sunday, I had a lie-in before heading to White Hart Lane for Spurs v Everton. After that, I headed into Oxford Circus to watch the United game (the less said of which, the better) before spending some more time in the City Centre.

That night, I discovered Prince was doing an impromptu gig in London, but, like the other gigs this week, I missed out on a ticket, being elsewhere when the queue was forming.

Monday morning, my last day in London, was spent in the City Centre again, making the most of my final day in the city, before heading to Gatwick and flying home.

And that, was my trip to London, an enjoyable experience despite the transport mayhem and being unable to get concert tickets.

Where will I be headed in February next year? Who knows.

LONDON STREET ART

Was in London last week, and while I was there, managed to get some Street Art photos.

I was in London last year, but didn’t get many Street Art photos. This year, I made an effort to do the Shoreditch Street Art Tour, but I was thwarted by The Tube running late.

On my first day in London, I headed to Brixton to try and get a concert ticket, but stumbled upon some excellent pieces.

On the Thursday night, I travelled via Shoreditch from Stratford to Paddington on the bus (Paddington Train Station was out of bounds due to the Tube Strike), which turned out to be a stroke of luck.

I was trying to get en route to Shoreditch for the tour, before the Tube delays, so it was too late to turn back.

Upon arrival, I had a brief idea of where the Street Art was in Shoreditch was. So, I did my own tour.

On the Saturday morning, I went to Camden, not in search of Street Art, but I saw some, so I photographed it.

Photo Album 1

Photo Album 2