It was not that long ago that I published an entry about Yarn Bombing (Yarn Bombing) with some of Agata Olek's recent work in London on Osborn Street near Brick Lane. More about the artist can be read here: Street Art: Olek's Crochet Art. Earlier this summer, the artist's work appeared in the Truman Brewery complex in Ely's Yard.

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Unfortunately, the piece is now gone, but here's a close-up of it. The piece read: 

"Let's not get caught. Let's keep going."

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Ronzo's Rainbow Street Art

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Last year, Ronzo was busy pasting up a lot of multi-colour pigeons and dinosaurs in east London (New Street Art From Ronzo), but the artist has been quiet recently until I spotted these recent paintings on Fashion Street off of Brick Lane. The pieces feature clouds vomiting rainbows with slang "sick" and "innit" thrown in the mix. I recently covered the artist here: Street Art: Ronzo.

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These walls have graced the artist's work for awhile, but they had been being painted over quite a few times and were just looking old and in need of replacement. The last piece was a collaboration with Conor Harrington (covered here).

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The artwork above on the shutter has been there for a longer time, but I never posted it, and the new one is right across the street from it.

Red Bull Air Race at Ascot

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A couple of weekends ago, a group of us went to the Red Bull Air Race at Ascot on the Sunday (Race Day) to watch the air race and to see displays by the Red Arrows, wing-walkers, Spitfire, and a helicopter. This was pretty fun, and despite some dark clouds and a downpour a little earlier (luckily, we were inside getting lunch when that happened), the weather was windy but fine.

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Helicopter

Ascot was decorated in red, white, and blue.

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We got our space in front of the grandstand as all the seats were taken, and the Red Arrows flew by. They did not hang around for long. They were on to another show somewhere, so we only got to see them fly by Ascot.

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Next up was the helicopter, which does some pretty neat maneouvers considering its size. It could go straight up and down at a virtually 90 degree angle, and the cargo hold opened up with someone waving giant orange hands. There is no way that I would ever be the one standing outside the open cargo hold so high in the air. 

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The Spitfire was next up.

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Then, the Red Bull Air Race bagan, and we watched the Red Bull planes fly around a circuit. There are a lot of rules that they have to adhere to while flying through the course and between the inflatible cones, and they were docked points for failing to adhere to them. They were timed, and there were a couple of British pilots that everyone was cheering on.

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After the first round, the Red Bull pilots had a break, which was lucky as the last pilot accidently hit an inflatible cone and they had to repair it. The wing-walkers were standing by to entertain us with their in-air acrobatics.

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After awhile, the Red Bull pilots competed again to finalise te winner of the race.

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We went outside to the front of Ascot and saw the winner with the second and third place standing on the podium to get their trophies and celebrate their victories.

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That sums it up for Red Bull Air Race in Ascot in 2014. I hope that you enjoyed the photographs.

Whitecross Street Party 2014

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A couple of months ago, Whitecross Street in London hosted a street party. This is an annual street party, and activities, street food, and street art feature on the day. The street part, Rise of the Non-Conformists, began in 2010. I recently covered this at: Street Art on Whitecross Street. The festival always takes place around the middle or end of July. This year, street artists such as HIN, HenHarrierDay, Inkie, Teddy Baden, and Paul 'Don' Smith were a few of the street artists to take part. Below are several photographs that I took about a week after the street festival took place. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend it this year to get photographs of some of the other street art and artists at work.

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Street art and market on Whitecross Street

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LZY

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HIN, Ves, HenHarrierDay

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Sean Worral

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Teddy Baden and unknown

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Unknown

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Inkie and Mohammed Sami

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Unknown 'take it from the chimps, graffiti is for chumps'

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DS and DONK

Artist Paul 'Don' Smith, who paints portraits around London and is well-known, contributed to Whitecross Street with a few new portraits, including model Cara and actor Stallone.

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Paul 'Don' Smith

Books About Town Art Sculpture Trail

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London's streets are currently home to fifty book bench art sculptures; these have been on display from the beginning of July and will be removed on the 15th of September. The works of art will be auctioned for charity after this. The book benches are created for the National Literacy Trust, which is a charity that helps people learn how to read. The books celebrate reading and authors or books are picked based on London's literary connections. The money raised will allow the National Literacy Trust to continue their work in helping people to read (and to learn how to read). According to the National Literacy Trust website, 16% (5.2 million) adults in Britain are illiterate.

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Fever Pitch - Sophie Green

I have been exploring the book trails over the past several weeks and managed to track down the books, so this post is photograph-heavy as there were so many of these that I liked (or liked my photograph of). I cannot choose a favourite because they are all so unique, but I did enjoy the two below. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was particularly nice because one side of the bench was a winter scene with the two characters from the book and the lion on the back. The sides also held hidden treasures. I also liked the bright colours used in the Peter Pan bench. Both benches are on the Bloomsbury trail.

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Quad Digital Mandii Pope

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Peter Pan - Sian Storey

My favourite trails were the Bloomsbury and the Riverside trails as there are so many great designs, and the settings were also nice for some of them. Greenwich was a little problematic for me to get to and required making several changes because it is difficult for me to get to, unless I want the O2 at North Greenwich, but the trail was located around the Observatory and the Cutty Sark.

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Dr. Seuss - Theodore Suess Giesel (original) created by Jane Headford

I only had one slight issue with the book benches, and that was down to the artwork actually becoming a bench that could be sat on. Seeing the books in the City during my lunch break (even when I took a late lunch to avoid having to ask people to move so that I could snap a photograph) was particularly difficult. A lack of places to sit in the City and glorius summer weather at the start of the book bench art trail meant that every book bench in the City was occupied by at least one person, even outside the normal "lunch" hours. Except for one difficult person in Postman's Park, everyone asked did move, though a handful of those were reluctant to move when nicely asked and didn't understand the fuss. Additionally, I noticed that a couple of the benches had become worn where they had been sat on, and one looked particularly bad. 

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The book benches in the tourist areas became popular, especially when the tourists noticed that I was taking a photograph of the bench. One large group of tourists walked by the bench outside the Globe previously. After they saw me photographing it, they became excited and crowded around to get a group photograph. This happened a few times when others took interest after seeing someone else take interest. Seeing the reactions of others is always interesting.

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We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Helen Oxenbury (design) created by Gerard Strong

As with other art sculpture charity trails, I did see others specifically mapping out all of the books. I did not see as many families or people in general taking part. Perhaps they did, but I did not notice because the four trails were quite short and I completed most of them during the week.

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The Railway Children - One Red Shoe

My favourite classic writer and favourite classic book is The Time Machine, so I had to include that book bench below.

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The Time Machine - Di Ralston

Many of the book benches had an event hosted around them. For example, one event was for a world record attempt  for the largest number of people dressed as Sherlock Holmes. Others included book giveaways or a photo booth opportunity. I was going to try to make the James Bond book giveaway, but unfortunately something came up at work and I could not attend it to get a free James Bond book.

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The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole - Andrea Joseph

Without further discussion, I have included the remainder of the photographs below because there were quite a few that I liked or liked my photograph of. These also give a good view on the selection of different books and artwork.

 

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Shakespeare - Lucy Dalzell

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Noughts and Crosses - Oliver Dean

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The Origin of the Species - Jane Callan

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Elmer the Elephant - David McKee (original), recreated by Giles Boardman

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Peter Pan - Laura Elizabeth Bolton

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Captain Scott - Charles Bezzina

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Gruffalo and Scarecrows - Alex Scheffler

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How to Train Your Dragon - Cressida Cowell (original) - by Gerard Strong

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Samuel Pepys' Diary - Michele Petit-Jean

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1984 - Thomas Dowdeswell

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Various bookbenches

To discover the trails, visit the official website for the book benches at: http://www.booksabouttown.org.uk

For more information about the National Literacy Trust, visit http://www.literacytrust.org.uk 

Brazilian street artist DecoLife recently returned to London to paint murals on Brick Lane and Pedley Street. It has been awhile since the artist had created new work in the city, and all of the pieces completed originally had been painted over. Seeing new work by the artist was welcome. These new pieces are a slightly different style than the original geometric shapes that the artist used to paint. The geometric shapes and bright colours are still present, but there's more figures and less of the geometric patterns in the work. His older artwork can be seen here:  Street Art: Artista, DecoLife, Binty Bint, Ino, Irony, Pixie, SeaPuppy.

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I have always been a fan of the Beatles, particularly their earlier work. In university and High School, I was inspired by the 1960s music, fashion, and freedom. When I came to visit and work in London for my work exchange internship for university, I made the pilgrimage to Abbey Road to see the famous crosswalk and the Abbey Road studios where the Beatles recorded their music and also sang on the rooftop late in their career. This was in the year 2000, and there was not really that much to see; I did not see any other tourists when I visited it then, and I did not see much Beatle-related grafitti.

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Abbey Road crosswalk

Last summer, I made my second pilgrimage to Abbey Road as we had dinner at a hotel not too far away from it. The atmosphere was much different than all those years ago, and the area was particularly busy with tourists. The tourists were getting their photo taken at the famous crosswalk used on the album cover. I also saw a classic Volkswagen Beetle drive by, but I failed to get a photograph. It would have been great if it had been parked up as there was one of these parked up in the original album cover where the Beatles were walking across.

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Tribute wall

Outside the Abbey Road studios, visitors now leave their messages and tributes to the Beatles and others who performed in the studio here. This was new as I do not remember seeing the grafitti in the year 2000 when I visited. I remember seeing some on an Abbey Road road sign, but that was all. I remember seeing a news article once about complaints related to visitors drawing on the signs.

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I read some of the messages and watched many others walk by and read and contribute to the messages. The messages were left by people from all over the world. The wall is also painted over regularly so that others can add their own messages.

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Visitors to the area are also informed that there is a webcam on the famous crosswalk, and they can visit a website to download their photograph taken in the crosswalk. When visiting, simply remember to look at your watch or mobile phone to check the time so that you know when you walked across.

I wonder how Abbey Road will change in the next thirteen years.

After an extremely gruelling nine-hour journey, which should have only been just over a three-hour journey from Basingstoke, we arrived in Liverpool. By the time we arrived, it was time to get some food and drink before heading off to our hotel. We stayed at Albert Dock, and so we were spoiled for choice with food and drink. For those who do not know, Albert Dock used to be a working dock but it now a thriving destination for visitors with museums and a Tate art gallery and plenty of places to get drink and food.

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I last visited Liverpool in 2008, the year that it won Capital of Culture, as I was doing some work for 'The Number One Project' and got to attend their concert that was performed by several of Liverpool's artists that had a 'Number One' song in the charts. Sadly, I do not have those photographs. However, Liverpool and Albert Dock were in the process of being regenerated. Albert Dock had a handful of restaurants and shops, and the museums were opened, but the majority of the dock was still under development. Upon visiting it this time, the place has come a long way and there are several new shops, cafes, and restaurants surrounding the whole dock. 

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We were spoilt for choice really, but we opted for "The Smuggler's Cove" restaurant as the menu looked quite nice. The main entrance to the restaurant is on the outside of the Albert Dock, though, so we were ushered there. We waited near the bar until we finally were able to get a seat. 

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The restaurant is part of the company 'New World Trading Co' and they specialise in themed restaurants. (There's currently one called 'The Botanist' in Leeds, but I have not been to it, and they want to open one in London next year.)

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The restaurant is decorated like the interior of a ship with large wooden tables or tables made out of wooden barrels, iron ceiling lighting, a skull on a mock fireplace mantle, a large 'ship in a bottle' decoration, wallpapered or dark-wood panelled rooms with pictures  and other nautical pirate/ship themeed items throughout the restaurant. The waiting staff were even dressed similar to what sea crew would wear in the 1800s and early 1900s. Our menus also looked like an old letter, complete with mock map imagery and a wax seal. They have obviously spent a lot of time on the graphic design elements.

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Another booklet on our table informed us of the bottled drinks that we could purchase, and each one was illustrated with care with a hand-writing font to describe the drink. A few of these are pictured below. 

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We opted for a couple of cocktails. I got the June Bug, which is one of my favourite cocktails because I love melon liquor. My partner got the 'Morning Wrays' which is a rum-based cocktail that came with a slice of pink grapefruit. 

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I ordered the rotisserie chicken, and it came in a mock wooden barrel end as a plate. It also came with a small bottle of hot sauce. My partner had the steak, and he said it was cooked perfectly and was pink inside.

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Time for desserts! I ordered chocolate mousse. It is one of my all-time favourite desserts. The mousse was very rich and creamy and is worth saving room for. It was one of the best I have tried, falling short of mousse that I once had in Lille, France. My partner had the strawberry and marshmallow kebab, which came on this cool iron skewer. The chocolate sauce, in a pot on the top of the 'device' was poured down the top and coated all of the marshmallows and strawberries on the way down. At the bottom was a small dish of vanilla ice cream.

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At the end of the meal, we received the bill and comments, which were rolled up and looked like an old-style map or document. A nice touch.

After our meal and on the way back to our hotel, we stopped and got some photographs of the Liverpool Wheel. The Wheel was not built the last time I visited Liverpool as that area was still being regenerated, although the arena had just been built. 

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We got some more photographs of the Wheel and then decided to go on it to see some nice views of Liverpool at dusk. The price was a bit hefty though, and I forgot to look at my app for some discounts as I knew that there were discounts. D'oh! It had been a long day.

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There is a commentary in each capsul that describes the history of Liverpool and some of the attractions that can be seen while you go around. I got a decent picture of Albert Dock as the sunset was disappearing beyond the Mersey.

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I also got some additional photographs looking at the main part of Liverpool, and the large tower is the Radio City Tower. I'd been up that once before, but they were with those photographs that I sadly no longer have a copy of. Taking photographs of Liverpool when the Liverpool Wheel was moving was difficult, and they are not so great. I am also not so great with heights, so that also did not help matters. 

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Anyway, I hope you liked my photographs. For more information about "The Smugger's Cove" restaurant and bar, please see: http://thesmugglerscove.uk.com

I recently watched a new piece of street art go up on one of the high profile walls on Hanbury Street. The artist of this piece is Eelus, who is based in Brighton, and this is his first piece of street art in four years! This piece is titled "An Angel for Ruby" and is dedicated to the artist's daughter. Unfortunately, there is a sad story behind this piece as the baby daughter passed away shortly after her birth earlier this year.

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On his blog (1), the artist stated that he tried out some new techniques, and he wasn't 100% happy with the results as the wings and the shading on the face were a little rushed. However, this still is a striking piece of art, particularly the detail in the torso and the shading on the lower part of the face.

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1) Eelus: http://eelus.com

2) Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/eelus

This summer, South Bank hosts the "Festival of Love". This festival celebrates all aspects of love and romance, and the Same Sex Couple Act in particular. To celebrate, there is a group wedding taking place at the end of the month. Other events include music, art, poetry, workshops, burlesque, cocktail-making, caberet, and so much more. There's also the Museum of Broken Relationships. (The Museum of Broken Relationships displays items donated by the public that were a memory of a failed relationship.)

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"Temple of Agape" is a wooden structure painted with bright colours and 1960s-1970s style typography. The artists behind this, Luke Morgan and Morag Myserscough, were inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.

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There are also several brightly-coloured boxes made of neon ribbon along the river that offer a little bit of privacy.

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A couple of slides also offer family fun, and these are located at the top of the South Bank area. The Temple of Agape can be used to climb up to that area instead of taking the stairs up and then back down again.

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Located on the south side of the Royal Festival Hall where the South Bank market is located are several streamers, known as Tanabata Fukinagashi decorations. These commemorate the Japanese festival of stars. The story is about two lovers represented by the stars Vega and Altair, who are only allowed to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month by crossing the Milky Way.

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Tanabata Fukinagashi

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There's various works of art with love associations that can be found both inside and outside the buildings on South Bank.

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More information about South Bank's "Festival of Love" can be read here: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/festivals-series/festival-of-love

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