Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Sam Birch at the Tabernacle, CODE FC everywhere else and arguing with Nicholas Serota!

To the Tabernacle ( I haven't been there for a while) to have a look at Sam Birch's maps: THE HEART OF THE CITY | RECENT WORKS BY SAM BIRCH | PRIVATE VIEW. I like maps, Sams work is not great Art but it is good and thought provoking.  Great to see some old friends and great to receive such a warm welcome from the Tabernacle staff.

On the way home I met a guy putting up stickers here and there, turns out he is 'CODE FC'; a graffiti artist who's work I have seen over the years in the neighbourhood' I have some of his stuff at home. We had a brief chat about streeet art and stuff. He wasn't a vandal or a hoodied thug. Nice guy. Invited me to his private view in June. Go and have a look.

'But is it art' I hear you say. 'Fucking right if the artist says so'. Says Nicholas Serota! Who can argue with that! I have heard that Mrs Serota occasionally argues with Nicholas but not about art.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Naked Italian painters hit London!

Hourly rates upon application.

Portobello Road ball saga update.

It didn't take very long at all. Within days of the installation of the spherical granite shin barkers on Tavistock Square/Portobello Road vandals had managed to break one off. We found it like this late on Saturday night and with the help of a local restaurateur managed to pop it back in its socket. What on earth went through the mind of the planner who allowed these things to be placed here.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

The pelican on All Saints Road is reopening.

After quite a while closed the often troubled Pelican is being refurbished. Builders are gutting the place (not a cheap makeover) in preparation for opening in a couple of months time. Let's hope it will becomee a decent pub/bar rather than yet another pizza joint!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Balls on Portobello Road, crack, curling and boredom.

The latest addition to the Tavistock Square refurbishment is a collection of balls. Granite balls to be precise. Quite why they are there I do not know, not high enough to sit on yet low enough to bark a shin on on dark nights. Perhaps they are humorous representations of the crack rocks popular among some elements of the local community. They are balls anyway.

On close inspection I suspect that the balls are of  a granite found only on Ailsa Craig; an island in the Forth of Clyde on the West coast of Scotland. A granite of such fine quality that it is used in the manufacture of curling stones; curling being the 'sport' which imaginatively combines ice, granite, RAF roundels and brooms. It is called 'curling' as a result of its toe curlingly boring nature. Balls!

Friday, 6 April 2012

The half million pound loo seat on Portobello Road.

OK. they have nearly finished tarting up Tavistock Square on Portobello. Half a million has been spent on it; granite from China being a fairly hefty chunk of the cost! Who on earth specified chinese rock? what kind of bung was involved? We should be told.

What's the big difference?

The difference is a fancy circular seat next to the Auto piss machine; just the place to sit and eat your newly purchased, wood-fired cheese on toast, serenaded by the farts and splashes of thousands of tourists.

What on earth went through the planners heads here. There is more than one meaning to 'Public Waste'.

Another nail in the Portobello Road coffin, Intoxica is closing.

Yet another of the stores that make the road is going.... another victim of escalating rents, greedy landlords and the local authorities apparent desire to turn this once unique street into some kind of tourist tat mecca.

Intoxica (a wonderful little record store) and its like made Portobello road long before that fucking film attracted bucket shop loads of tourists in search of the 'blue door' and the rest of the disneyesque bilge that is now seen as 'Notting Hill' (this end of Portobello is 'Ladbroke Grove' anyway).  Very soon all that will be left is shops and stalls selling plastic routemasters and black cabs, I love London fridge magnets, policemens helmets, dodgy food, 'pop-up galleries' selling naff artwork and the rest of the tourist crap alongside rubbish high street clothing and shoe stores.... Oh and wood fired cheese on toast restaurants.

Portobello Road is being systematically eviscerated and 'insanitised'.

There are theories abounding regarding RBKC and their seeming desire to destroy one of Londons iconic roads. Some say backhanders from the developers, others say that the council is in fear of some kind of mafia thing. Others are inclined to believe that the jobsworths of RBKC couldn't give a flying fuck about anything other than their salaries and a quiet life! 

Of course corruption exists, always has done, always will. 

Portobello road is doomed to become as risible as Carnaby Street and its like!


I'm going to the Cock and Bottle to drown my sorrows.

Thursday, 5 April 2012


Mr Pounce, crop circles and soft cheese.

A few days ago I had the good fortune to be invited to dinner by Mr Pounce the esteemed barrister at his grand Gothic pile. It was a small informal gathering nourished by birds that Mr Pounce had blasted from the moorland skies himself. 

The delightful and vivacious strawberry blonde Wilhemina was of course in attendance.

One of the attendees formed a perfect crop circle... The crop in this instance being tobacco.

Or was it a smoke ring?

I thought the cheese rather photogenic.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Loco at Retro, old rockers, Cloud and THE HIP POCKET.

A guest blog by Jan Nieupjur. As usual his views are not necessarily my own (they are not necessarily his either since the illness kicked in).

The muse being in Hong Kong on a Chinese tour, I decided to have another look at 'Loco', drink a beer or two and say hello to some old friends.

It was packed already at 9.15. One of the bands had brought their fan club which can be a double edged sword; fan clubs tend to talk through the other acts then depart en mass when the band they follow leave. I guess this is why they are called followers.  Tonight the followers left before the meat and gravy. Maybe they were all vegetarians anyway!

I cannot remember the name of the bunch of old rockers reliving their youth that brought the followers; my Alzheimer's is such that if I don't write it down it's gone, by the time I'd found the will to find a pen the desire to write down the band's name had gone. To misquote Saki; as old rockers go they were good and as good old rockers go they went... With their followers. they probably needed to get back to something on the telly.

Not a very good photograph of Cloud. Photo Jan Nieupjur

The old rockers reliving their youth were followed by a local band called CLOUD, see I wrote that down and in capitals. Cloud are young, creative, interesting and well worth catching. There is the potential for a successful band there. I would much rather watch and listen to young men or women exploring their youth rather than old men revisiting it. Cloud made me think of this:

Listen to Cloud here: http://www.myspace.com/cloudlondonbasedband/radio

Interestingly for muso geeks; in the audience were Joseph Dean Osgood, Roger Pomphrey, Tristan the weird poet, Marty from Asian Dub Foundation, two thirds of Taurus Traaker, Steve Dior, Jono the king of 'chub love' and (not Jono) a very gay man, author Charlie Caselton (read his book: 'Meanwhile Gardens'), loads of supermodels etc etc. James Simmins looked very suave in a suave hippy kind of way, you just know that Johnny Depp is going to play him in the movie.

The real highlight for me today was however elsewhere when I caught a glimpse of a new band called THE HIP POCKET in rehearsal (at a secret venue. Kate Moss was there) prior to their launch. Unbelievably good and going stratospheric soon. I have not had goosebumps like it since Hendrix came round and played at my birthday back in the 70's.

I'm told that the band are to release a CD titled 'Studded seams for strength' prior to any live performances. I'll keep you informed!