January 2016 Archives

Before Christmas, a little over a year ago, we explored Nuremberg Christmas Markets and Rothenberg-ob-der-Tauber. In addition to shopping and Christmas Markets, we explored the other attractions that the city has to offer. One of the major attractions, although not mentioned in my guide book, is to explore the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and the museum on site. The museum gives insight into this era of history and details of the major events and ideals which started the second World War. It's an emotional experience, and I feel that it is an important and educational one that visitors should not miss if they wish to understand history and the the decades in between the two World Wars, which ultimately led to the second World War.


The museum has exhibitions on how Hitler wanted to be portrayed, the importance of architecture and the role it played, how the masses were influenced by Hitler and his ideals, and a visual representation of an estimation of how many groups (including Jews, homosexuals, Communists, Romani, ethnic Poles, political prisoners, people with disabilities) were murdered by the party.

Portraits of Hitler based on how he wanted to be portrayed and all released images of him had to pass certain aspects; various Nazi Party propaganda and images of Nuremberg and the Rally Grounds during the height of the party; 'My Struggle' or 'Mien Kampf' signed by Adolph Hitler; Albert Speer's architectural drawings; video/audio from the Nuremberg trials

Representation of the number of victims taken to concentration camps and killed; Nazi toy soldiers

Nuremberg was the centre of the Nazi (National Socialist) Party, and the first rallies were held here in 1927. The grounds acted as a community with many events for everyone, including the young members of society. It was quickly adopted as a way of life and engrained into society for a variety of reasons that can be read in more detail at the museum. Albert Speer engineered the grounds to show off the power of the party and Hitler; the museum goes into how this was achieved using architecture and other methods (light, banners, sound, etc). 

Lake and Congress Hall


Inner courtyard of Congress Hall

Congress Hall

Documentation Centre - museum. This is where the tram stops for the rally grounds

Great Street

The Nazi grounds include the Zepplin field (named after a Zepplin that landed there in 1909), stadiums, Congress Hall, a zoo, cafe, swimming pool, an exhibition space, and a lake. The zoo was opened in 1912 with the help of citizens and was maintained throughout the war. It contained over 193 species. Albert Speer designed the grounds with the 'Greet Street' in mind. It was 60 metres wide and over 2,000 metres long, laid with granite slabs, and was aligned with Nuremberg Castle to show significance of the Nazi Party to past imperial Germany. (This glorification of the past imperial days of Germany was one of the psychological desires that Hitler played upon to capture and form his community of followers.) The street would be flanked with tall towers to portray the importance and power of the party.


Hitler would have come out the back doors of the grandstand and went to the front and stood to address his crowd on the Zepplin Field below, which is larger than 12 football fields. With the structure around him and his height, the atmosphere and the whole experience of this place would have made him seem very powerful. In 1938, the "Cathedral of Light" took place here, which beamed floodlights into the sky and was probably spectacular.


Zepplinfield - speaker area


When Germany lost the war, the US held its victory parade at this grandstand, and the giant swastika was blown up. The towers on both sides were removed because they were deemed unsafe. The US were stationed here until 1994. Today, the grandstand and track outside it is used as a racing circuit (Noris ring) and for concerts.

Nuremberg trials courthouse

After exploring the grounds, we headed back into Nuremberg and got the subway to the court house where the Nuremberg Trials were held. The trials are of high importance in the world criminal justice system. The trials included representatives of different Allied countries (US, Britain, Russia, and France) whose purpose was to oversee the trials to determine if key individuals of the Nazi Party were guilty of crimes. These crimes were categorised into war crimes, crimes against humanity, and participating or planning crimes against peace. The trials were the first to be recorded with video and sound. We saw a little bit about the trials, including some original documents and recordings, in the Nazi Rally Grounds museum.

Nuremberg Trials court room

We had an English guided tour of the museum at the Nuremberg Court House, and the guide highlighted some of the important aspects of the trials and those involved and the outcomes of some of those captured and their sentence. We then saw the interior of the famous room where the trials were held. As this court room is still used today, make sure to visit it outside of work hours to avoid disappointment.

Banksy New 'Les Miserables' Mural

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Last Sunday, a new mural appeared in Knightsbridge by street artist Banksy. The artwork was painted up on scaffolding on the side of a building and was available for all to see until it was boarded up in the afternoon. The artwork was removed later this week, so I was not able to see it to get a photograph. The mural was painted to highlight the issues in Calais in France with gas being used on the migrants/refugees. It was painted outside the French embassy. A QR code goes to a website about the situation in Calais. The subject of the mural is Cosette from 'Les Miserables' (with a French flag) and cloud of smoke coming from a can. Banksy's work normally display subjects of an important political statement.

Banksy mural - photograph from Telegraph

Having this mural boarded up and then removed is such a shame because others are not able to enjoy it.

Dinner at Kaspar's @ The Savoy

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Earlier this month, the bloke and I visited Kaspar's Seafood Bar & Grill. The restaurant is located in The Savoy hotel on the Strand in London. I've been wanting to step inside the hotel for awhile, so when I managed to find vouchers and see that the restaurant was recommended, I took the opportunity to do so. We visited during a week night, but I soon wished that I'd visited during daylight in order to take advantage of the views along the Thames.


The interior of the restaurant is inspired by the 1920s-1930s Art Deco style. This is also evident on the menu, pictured above, with the use of the font and border. Mirros, bold floor and wall patterns, and beautiful light fittings complete the look. I loved the lighting around the bar area, which reminded me of ice and icicles. Before we entered Kaspar's, however, we had to walk through the hotel and a pleasant well-lit room with a domed ceiling. The centre-piece was a timber-framed area with a multi-tiered vase of pink flowers.

The Savoy has several claims to fame. It was the first hotel in Britain to have electric lights and lifts. Many famous people stayed here, naturally. Among them were various royals, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Marilyn Monroe.


I love reading about London history, so I asked after the cat. Our waiter told me where to find it, and I got a photograph on the way out. I was expecting a real taxidermied cat (as I'd forgotten the complete story), but it is a sculpture. For those who do not know the story, it started in 1898 when a dining party of fourteen had dinner at the Savoy. One person pulled out, so the other guests talked about the unlucky number and some of the superstitious members were afraid to be the first to leave the table in case disaster struck. Disaster did strike the first member to leave the table as he was shot a few weeks later back in his home town of Johannesburg, South Africa. The Savoy then added an extra guest for bookings of thirteen. At first, the guest was another person until the solution was solved by carving a cat out of a single block of wood. The cat was named Kaspar and has a napkin tied around his neck and is served all courses of a meal with cutlery and glasses. The plaque in front of the statue in the image above tells his story.

Back to the meal, and we were seated by the friendly staff and had our orders taken.



We were first served a compliementary glass of champagne to have with out meal. Bread was also provided. After having this, our starters arrived. I ordered the French onion soup, and this came with Gruyère cheese crouton, which fit the top of the soup. This was very tasty but also very filling, so I could not eat all of it. The bloke had the Cornish crab and wild salmon cake, which was served with sweet mustard dressing.



We decided to order a half-bottle of Champagne for our main courses.


The bloke had the Dover sole with brown butter caper sauce, which costed 15.00 surcharge. The dish normally costs 38.00 in total. I had marinated spicy spatchcocked chicken. We did order sides as the meat just comes on its own. We ordered seasonal vegetables and whipped potatoes, both of which were very tasty. There were other sides that also looked tasty. 



Our desserts soon followed, and the bloke ordered the 'caramel crémeux, which consisted of milk chocolate mousse and carmelised pecans. I ordered the Kaspar's Peach Melba, which is the signature dessert of the restaurant. This was absolutely delicious. 


The Kaspar's Peach Melba (pictured below), consisted of poached peach and raspberry crumble with vanilla parfait. (Essentially, the parfait was ice cream and it was a nice vanilla bean flavour that worked perfectly with the crumble coating.)


When the bill arrived, we received two chocolate truffles. 


The food was delicious, and I would visit this restaurant again. The food is on the expensive end. There was not much to the chicken dish, so I would recommend that you stick with one of the other dishes; I'd say that the fish dishes are the speciality. There's also a wine menu and an intriguing cocktail menu which I have only just taken note of. The voucher offered good value for money considering the lowest-price starter was 9.00 for the soup, but the average price is probably around 13.00. Except for the chicken, which is also the cheapest main/grill option, all other mains are above 20.00. Desserts are 9.00 each. Champagne is probably at least 15.00 a glass in this venue. So, a voucher is a good option if you are on a budget.

"Downtown" Mural by Dan Kitchener

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At the beginning of this month, street artist Dan Kitchener (whose previous work I covered here and his work at Upfest can be seen here) painted a mural called "Downtown" off of Brick Lane. It took him approximately five hours to paint this mural, which features street scenes of Tokyo. Much of his work features scenes of busy streets with cars and shilouettes of people at night with the glowing lights. Below is a close-up of the wall.


The full wall can be seen below.


Toward the end of last year, the artist also returned to one of his works on Brick Lane and touched up a panel on the door underneath one of his Japanese female / geisha portraits.



I am looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings for street art.

I am pleased to bring you this month's Etsy find. In the past, I had used Etsy for inspiration and used to buy (or ask for) quite a few items from them. I don't so much now and after a bad experience, but there's so many talented artists who sell on their website, such as these. These miniature felt bears are hand-made in Germany by shop-owner Gabrielė, and she has been selling them since 2009. 


Bears, bunnies, reindeer, and other animals can also be bought, and they come in a range of styles and colours. I have included a few in the collage below.


To look at or buy one of her creations, visit: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MistrSandman or http://www.etsy.com/people/gabrielefelt

(All photos were taken from the Etsy page.)

This evening was the opening of the seven-week pop-up Cadbury Creme Egg Cafe in Soho, London. I secured tickets to this sold-out seating in the cafe, which included two of the four desserts on offer, coffee/tea, and seating for up to an hour for the price of just over £10.00 for two. There was still a queue, even though I'd booked for seven. In fact, only half of the seats were available to book, and the remainder were walk-in. There are four Cadbury Creme Egg options on the menu, but alcohol cannot be served. However, merchandise can be purchased. The profits of this marketing campaign will go to charity.


When I arrived, there was a long queue for those who wanted entrance to the ball pit or the toastie takeaway. There was a smaller, but slower-moving, queue for those who had booked seats. The queue was in front of the shop, so the image below was taken later on and toward closing. Those who passed by were wondering what the hype was.


When we finally were allowed to enter the cafe, there were several Creme Egg-related items dotted around. The ground floor is the take-away, which features toasties only. Merchandise can also be bought and examined on the ground floor. There's also a locked bird cage with free chocolate to whoever can break the code and a game to find a "wanted" Creme Egg with a mask that is hidden somewhere in the building. The craziest feature is a "Press for a Creme Egg" button which sends a Creme Egg down the shoot for you. The little details (Creme Eggs dotted around the room and so on) feature the eggs in compromising positions and about to become 'goo', as this is what the Creme Egg marketing has been all about for the past ten years or so. I'm not a fan of it personally as I find it annoying.


We were finally shown to the cafe, on the second floor. It's a tiny room with five tables. I ordered tea, and I asked to order each of the four items on the menu, but they would not let me. I know that the tickets come with two of the items for free, but it is £4.00 for each item in the cafe. So, the bloke and I were only allowed to try two items in the cafe. (They were okay with me getting a toastie to take away later on, though.) Options included the Creme Egg Toastie, Creme Egg & Soldiers, Strawberries & MIni Creme Egg, and Creme Egg Tray Bake.


The bloke had the "Cadbury Creme Egg Tray Bake". This was delicious chocolate cake with chocolate icing and crushed Creme Eggs on top. This tasted wonderful and is not too sweet. It curved my chocolate-craving.


I ordered the "strawberries and a mini Creme Egg", which is exaclty what it is. I guess this is the option for the health-conscious. It wasn't very sweet, though, and I'd have preferred a better ratio of strawberry-to-chocolate. We decided to try these options because the "Creme Egg and Soldiers" would have been similar to the Creme Egg Toastie. I'd have loved to have tried it, though. 


We did not spend long in the cafe. It did take a little while for us to get fed, but the portions did not take too long to eat. We were off pretty quickly and went upstairs to the ball pit on the third floor where we watched adults lying down in the pit of balls. The balls could be thrown at items on the wall. I just watched; I did not partake in the fun.


After this, we headed downstairs and pressed the button for a Creme Egg before getting into the queue for the Creme Egg Toasties. The take-away toasties are £2.00 each, and they only take credit or debit card; they do not take cash. The Toastie was delicious, but it could have used a little more Creme Egg as the ends of the bread were absent of chocolate. The taste was similar but not as good as the Crispy Candy Company Creme Egg I had in Camden Market.


While the cafe was enjoyable for its novelty value, I found the price of items quite steep and too crowded/busy. There wasn't anything unique about the items, and the portions were small. I loved the tray bake and it was my favourite item on the menu. The toastie was good too. 

Cadbury Creme Eggs have always been my favourite chocolate, but they were much better when I was younger. They have suffered with recipe changes, and I'm not as keen on them now as I was a few years ago due to additional changes. In the past, I could eat several in one go (or I'd really crave another after I'd just eaten one), but I don't care for them as much now. I also preferred the rabbit-chicken campaign when I was younger and growing up in the 1980s in America. I'm not sure if the UK had the same advertising, but it featured a rabbit making cluck-cluck noises and the Cadbury Creme Eggs next to it. I loved the cluck-cluck rabbit. Here's the commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw_gEyg7Nt8

Have you been to the Cadbury Creme Egg cafe? You can order a take-away toastie or sit in the cafe as there are seats available for walk-in. It is open until March 6, and the hours are Fridays between 5:00pm-9:00pm and Saturdays/Sundays from 2:00pm-6:00pm. The cafe is located on the southern side of Greek Street in Soho.

Earlier this month, I took a visit to Blackall Street in order to check out the street art scene. Over a year ago, the buildings here started to come down and scaffolding has been placed up that has been reclaimed by street and grafitti artists. Blackall Street was always one of the destinations that I'd go to see street art even before the buildings came down. This month, a group of all-female street artists banded together to paint up the scaffolding here. The photographs can be seen below.



Mutiny (Jane Laurie)

Giusi Tomasello




New Art Rioter


When I visited, street artist Kaes (covered here) was also creating a new piece between the work that the girls painted. You can see how the artist paints in his unique style with panels of colour before adding the fine details and highlights of colour. Contrast the piece directly below with the green portrait underneath it, which is finished.



Every time I visit Blackall Street, there is something new to look at. 

Early in 2014, Clet Abraham visited London and decorated the signs in areas such as Brick Lane. I photographed most of the work and put them in my post Street Art: Clet Abraham. Last autumn, the artist returned to London and added more artwork to signs around Brick Lane. I captured a few of these:







Winter Lights @ Canary Wharf

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Winter Lights is an art exhibition that uses elements of light, sound, and sculpture in combination. The free-to-visit exhibition features eighteeen different artworks and is on display at Canary Wharf in east London until January 22 and is available to view between 4:00p.m. and 10:00p.m. I recommend waiting until 5:00p.m. in order to see the outdoor ones because I found it too bright earlier in the day. Winter Lights is the substitute for the Ice Sculpting Festival that Canary Wharf used to host until 2014. This is the second year in a row that Canary Wharf has hosted the light festival in lieu of the ice sculpture one.


Last week, I went to visit Winter Lights to view the artwork. I was not disappointed as there are a couple of gems and some really nice pieces. There were a few that I did not think so much of, but appreciating art is down to the viewer. I recommend visiting before they leave Canary Wharf on the 22nd. Below is a break-down of the work on display.


The Luminous City by Nathaniel Rackowe

Nathaniel Rackowe created a few pieces for the exhibit under the guise of 'The Luminous City', and only my favourites are listed here. The concept combines architecture and light. 'The Consequence of Light' features a moving block of lights that raises and lowers itself to light up individual wooden blocks in a grid pattern. 'Black Shed Expanded' shows a wooden frame with light emitting from the ends of the frame. 

A Parallel Image by Gebhard Sengmüller

This sculpture uses technology and displays each light on a panel as a pixel; each bulb of light represents a pixel transmitted via a separate wire. Over 2,500 cables are used to create this sculpture, which the viewer can walk around and see in action.

Moon by Daniel Iregui

This interactive sculpture creates a series of projected lights that form 'layers' in the empty space and also creates loud bass sounds when the visitor places their hands inside the frame. It was inspired by lunar light.

Light Sphere I by Tom Wilkinson

This sculpture created a ring of light. I believe that it was meant to create a whole sphere, but I only saw the metal ring with lights. 

Liquid Space 6.1 by Daan Roosegaarde

This interactive installation can detect as people move closer to it and then rotate its mechanical body in their direction. Standing underneath the orb in the centre will make the sculpture move and the lights intensify. It will also make noises. This was a fun sculpture to see its reactions to movement while standing underneath it and to watch how its 'legs' shifted. I also watched another group of people interact with it.

We Could Meet by Martin Richman

This light installation is located in the shallow water below the new Crossrail terminal and consists of blue stalks of light with purple stalks of light on some of the ends. The effect was a little difficult to capture on camera. The artist played with colour perception in this piece to enable the viewer to see how the colours 'change' as they work together.

Aura by Philips Lighting Design

This is an interactive installation that uses light and sound based on user's movements. The type of movements made by the viewer influences the sounds and type of lights emitted onto the screen. I tried a 'scratching' motion with my hands, and this provided a unique sound and light when compared to simply moving my hands back and forth. I also loved the fact that the colours of the lights changed for this installation and at times, more than one colour was projected. I really had a lot of fun with this installation and spent a little time playing with it. 

Lumen Prize Exhibition by Lumen

This is the fourth year of this exhibition, and it features art that has been digitally created around the world. The shortlisted and winning works of art for 2015/2016 are a part of a global tour. After London, they will visit Canada, Shanghai, and New York City.

My Light is Your Light by Alaa Minawi

This sculpture was created by the artist to show solidarity with Syrian refugees. The sculptures portray a family of six fleeing the conflict, and the light symbolises that each has their own story to share. The smallest figure shows a glimmer of hope as it appears to have made a discovery while the others have their heads and postures lowered and pointing in the same direction.

Globoscope by Collectif Coin

This luminous orb light installation can be created to work in different locations. The lights change in a sequence of animations. The animations happen in a random manner and start at different points in the installation. At times, all orbs can light up at once.

The Pool by Jen Lewin Studio

'The Pool' is an interactive environment consisting of circular pads that visitors can walk, run, and jump on. When the pads are walked on, the light changes to a different colour. The lights themselves continuously change colour to a new shade to reflect the mood. When groups of users or individual users interact with it, patterns can be created and the pads seem to anticipate the next point where you will step. This was a fun installation, and I saw others come to the exhibit to enjoy the experience. However, do watch the pads as they are a little uneven and slippery when wet. I had a lot of fun with this one.

On the Wings of Freedom by Aether & Hemera
This beautiful installation was inspired by butterflies. They constantly change in colour, representing metamorphosis and evolution. Viewers can interact with the installation by using their mobile phones. Most of the time, the sculpture has rainbow colours, but other changing and more solid colours can animate. I enjoyed gazing at this beautiful sculpture.
Flawless by Gonzalo Bascunan & Perrine Vichet
This installation was not set up when I had a wander around Canary Wharf, but it is inspired by photosynthesis and sunlight through leaves.
Infinity Pools by Stephen Newby

'Infinity Pools' are circular pools of light that appear to go down to deep depths. In reality, they are simple tricks using light and mirrors. There are five of these with two on one side and three on the other side of the dock. I think it would have been a better composition for all of them to be placed a little closer together.

Totem by Bitone Collective

This sculpture uses mobile phone signals in the air around it to come to life. When these signals get nearer, the lights glow brighter, and a sound is emitted from the sculpture. This sculpture makes those hidden signals around us visible through the light and sound. Watching people walk by the sculpture was fascinating.

Chorus by Ray Lee

Kinetic sound is used in this moving sculptures as the top part of the sculptures roate.

Fantstic Planet by Amanda Parer

One of the most memorable exhibits in Winter Lights is the 18-foot tall lit inflatible human figure. The installation was inspired by the science fiction film "Fantastic Planet" (1973), which is set in a planet of giants. The inflatible appears to have just landed and is curiously looking at the ground (and people) in front of it. In addition, sound plays a part to make this feel a little more 'alien'. 

Bit.Fall by Julius Popp

This water and light sculpture was located in the Olympic Park in 2012 underneath one of the bridges, and I watched it there but never included it in my post. Live news feeds create the words that fall from the source so that the words are formed in mid-air before falling into the dock below. This sculpture attracted a lot of attention, and I also enjoyed watching which words would pop out next.

Hot Chocolate & Cake @ SAID dal 1923

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The temperatures really dropped last week, and before walking around Lumiere London, I decided to get myself sorted by treating myself to a hot chocolate and cake. I opted for SAID dal 1923, a cafe that has a branch in Rome and has been in operation since 1923 selling chocolates, cakes, and more. The hot chocolate is melted chocolate, and they add melted chocolate to the rim of the glass. I wish that I'd ordered a larger size as I didn't realise a 'regular' size would be so small.


The hot chocolate was delicious and I would define it as a traditional Italian hot chocolate, which is like a liquid chocolate. I ordered the dark hot chocolate, but milk and white were also available, and they could also be served with cream. I'd definately go there again and order a large one next time. I could have done with a lot more to settle me in for the long evening of walking ahead.


When I arrived at the little cafe in Soho, there was a little bit of a queue. I arrived on a Thursday at about 3:15, and I had to wait about five minutes. The cafe was popular and every seat was taken with many opting to stay longer to avoid the cold. One lady told me that she had been to the cafe three times previously, and it was starting to get busier and busier.


The restaurant still had its Christmas merchandise in the window (chocolate-filled baubles) as well as its other items for sale. I also bought a dark chocolate spread and a chocolate and olive oil spread, which tasted delicious.


There aren't many seats in the cafe, and everyone is kind of squashed together. More room would have been nice, and that is the only drawback. I loved the many chocolate moulds hanging on the walls. I saw truck, fish, lamb, and carrot moulds.


I also had a slice of carrot cake, and the slice was very generous. I could not even eat all of it, but it was tasty.


At the end, I purchased a couple of chocolates to take away: a mint one and a cinnamon truffle. I actually ate these both when I got home very late and felt like I needed a treat from all the walking and cold. Both were delicious. The mint one tasted almost like a truffle with a mint flavour and a perfect texture. The cinnamon truffle was my favourite of the two with a slightly creamy interior that offered the perfect consistency and light cinnamon flavour.

What is my verdict? I will be back for sure.

Update: I went back a week later, and I was not impressed. I ordered the large dark hot chocolate this time, and it did not taste or look the same at all. It wasn't as good. I also had the Dolce chocolate cake, and that was okay. I am disappointed that the hot chocolate was not good the second time around. You can even see in the photographs that it does not look quite the same. I would have to say that this cafe is inconsistent, and I prefer to know that what I get is going to be the best and the same each time I visit.


My verdict? This means that I am still looking for London's best hot chocolate.

Lumiere London 2016

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I visited all thirty of the illuminated art installations in the Lumiere London exhibition last night. Lumiere London is a free-to-visit four-day event held in four main locations in the city of London (Westminster, Soho, Mayfair, and King's Cross). The exhibition started on Thursday night (the 14th of January) and continues until the 17th; Sunday is your last night to see the lights. The lights switch on at 6:30pm and switch off at 10:30pm. Quite a few of these were mesmorising, and I encourage you to see it. However, prepare to dress warmly with gloves and warm coats and comfortable walking shoes as it was so cold on Thursday night and is due to get even colder. Also be prepared for crowds. Thursday night was busy but manageable.


Lumiere London is produced by Artichoke and supported by Mayor of London. Artichoke started Lumiere by bringing it to Durham in 2009; it runs every other year and attendance grows each time. In 2013, it travelled to Londonderry for its City of Culture year. This is the first year it has come to London. It is a welcome event for this time as year as the holiday season has come to an end and there's a lack of colour. I've read somewhere that it's also considered the most depressing time of the year, so an event like this is perfect.

The Light of the Spirit by Patrice Warrener

The Light of the Spirit by Patrice Warrener

My first stop was to Westminster Abbey where I waited as I arrived early. This projection onto the abbey facade illuminates the beautiful architecture that we often do not notice. The colours of the statues are design was constant, but the colours of the abbey on both sides changed from solid colours to different sections in colour, and some of the examples can be seen above. Varying shades of green, blue, pink, purple, red, orange, yellow, and white were projectd onto the abbey and each colour faded into the next.

Plastic Islands by Luzinterruptus

This installation is inspired by the large floating area of debris in the ocean where the ocean's currents have pushed it together. The fountain at Trafalgar Square is transformed into an illuminated floating plastic bottle bin. I think this piece highlights that we need to recycle plastic and consume less.

Neon Dogs by Deepa Mann-Kler

This installation features neon lights in the shape of balloon dogs and bones. It was inspired by the balloons at children's parties and is meant to bring a smile to the viewer's face. I loved the piece, but I was disappointed in the set-up inside the unwashed windows of Coutts Bank on the Strand. The neon dogs were each in one of five panel windows and difficult to see all together. Above is one of the separate panels.

Centre Point Lights

These lights have been removed from the top of the Centre Point building at Tottenham Court Road. People (myself included) have often used this building and those lights to know their location or direction in the city. The lights have only been temporarily removed to show at this exhibition while work is being completed on the building.

Garden of Lights by TILT

This illuminated garden featuring giant flowers and plants of different colours and shapes transforms Leicester Square into a glowing paradise. The reeds around Shakespeare's statue seem like it is a swamp area, and the warm glow of the lights makes winter seem far away. I loved this installation, but the square was so busy and it is difficult to take photographs to show how beautiful it was and how it felt to be there.

Elephantastic! by Topla-design 

This fantastic installation shows an elephant in the archways high above the buildings on the southern end of Regent Street. The elephant moves, stomps to bring dust up, swishes its tail, and raises its trunk to  trumpet. There are additional jungle sounds and sounds of the elephant moving and stomping. On the opposite side of the archway, the back of the elephant can be seen. This projection made it appear that there really was an elephant high up in the archway.

Les Luminéoles by Porté par le vent

Piccadilly Street came to live with these illuminated floating and glowing fish-like creatures. As the three fish were raised and lowered by their handlers, their fins swirled behind them in the air. Glowing lanters also blocked off the area where they could float in the sky. The fish also changed colour from gold to purple to blue to green. In addition, sound was also played along this stretch of the street to set the atmosphere for these luminous creatures. Unfortunately, they were a pain to photograph due to the sheer volume of visitors, street furniture, cables, and the way they moved. I'm sure I could have gotten better photographs if I hung around and waited for the right moment, used other camera settings, and found the right place, though. 

195 Piccadilly by NOVAK

195 Piccadilly by NOVAK

This mural is projected onto the BAFTA building on Piccadilly Street. It features footage of all genres found in the archives. The building was originally the Royal Society of Watercolour Painters, so the animation between images of the actors are done in an artistic way. Sometimes, blocks of colour appear to be 'thrown' onto the canvas that is the building, and these colours 'drip' down, or appear to be painted across the building in long strokes. This is all set to classical music. The above is a small selection of the artwork projected, and this artwork was constantly changing with new 'strokes' being added with new portraits and shapes appearing.

I haven't changed my mind in a thousand years by Beth J. Ross

The text on both sides of the arcade was taken from a book of proverbs that the artist discovered in Durham Cathedral. She had her son rewrite these words before transforming them into neon lights. 

Les Voyageurs (The Travellers) by Cédric Le Borgne

These illuminated human sculptures are located all around St. James' Square. Some are perched on the rooftops of the buildings in the square and others are suspended in mid-air while others appear to be floating or falling from tree branches. I was told by one of the guides that there are eleven of these sculptures to be discovered in the square; I only managed to locate ten. This work encourages visitors to look around them to try to find the illuminated beings.

Aquarium by Benedetto Bufalino & Benoit Deseille

The iconic red telephone box has been transformed into an aquarium. The artists wish us to dream about exotic locations to escape everyday lives. 

Spinning Night in Living Colour by Elaine Buckholtz

This piece is inspired by taking Van Gogh's All Night Café painting and spinning it. Video and light and sound is used to encourage visitors to sit down and look at the colours glow. The installation includes an original sound score by Floor van de Velde and Elaine Buckholtz, and this is based on a slowed-down version of Béla Bartók's Romanian Folk Dance no.3.

Lightbenches by Bernd Spiecker for LBO LichtBankObjekte

The concept of this installation is to create a conversation piece to bring people together. The typical bench and light are combined to create the illuminated bench. The bench changes colour gradually to other colours, such as blue, red, purple, and yellow.

Brothers & Sisters by Ron Haselden

This installation was created based on images of school children from the Isle of Dogs, London. The work grows as it travels to new places and other children are encouraged to contribute it.

Dissect I and Dissect II by Sarah Blood

These illuminated cubes show off the form and space and invite the viewer to climb the stairs to take a look at other illuminated works.

Sanctuary by Sarah Blood

There are twelve of these illuminated birdhouses, from which bird sounds emit. The sounds appear to 'speak' between the different houses. The bird sounds ('caw caw') are created by humans, and the sounds did create some laughter with some other visitors.

Keyframes by Group LAPS

These dancing stick men have a story to tell, and music is used while they climb up and somersault down the facade of the building. They seem to chase each other around the building as they tell their story. This iteration consisted of a little stick man at the bottom jumping up to touch the others and make them disappear, as in a video game, and video game music and noises were included. This was very fun to watch and the crowd seemed pleased.

Shaida Walking 2015 by Julian Opie

This new artwork was created to premiere at London Lumiere, and it features a woman walking. The glowing woman is on a pedestal like a statue that appears to move. This work is similar to neon signs but makes the subject appear to be one of us.

London by Janet Echelman 

This is a beautiful installation strung between buildings at Oxford Circus. The net-like sculpture floats above the streets and moves slightly in the breeze, always changing shape slightly. The sculpture also appears completely different from different angles, and it gradually changes colour. This piece was created based on the Japanese tsunami and is built on the model reprsented from NASA data about how Earth's rotation was sped up and how that day was shortened by 1.8 microseconds. The structure is also inspired based on fishing nets used in India. Visitors are encouraged to play with the colours projected onto the piece using technology when they are at the artwork by going to a special WiFi network and typing in a website address.

Platonic Spin by Nathaniel Rackowe

This animated cube animates in three sections. One at a time, each pane lights up until the whole form is lit. It is suspended in mid-air.

Joining the Dots by Cleary Connolly

This illuminated projection actually symbolises the human form as a series of dots showing where the joints would be. The dots move around the building. These are based on actors doing tasks such as running, walking, swimming, and dancing. The viewer is encouraged to determine if they are male or female, young or old. 

IFO (Unidentified Flying Object) by Jacques Rival

IFO (Unidentified Flying Object) by Jacques Rival

This giant birdcage is lit all the way around, and the neon colours gradually circle around and change. Viewers are encouraged to walk inside where there is a swing to swing on. This is a permanent installation. It was initially meant to be raised in the sky on a crane, but it will rest permanently in this square at King's Cross and act as an urban playing area.

Pipette by Miriam Sleeman, Tom Sloan, Allies & Morrison, Spiers + Major

This installation is a permanent one at King's Cross, which is currently being redeveloped. Colours are projected onto an illuminated wall. 

Light Graffiti by Floating Pictures

This interactive artwork combines different colours of light and visitors can 'draw' in the light using a special torch, which acts as a spray can. 

binaryWaves by LAB[au]

This installation is a group of several panels which uses electromagnetic waves from mobile phones and cars to create light out of these waves around us that we normally would not see. The lights continuously change.

Litre of Light by Mick Stephenson

This installation discusses the importance of light and how light can change lives. In developing and war-torn countries, this is a solution that has helped the disadvantage. Creating light using water, a plastic bottle, and a drop of bleach helps to refract the light. This installation shows this in action with members of the team speaking to the visitors about this solution in more detail.

Spectra-3 by FIELD.io

This is a moving installation that combines light and sound. The satellite dish moves 360 degrees, and the mirrors are attached to the front where light is reflected and creates shapes on visitors and the walls and ceiling.

Diver by Ron Haselden

This illuminated diver was inspired by the work of schoolchildren who were asked to draw the Olympic games. The diver takes on different poses before plunging into the pond below. Each pose is lit up as the diver nears the ground, and all figures are illuminated at the end.

Circus of Light by Ocubo

A circus is performed on the side of a building at King's Cross, and the architecture of the building is often used in the circus performance. This piece really made me feel that I was at the circus.

Dresses by Tae Gon Kim

A series of illuminated dresses were placed around Soho and King's Cross. Each one is unique, and they all gradually change colour. Unfortunately, I kept capturing the blue colour, but I saw the dresses appear in all other colours, and they looked stunning.


Candy floss (cotton candy) light sticks were given out for visitors who saw all of the illuminations at King's Cross. Be sure to pick up a paper at the visitor centre. At each attraction, the visitor asks for a stamp so they can claim the free glowing candy floss. I actually did not know about this until I asked someone with one where they got the candy floss from, and they told me. I then convinced the lady inside the centre that I had been to all illuminations at King's Cross (which I had), so I was able to go inside a rave tent where people were dancing and where a lady dressed all in pink was creating the candy floss light sticks. 

I recommend visiting Lumiere London over the next three days. You can also separate the walk into two sections in order to cut down the miles walked and do the walking at a more leisurely pace. You can quite easily see all in an evening, though. If you do want to break it up into two nights, you could see all of the ones in King's Cross on one night and all the ones in Soho/Westminster/Mayfair on another night. All locations have some brilliant not-to-miss pieces. Hopefully this guide can allow you to determine which ones you particularly wish to see.

'Colour the Capital' and 'Spray for Pray' were two street art events in London at the end of last year. The work featured in this post is from artists Pez and Vova Zomb, whose work can often be seen in the city of London. Spanish street artist Pez ('fish') has been to London a few times and always paints his smiling 'fish' characters. The artist started to paint in Barcelona in 1999. Vova Zomb is a Russian illustrator who lives in London.


'Smile or Die' was a series of murals created by Pez around London. In addition, he also made 'don't worry, I'm happy'.



Following the second attacks in Paris, 'Spray and Pray' was born. Vova Zomb created his character illustrations in Star Yard next to Pez's piece, and the mural appears to mimic stained glass and a religious theme. 




The works are colourful and I think they do create their objective of bringing more colour to the streets of London.

RIP David Bowie & An Afternoon in Brixton

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I will confess that today I made my first proper visit to Brixton. Okay, I've driven in a car in Brixton but never got out and explored it on foot. I remember when I first moved to the UK and London, and Brixton was pretty much considered a rough "no go" area. But, that's been changing for the past few years as property prices have increased in London and the boundaries of nearby Clapham are spreading over to Brixton.

David Bowie

The area has a strong Caribbean and African influence, but the 'hipster' shops are also popping up now. Brixton has its own answer to Shoreditch's BoxPark (called Brixton Popup), and I saw several trendy-looking coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, and craft beer shops. However, the African and Caribbean influences are still prominent with restaurants and flavours, fruit and vegetables (some of which looked foreign to me), fish, and Halal meats were also on offer. The market is the prominent fixture with its independent shops.

Pop Brixton - Brixton's answer to BoxPark Shoreditch

Brixton also has its own street art, although I did not see much when I visited when the shops were all open and most of the street art is located on the shutters. Nealry one year ago, Brixton was in the news as the archways under the railways were under threat of closing by Network Rail. The independent shops are being forced out as this area becomes trendier. A street art jam took place to highlight the casue to save the archway. You can read more about that street art event here and see photographs of the artwork (as I never got around to seeing it): http://inspiringcity.com/2015/04/07/street-artists-combine-in-order-to-support-the-save-brixton-arches-campaign/ 

However, I was able to capture the below street art near the arches and on a couple of the shutters that were down.

Artista & Irony

Frankie Strand









Before exploring too many of the little narrow passages and markets, I found Franco Manca's pizzaria. This is where the chain started, and you may remember my glowing review when I went to their branch at Stratford (covered here)? Well, the service in the Brixton Franco Manca stinks, so don't bother. Not only were the staff rude, but my pizza had burnt-on black 'food' (or what was 'food') underneath. I had the simple cheese pizza and 'organic' lemonade. I was hoping to write a glowing review of the place, but I can't lie. The service was rude, so I shall not return. There's so many other great places (judging by the reviews) to eat at in Brixton, so give them a try instead. My regular readers know that I normally do not leave such bad reviews, but the place really let me down when I've read so many other reviews that were good and claim this is the best branch in the chain. However, something seems to have changed recently as I have noticed a spate of similar reviews and complaints to mine on other websites, so it's not just me or a one-off complaint about the rude staff and less-than-tasty food.


I then explored the markets and roads around Brixton and took in all the sights and smells. The area of Brixton has quite a good, long-lasting community here.






Last, but not least, my real reason for visiting was to see the tributes to David Bowie at the JimmyC (see my post about this artist here) mural opposite the underground station in Brixton. I've been past the mural very early in the morning and didn't have my camera, but I've never had too much of a desire to go to Brixton and look around. Today, that changed (as you know). David Bowie was from Brixton, and he passed away on January 10. There's so much support in the UK and worldwide for this artist, and he's seemed to have played an important role in many lives. The media were there interviewing people when I first arrived. They'd left by the time I was ready to get back onto the train out of Brixton.


I saw many people get emotional. I saw many leave notes, cards, and flowers. I think this man played such a big part of their lives and musical tastes. There's no doubt he was an icon, judging by all of the tributes and the emotions that I witnessed this afternoon.


I like a few of Bowie's songs, but I would not claim to be a big fan by any means. I never really 'followed' his work or got into it as much as I did the Beatles or the Kinks, for example. I appreciated his music and enjoyed it, though. "Major Tom" is my favourite of his songs. I remember first hearing his music. When I was in High School or early college days (in America), I loved 1960s and 1970s music. On most Sunday mornings/early afternoons, one of the local 'oldies' radio stations would play a syndicated 1970s radio 'show' with music and a little snippet of documentary about the artist or song. The show probably lasted around five hours. (They did the same on Saturday nights with 1960s, and it was "Dick Bartley's"). I cannot remember what that 1970s syndicated program was called now, but that was the first time I heard Bowie. The song was "Major Tom".



So, when did you first hear David Bowie and were you a big fan of his music?

Early last year, I posted about Mexican street artist collective Lapiztola and the mural they painted off of Brick Lane. I really liked the work that they created, and I was happy to see that the collective were back in London torward the end of last year with the other Mexican artists. Lapiztola were formed (as a group of graphic designers) in 2006 in Oaxaca in Mexico, and their work is produced with stencils and often features political and social views. Originally, they were put together to highlight these struggles in their hometown before focusing on further afield. 


In fact, the name 'Lapiztola' actually translates into 'pencil' and 'pistol' because they are inspired to try to make the world a better place through their art. Many of their creations feature children as the innocents caught up in horrible struggles. The young boy in this image appears in a state of shock or upset while the flowers pour around him.


This work was a collaboration with Liseth A. (https://www.instagram.com/liseth.a/) or Liseth Amaya. She is an artist from London and created the floral designs. This is a eye-catching image and works well.


View more of Liseth's work here: https://www.instagram.com/liseth.a/

View more of Lapiztola's work here: https://www.instagram.com/lapiztola/

Lunch at BAO

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BAO, a restaurant serving Taiwanese food, opened last spring and has become one of the most popular restaurants in London. The restaurant gets its name from gua bao, which are fluffy steamed buns filled with meat, a local dish from Taiwan. Although BAO opened several months ago now, visitors should still be prepared to queue. I visited on the first Wednesday in January ten minutes before the restaurant opened, and a queue of ten people were already positioned across the street, waiting for the restaurant to open. 


The restaurant is not that large, and every space is used to cater for visitors. I watched several people arrive to be told to wait in the queue across the street. The restaurant was not too busy when I visited, but I have read that there are hour-long waits on some days.


When I arrived, I was given a menu to provide more detail on the bao and a sheet to note how many of the items that I wanted to order. The waiter recommended two bao dished and two sides. I did not see any sides that I would eat, and I just wanted to try the fried chicken bao and the fried Horlicks ice cream bao (as I heard it was very good). The sides included salted egg, house pickles, sweet potato chips, and peanut milk.



The restaurant also offer a range of teas, ciders, and beers. They also have beer from Taiwan. A range of xiao chi (small dishes) are also served. I did not try any of these this time. The signature bao is filled with braised pork and peanut butter. I ordered the fried chicken, which was served in a bun along with spicy salad (kimchi) and mayonnaise. (I asked for it without mayonnaise.)


The buns themselves are made from milk and are the size of a 'slider' (small hamburger). The small dishes are also popular, and the Asian girl who sat next to me ordered a bao and some of the small eats and disappeared to take a phone call while her food turned up.  


The dessert bao, the Horlicks ice cream one, is made with doughnut batter and has ice cream sandwiched inside it. I just did not like the batter or the taste of the ice cream, so I cannot recommend this dish although other reviews of it were glowing. 


Would I return to BAO? Yes, I would return and try some of the other dishes, such as the small eats. The fried chicken bao was also excellent, and the bun was light and fluffy. I would eat that dish again, and I would try some of the teas and the other drinks on the menu. 

London's Sculpture in the City 2015

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Sculpture in the City 2015 is a public sculpture trail around London's Square Mile. This is the fifth year of the public art event and features work by artists such as Damien Hirst, Ai Weiwei, Laura Ford, Kris Martin, Folkert de Jong, Tomoaki Suzuki, and others. As last year, workshops are also available to local schools to encourage students to explore and understand art. 


Charity by Damien Hirst

This sculpture was publicised the most last summer because it was based on a real image for Scope charity's collection box, which would have been outside of local shops in the 1960s and 1970s. The sculpture was completed in 2003 and is made of bronze and stands at 22 feet tall. The sculpture was in the news for the portrayal of 'victims' on the collection boxes and political correctness. In addition, this sculpture was made to appear vandalised with the box itself emptied with 'coins' lying on the ground.


Forever by Ai Weiwei

This sculpture is created with rows of similar steel bikes. Looking at the sculpture from different vantage points, and it appears that the sculpture moves. Weiwei is a popular Chinese artist, and the name of the sculpture is the brand of the bicycles that were mass-manufactured in Shanghai since 1940. Nowadays, the bikes are being replaced by cars. I love the sense of movement created by this piece, and it was one of the pieces that I enjoyed photographing and gazing at.


Bells II by Kris Martin

This sculpture is made up of two church bells of the same size that have been joined at the bottom. The significance of the sculpture is that the bells cannot ring as they are closed together. The bells essentially become silenced as they are closed together, and this alters the perception of the object.


Carson, Emma, Takashi, Zezi, Nia  by Tomoaki Suzuki

Suzuki was inspired by Japanese woodcarving to create detailed portraits of miniature diverse youths. These five sculptures have been cast in bronze. Each one is unique and highly-detailed. 


Altar by Kris Martin

This metal sculpture is a replica of the 15th century Ghent Alterpiece (located in Saint Bavo Cathedral) by Jan Van Eych and Hubert, which was central to Renaissance painting. The viewer looks out at the world instead of idealistic painted scenery and religious imagery that would normally be represented inside these panels. Instead, the focus is on life and 'realistic' everyday scenery instead of the ideal.


´O my friends, there are no friends´  by Sigalit Landau

This sculpture is created with bronze shoes and real laces tied together to form a circle. According to the artist, it represents a time of the future when people can put the shoes on to create a better community and a better history. The shoes are tied together and have a sense of belonging. They are tied into a large circle, and all must work together.


Broken Pillar #12 by Shan Hur

This sculpture is a series of work developed. The artist uses found objects relevant to the location of the structure, and places the objects within the pillar. This pillar's location is in St. Helen's Churchyard, and it contains a floral vase inside it.


Days of Judgement - Cats 1 & 2 by Laura Ford

Laura Ford is known for portraying animals with human characteristics. The cats sculptures are made of bronze and her inspiration was Masaccio's fresco "The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden" in Brancacci Chapel in Florence. Adam and Eve are portrayed as cats that seem to be torn apart emotionally in their postures, with featureless faces. 


Breakout II by Bruce Beasley

This sculpture consists of cubic structures placed together in an organic situation with gravity seeming to enforce the shape of the sculpture. The sculpture is created out of bronze. 


Rays (London) by Xavier Veilhan

This sculpture is a part of a series of similar sculptures that allow the viewer to look at new views of the city based on ongoing construction work. The two poles create a skeleton frame which allows the viewer to imagine that they are a new addition to the city and to provide a new relationship to the buildings and other objects around them.


Red Atlas by Ekkehard Altenburger

This sculpture is a part of a series of sculptures that relate to balance. The artist has used architectural elements in other sculptures in the series to achieve this. This black and gold sculpture is propped up against a wall, seeminlgy held up by its own weight. 


Organisms of Control #8 by Keita Miyazaki

This aculpture is based on a series that view a new vision of Japan from the rubble of the earthquake and tsunami. The sculpture is created with old car parts and the sculpture makes sound, inspired by the tunes played in the Tokyo public transport and in Japanese shops.


Ghost by Adam Chodzko

This is a sculpture of a kayak hanging above Leadenhall Market. The sculpture has been used all over the UK and ferries a passenger on a journey while recording it the memory. The artwork was created in 2010 and has travelled in Kent, Devon, Olympic Park, and Newcastle.  


Old DNA by Folkert de Jong

Artist de Jong created this sculpture using a 3D scan of armour that belonged to Henry VIII. The sculpture represents decay and how power/strength can decay over time. 

The sculptures are on display until May 2016 before they are replaced with new sculptures that will be on display until next May.

Previous years of London's Sculpture in the City are included below:

London Street Art Review of 2015

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Last year (2015) had provided some good street art in the ever-changing London scene. I have decided to list a review of the year in this post featuring some favourites and popular pieces. 2015 has been a little different than the past few years as (from March) I have gone from working in east London and checking out the scene on a daily basis to only being able to visit at the odd weekend (as I lived outside of London). So, here's the notable pieces that I did not miss and was able to photograph so far. (Also, apologies for not posting this sooner.)

Cheese London

January: 'Je Suis Charlie' (covered here) was the mood of the month. This tragic event in Paris and the murder of cartoonists by terrorists led to some creative quick work across the city, such as the work by Pure Evil (below), who painted a few times on the hoarding off Great Eastern Street.


February: I loved the Valentine's Day tribute parody of the card 'I choo-choo-choose you' from The Simpsons. The artwork was completed by Graffiti Life. You can read more about my write-up on it here.


March: March was a busy month for street art, and I cannot choose just one good piece as the weather started to get warmer and artists started to hit the streets.

First, Femme Fierce took place in Leake Street Tunnel. This is an annual event of women artists. I checked it out this year and saw a lot of good work, which you can read more about here.


Phelgm's artwork is one of the most easily-recognisable with his unique spindly characters, and I was happy to see a new one of his pieces painted on a large wall between Rivington and Old Streets (covered here).


Evoca1 and PixelPancho (covered here) also painted in London, and I loved the roosters on Hanbury Street.


Gregos, a street artist who places up plaster masks, also visited London again and I loved finding his masks across the city.


April: April was another busy month, and I've managed to shorten the list down to a couple of amazing pieces.

JimmyC produced a stunning portrait on a local cafe (Joe's Kid) off Brick Lane. The story behind the piece is interesting (read here).


En Masse, a collective Canadian group, painted on the Village Underground wall, and it was one of the most impressive walls of the year (covered here).


May: The month of May was busy in the diary for street art. The Greenhouse Effect Paint Jam was one of the main events taking place off Pedley Street (near Brick Lane) in reclaimed land. I wasn't able to get many photographs of this before they were painted over, but you can read more about it here.

One of the largest pieces on a wall that had not really been used for street art much until this year was titled 'Spring Offering' by Bailon and Sliks (covered here).


Brazilian artist Cranio (who paints the blue tribal characters) also returned to London in the spring, and one of my favourite pieces was a collaboration between him and London Fanakapan (covered here). I loved seeing the painted foil balloons by Fankapan go up over the city over the spring and summer in 2015.


June: The summer months continued to be busy with walls changing often, and I was starting to find getting into London to get photographs a little challenging before the work changed. There are many excellent examples of work this month.

London-based artist Himbad has had a popular year on the streets of London, and a favourite of mine was a collaboration with Kyle Holbrook (Himbad and Kyle Holbrook). 


Boe & Irony also returned to create two large-scale and stunning pieces in Paradise Row (a pigeon and a cat) in Bethnal Green. More work on Paradise Row can be read in my post here.


Ben Eine also came back to create new work in the city, and he collaborated with street artist Cheese London on the piece near Columbia Road.


Furia ACK (covered here) was another artist to create several paintings across London in the spring and summer, but the artist has had a longer time here with a lot of work appearing from as early as mid-2014.


One of the most colourful and probably one of the most photographed pieces, by Alexis Diaz and Elian, was also painted on Hanbury Street this month (covered here).


July: July was the busiest month of street art, and I found that I missed a lot of the London scene as it was a very busy month for me. For me, it was all about Bristol Upfest, which I covered here. There were so many excellent pieces created by many excellent artists, and I covered it extensively in my post. 


In London, one of the most interesting street art took form in sculptures of pigeons placed in Soho Square. The pigeons were made by Patrick Murphy (covered here) and were on display throughout the summer but were particular to an event at the end of July.


August: August made the news with Banksy street art. Dismaland became a popular sensation and people struggled to get tickets. I was away on a business trip but thankfully back the following week and managed to secure tickets (before resorting to having to beg friends in Weston-super-Mare to get me in). I covered Dismaland in my post here.


Of course, being away and doing a lot of overtime at work meant that I could not make it to London for awhile. 

September: The street art scene did not show any decline over the summer months, and my schedule continued to be busy, but I was able to make it to London to photograph some pieces. I know that over the summer, glow-in-the-dark street art was all the rage, and there were at least five pieces up in London. A lot of these were commissioned and could only be really enjoyed in the evening, and they also did not last too long. I managed to photograph one by Amara por Dios, but it was in daylight only, and I also managed to photograph these owls in Camden later in the year in daylight.


Telmo Miel painted "Love Gloves" in the series of gloves and a hybrid human-panda. I covered the work in more detail here.


Masai painted a mural in order to help endangered coral reefs, and the result is a stunning piece (covered here).


October: October brought us a stunning collaboration by Nagel (popular for his mushroom sculptures) and Pang (who creates illustrations normally in black and white). They collaborated on 'The Death of Ego' off Brick Lane, which I covered here


October was also a popular month featuring artists from Mexico. Mazatl, Acaro, and Stinkfish all collaborated on artwork in the city (covered here).


And, finally, Bom.K. produced a stunning green mural off Brick Lane. The mural appeared realistic andwas eye-catching.


November: This year was also a changing one as places that were often painted on with street art and other familiar areas in London have started to disappear now that newer buildings are being built and these areas are being replaced. This theme was covered a lot recently, and one of the images that captures this best is by JimmyC.


The next work this month comes from one of the artists who really got me interested in street art, Stik (covered here). A new Stik was painted this month on Hackney Road, and it's been a long while since the artist has put up anything new in London. A new Stik appeared at Homerton Hospital earlier in the year, but it was a smaller scale and I have not been able to see it. I love how Stik has used the crumbling building in this new mural.


December: The biggest surprise this month was seeing Banksy's "The Drinker" sculpture re-appear in Soho with some additions to it. AK47 added a toilet seat and renamed the statue to "The Stinker".

Additionally, Gregos (the artist who appeared earlier in the year) hit the streets again in December and pasted up a new mural featuring his masks with balloons. This was an interesting concept because it encouraged visitors to post with the artwork.


Notable MentionsNotable mention throughout the year is ALO (covered here), Zabou (covered here) and Don 'Paul' Smith, both who painted quite a bit in London throughout the year. 


Don 'Paul' Smith continued to place his artwork around the city, and I saw something new each time I visited (covered here).



I hope that 2016 is a good year for street art, despite the number of walls and areas that they were placed on is dwindling. Also, I hope to be able to keep up with the scene a little more unlike 2015.

Eat Your Drink Pop-up on Carnaby Street

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I visited the 'Eat Your Drink' pop-up shop under Benefit in Carnaby Street just before Christmas. The pop-up was in session until Christmas Eve, but I recommend it if it comes on the scene again. The pop-up was created by Smith & Sinclair as a launch of their alcoholic confectionary. Their sweets include gelatin-based sweets infused with cocktail and candy floss that can be added to your alcohol. The shop sells the sweets or you could try a taste.


The boxes of cocktail jellies are 10.00 each, and the candy floss jar was 22.00, which is steep considering that it does not contain alcohol and is primarily sugar and crushed flavouring.

I visited and purchased some Christmas gifts (which is why I am posting this after the big day), but I unfortunately forgot to give a code word to allow me to take advantage of the 10% discount. 


The jellies contain a lot of alcohol, and I was told that it's possible to get drunk eating a lot of them. There are six in a pack, which makes them nearly cost 2.00 each. However, you could taste one for 1.00 in the shop.


The candy floss works by adding vodka, gin, or another spirit to the jar and leaving to set to infuse. The before and after photographs are pictured above. The mix produced a lightly-flavoured spirit. I used Vodka. I couldn't find out how much of the spirit to use in the jar as there wasn't any instructions, so I filled it 2/3rds full, and this took nearly a full bottle of Vodka minus about five shots that I'd previously used and decided to keep unflavoured in the jar.

Have you tried any of Smith & Sinclair's edible drinks?

When I was recently in Soho, I managed to take photographs of some of the new street art which has popped up earlier last year. In this post, I have covered art from Thierry Noir, Paul 'Don' Smith, Broken Fingaz, Amara por Dios, and Doctor Cream.

First up is a colourful contribution to the streets of Soho by Thierry Noir with his trademark heads in pastel colours. The artist has made several visits to London, and I think that the latest piece Thierry Noir created in London was in Shoreditch.


Paul 'Don' Smith has created several new pieces throughout Soho after most of his pieces in Shoreditch and Spitalfields were tagged over toward the end of last year. You can read more about the artist here.

The Martian


The Revenant

Hardy - Legend

Black Mass

Batman vs Superman

Krays - Legend

Star Wars

I also discovered another 'Rolling Fool' from street artist Dr. Cream, who I have previously covered here.


Amara Por Dios painted on Chotto Matte restaurant, saying that she was inspired to paint with a Peruvian and Japanese flair for the restaurant (1). The artist has been busy in London this year and most recent work included glow-in-the-dark pieces.


Broken Fingaz also painted a new mural on a shutter in Soho, a couple of doors from the Thierry Noir one that I pictured above. I recently covered some of their work here, but I have not seen any new work of theirs for a couple of years, so it was nice to see something new.


1) Chotto Matte. http://www.amarapordios.com/#!Chotto-Matte-x-Amara-Por-Dios/c1onc/55b20ee40cf2f7a6a93156e6 [3 January 2016].

In the middle of November, the bloke and I headed over to Camden Markets on a Saturday to have a look around the stalls. I had not been to Camden Markets for a few years (read my last post here), and the bloke has never been. It's just an area of London that was a little bit of a pain to get to and I've not particularly needed to visit. I've been wanting to see the Amy Winehouse [ADD LINK] sculpture for awhile, though. I can't believe that it has been there for over a year. I finally did get to see it, and we looked around the markets at had dinner at Gilgamesh.


When we arrived in Camden, we saw street performers dressed like the Mad Hatter and Alice in Wonderland having the tea party and encouraging people to sit with them. I've not seen them before, so it was unique. The Mad Hatter looked like the Johnny Depp version of the Mad Hatter.


We also saw the shop fronts with the sculptures on them. There were new ones from the last time that I had visited.




We we arrived into the market, we hunted down some snacks. I was keen to try the Crispy Candy Company desserts. They are basically chocolate bars deep-fried with doughnut batter. I had the creme egg one, and it was so delicious. It was served with whipped cream. This was so addicting with the melted chocolate inside the batter.


After spending ages in the maze of Camden Stables and Locks markets, it was finally time for the reservation at Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is a Pan-Asian restaurant that takes up a large area of Camden between the markets. The main area has a 40ft ceiling. We had a discount voucher for three courses and a glass of cocktail. 


We were seated in the bar area, but the main restaurant seating with the high ceilings looked amazing when we walked through it.


With our voucher, we received a free cocktail from a selection of four options. We tried the raspberry bellini and the rossini, which was strawberry topped with sparkling wine.


Next up - the starters. The bloke ordered the crispy chicken wings with the kimchi glaze. These were topped with sesame seeds and tasted gorgeous. I loved the glaze. It's a pity the glaze wasn't used for battered chicken breast as I am not a big fan of chicken wings and eating chicken off the bone.


I ordered the vegetable (yam and sesame) spring rolls, and these were good. I preferred the chicken, however.


We also ordered another round of cocktails. I cannot remember what they were now as it's taken a little while to get around to writing this post.


For the mains, I had the five-spiced baby chicken with green namjim and fennel. This came with jasmine rice. I liked the sauce on the chicken, but I was not keen on the texture of the chicken in how it was cooked and was very 'fatty'.


The bloke ordered the baked fillet of salmon, which was marinated in miso.


The voucher also came with a choice of dessert. I had the passionfruit creme brulee, which was very good. The bloke had a selection of ice cream. One of the flavours was green tea, and I believe that he thought the other flavour was mango.


Would I visit Gilgamesh again? I would not rush back. Service was very slow for us, even though the restaurant was not particularly busy when we arrived. I was not impressed with the food that I ordered. I do wish that we would be allowed to choose from the main menu when we purchase a voucher because I might have enjoyed the meal more had I been able to order a different dish instead of from the set menu.

Thanks to InspiringCity (http://inspiringcity.com) for alerting me to this next piece when they featured it on their blog; I don't often visit Soho, so I doubt that I would have come across this statue otherwise. While I was in London on the Seven Noses of Soho tour on New Year's Day, I convinced the rest of the group to walk across the road to have a look with me. Everyone loves Banksy, so I hope no one minded the walk across the road to have a look. 


The history behind the statue is that Banksy created it and placed it on this little 'square' off Shaftesbury Avenue about ten years ago. The statue is modelled after Rodin's "The Thinker", but it was changed to "The Drinker" and included the traffic cone on the head. I suppose this was a dig at the drunks in Soho and how drunk people can get excited about playing with street furniture, such as cones. That is how I've interpreted it anyway. Who hasn't seen a drunk person playing with a traffic cone?

A group known as AK47 'kidnapped' "The Drinker" and demanded a ransom for it, but Banksy never paid it. You can read more about "The Drinker" and its kidnap at The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2004/apr/02/art


Three weeks ago, AK47 brought it back to the same location with some alterations. The statue has been renamed "The Stinker" and a large toilet seat has been added. It appears that "The Drinker" is sitting on a toilet seat with the cone on its head. AK47 have added their tag in red and crossed out the "Dr" in "drinker" and added a "St" in red paint on the plinth.


The piece is located off Shaftesbury Avenue near Shaftesbury Theatre, and I suggest seeing it soon before it's taken again. 

Banksy was in the news last summer for creating the Dismaland Bemusement Park, which I covered here

The Seven Noses of Soho on New Year's Day

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I spent New Year's Day walking around London on a guided tour to track down the seven noses of Soho. The tours to see the Seven Noses of Soho are held a few times throughout the year by qualified guide Peter Berthoud, and the tours are small in size (a maximum of ten people) to allow everyone to mingle, and we were lucky to be in a nice group. The Seven Noses tour on New Year's Day is special in that it also includes stops at various pubs that have decided to open on the day. Viewing the seven noses is also meant to bring infinite wealth, but the wealth may not include money; it may be in the form of money, happiness, health, love, cats, or something else.


Many myths have surrounded the noses before learning in 2011 who the artist was and why they were placed on the walls. The artist is Rick Buckley, and in 1997, he added around 35 noses to buildings in London, including high-profile buildings such as South Bank Centre, the Tate, and National Gallery. The noses are a cast of his own and created with Plaster of Paris and polymer and usually painted to match the wall placed on. The reason for them is that the artist saw them as a form of silent protest against the increase of CCTV cameras; he wanted to see if he could add them without being caught. Essentially, they are a form of street art, such as Space Invader or Gregos's masks.

Today, only about ten of the noses exist. Seven of these are located in (or near) Soho, and there's also meant to be one at St. Pancras, two at Hayward Gallery, and one at South Bank walkway. We saw the seven original ones by Rick Buckley around Soho, an ear, and a bonus nose that has nothing to do with Rick Buckley. 

The most famous nose is located on the Admirality Arch, and the myth was that it was modelled on Napoleon's and rubbed by horse-riders for good luck. This one is commonly known, but I am going to keep the other locations secret. You'll just have to go on the tour.


The first sculpture that we spotted was the ear on the side of a building. This was put up by Tim Fishlock. There are a few more ear sculptures around London.


We were also provided with chocolates to begin our walking tour.


On the tour, we came across a sculpture set into the side of a building. We were told that these are from the London Guild (livery company) of Mercers (traders). They had a similar sculpture (called Mercers' Maidens) on each of their buildings.


Around the corner was our first pub visit, the Cross Keys. I've been to this pub before, but it was packed. When we visited, it was virtually empty. We were able to sit at a table and have drinks and chat. The pub is decorated for the holidays, and we saw items signed by the Beatles and Elvis hanging on the wall.


We then came across the bonus nose in Soho. This is not one of the original noses by Buckley. In fact, we were told that the person behind this nose was on one of the other tours. The nose was placed on the wall because of a dispute with the council over building work. 


After hunting down more noses and being disappointed by a lot of pubs being shut that we'd hoped to visit, we eventually ended up next to Liberty Department store where it was quite busy. However, we managed to have a 'standing' drink and chat in The Clachan.


Some of the pubs we visited had specialist ales and other drinks and they're perfect for a quick stop and to try something different. Unfortunately, I'm not a drinker of ale/beer/cider, so these eludes me a bit. But if you are a drinker of these, then you won't be disappointed. I did, however, have a glass of fizz.


After walking further and seeing more noses, we ended up in Tom Cribb pub. This pub is named after a boxer and contained a lot of specialist drinks.


The tour ended near Trafalgar Square, but a few of us headed off to Walkers Wine & Ale Bar not far away. There was a lot of room in the basement of the bar, and we were able to chat longer before heading home.


We really enjoyed our tour around London to the pubs and to see the Seven Noses of Soho and I recommend it. For more information about this tour, other London tours, and to book the tour, view the EventBrite page here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/discovering-london-with-peter-berthoud-2311088161


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