Category Archives: Artists

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring”- David Bowie

collage-2017-06-08If you go to London, Brixton is a must see place. It’s the last station of the Victoria Line and it’s a pleasure for the eyes as soon as you go out of the Tube, for, just opposite the street, in Tunstall Road, there’s a mural painting of David Bowie made by the Australian artist James Cochran. It’s a personal version of Aladdin Sane’s album cover and I first saw it last year in January, when the place was full of flowers and grieving messages. On January this year it was the same, save for a glass put to protect the artwork.

Bowie was born in Stansfield road in Brixton and there are several places to see if you’re a fan of him or just a music lover, like the Arts Lab, the hair salon where the Ziggy Stardust hair style was created or the park where he performed in 1969. When I was in London there were two different walking tours that offer people an all-encompassing journey from birth to death of one of London’s biggest icons, with passionate guides able to enrich the visit with stories and anecdotes. There’s a 2 hour tour and a 4 hour one that includes a trip to Beckenham, browse the web and look for the most suitable for you.

Brixton of course, it’s not only Bowie, its market is the Europe’s biggest Afro-Caribbean food market. You can get there with just a two minute walk from Brixton tube station: Brixton Village and Market Row (just across the road) are basically a collection of narrow streets called ‘Avenues’ where you can find everything, tasting a large variety of street food and have a good meal for £10. As I’m gluten intolerant, I looked for something for me and it was a pleasure to see there was a wide choice. Beside of the always trustable Honest Burger, I personally tried Sansla creperie and I wasn’t disappointed. Remember to order a galette and not a crepe if you need to avoid gluten. The Banoffee tasted heavenly and the vanilla shake was delicious. Since I want to go back there to visit the windmill, I will surely hit Sansla for a different option. Here’s the link: http://www.senzalacreperie.co.uk/

In addition to all the open market stalls, the area is full of shops (included my beloved Poundland) and many interesting things to see (as I stated before, I need to go back to visit all the art galleries and the music shops) like the O2 Academy (or Brixton Academy), that was once a cinema and now it’s an important  centre for live music. The Academy was built in 1929 and still have its wonderful art decò style.

So, if you’re in London, don’t miss this incredible borough.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Guns of Brixton – The Clash

 

 

 

 

“Music can change the world because it can change people” ― Bono Vox

On Sunday the Old Trafford Stadium hosted the “One Love Manchester” tribute concert made of the performances from some of the biggest artists in the world. This benefit concert generated around $2.6 million in donations for the “We Love Manchester Emergency Fund”, to help victims of the terrorist attack on Ariana Grande’s gig.

I saw this show also as a statement of people saying “you can hurt us, but we’re still stand together supporting music and the right to have fun without fear”. Because the aim of assaults is to scare us, to bash everything that generates fun and happiness, to force us living in the constant fear of being attacked. What happened in Turin, where thousands of people who were watching the final match of Champions League, panicked after hearing the noise of some shots and turned into a human avalanche that generated over 600 injured, is a consistent example of the constant tension that lingers in our countries.

The best answer is keeping on travelling, on attending concerts and sport events: all the smiles and happy faces I saw last night are the best answer to hate and the reason why  my favourite part (in addition of Coldplay, of course) was the Parrs Wood High School Choir exhibition. Not only because the young and talented soloist (she is only 12 and has an incredible voice) was overwhelmed with emotion and calmed down only after being hugged by Ariana with whom she was duetting, but mainly because those kids represented the new generations who stand together and aren’t afraid to live their lives.

As regarding myself, I have experienced once again the healing power of music, because while I was singing out loud Coldplay and Oasis’ songs, I forgot my miserable condition and my sick sad life.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Fix You – Coldplay

 

“Stop making stupid people famous”-Unknown

I’m broke and I have a horrible health, so I’m always looking for opportunities to make money working from home. Browsing the web I found out about people who became rich thanks to their blogs or vlogs. And browsing more, I found out the existence of the so called influencers. I learned that many bloggers achieved the influencer status through their blogs, but that not all influencers have a blog.

Many of them provide useful tips, tell interesting things or are funny without being stupid. Unfortunately, above all regarding Italy, the most famous bloggers/vloggers talk about nonsense and as regarding influencers, in the social media there are large number of people who are unworthy of such honour. Through Instagram I saw many of them at Milan Fashion Week (but it could be any event) and the way they were seeking paparazzi attention, was embarassing, I found pathetic the fact that they were constantly changing their outfits during the shows in order to get more pictures. I don’t know nothing about fashion, but the way influencers dress is not fashionable at all.

Let’s be honest: people who are viewed as social media influencers, don’t teach anything, they’re followed by mainly young girls who see them as icons, who call them “Queen” or “my inspiration” and they end thinking that the most important thing is to wear brands for free just taking selfies or showing their bodies. Why do we reward stupidity?

So here’s my suggestion to fight this madness:

-Stop giving them attention. The more you adore (or hate) them you empower untalented people.

-Browse WordPress or a similar site and find blogs run by unknown people who have something to say. Talk to them, learn from them.

-Support indie artists and original makers and handmade creators,

-Write yourself a blog (or film vlogs) where you talk about inspirational things like books, travels, art and, why not, fashion.

Ps. If you want to know what I like to watch on You Tube, here’s Olive’s channel: she sings in Late Cambrian and in her vlogs, she proposes a lot of interesting topics using different registers. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYCUR_BNSrdC2GF3zB0ky9Q

If you need indie artists recommendations, ask me.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Stupid Girls- P!nk

 

 

“Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that”- Martin Luther King Jr.

Many things have been written about what happened in Manchester. I read disgusting sarcasm like “Here’s what you get for listening shitty music”, a lot of hate, too many useless theories, a few jackals/journalists stalking victim’s relatives in order to get the perfect moving story, the usual comment of people who state that we only get indignant because it happened in Europe.

My opinion is: too many young angels grew their wings too soon and their families deserve silence and respect. They don’t need our silly conjectures.

Also, big, tragic events like this can make feel like that the world is falling apart, so, in your lifes,  look for one of the tiny acts of kindness that still hold it together.

The words that inspired me to stay positive, came from JD: “Even in the most fucked up times, look to the light. It’s the only way to fight the darkness.

TRACK OF THE DAY: One more time- Ariana Grande

“Ocean separates lands, not souls”-Munia Khan

I’ve just finished to read “Just Kids” by Patti Smith, well, read is not the proper word since I literally devoured it, I love her prose, she is a poet indeed because she has the ability to keep the reader stuck on the page. There isn’t a dull moment, an unnecessary part, she presents people, places and situations through her eyes and her attention to details, clothes, smells or tastes, helps to have a clear picture of what she writes. This book is an autobiography and it’s centred mainly on her relationship with the artist/photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and their struggle to realize their dreams in New York. It’s an inspirational book, above all if you have artistic ambitions and it’s an honest overview on two cultural icons who trascend their times.

There are many reasons why one can find this book interesting, but what I loved the most is the kind of relationship between Patti and Robert. She promised him to write their story after his death (he passed away in 1989 after battling against AIDS) and she fulfilled this promise many years later with this heartfelt book. Their bond was so intense that it hold out against lack of money, it endured after both careers took off and despite of Robert’s homosexuality, it spiritually survived even after Patti got married and had kids. When Robert died, she knew it before anyone told her about it and I think that’s the best example how two souls can be deeply related besides time, distance or other relationships.

I believe in what Goethe called “Elective Affinities”, that somewhere there is our perfect half and that we can recognize them through simple details (same interests, a food you both like, a particular scent, a song…), you don’t need big things to say “You’re my person” to someone, you just feel it.

Unfortunately fate is mean and it often happens to meet the right one too late or that there are insurmountable obstacles to your happiness. There’s no biggest punishment than can’t be together with the person you’re destined to. But this is called life.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Ask the Angels- Patti Smith

“And the city itself was just a glow on the dark earth”- Monica Ali

As I said before, I’ve just read “Brick Lane” by Monica Ali and I totally fell in love with it. I borrowed it from the library only because I liked the title (lately I’m only looking for novels set in London) and it was a positive surprise. It’s a choral novel even if the main point of view is Nazneen’s, a Bangladeshi woman relocated to London through an arranged marriage to a man nearly twice her age. The books tells her story, but also many other of the people of Bangladeshi origin she meets, with a look on what happens in her country of origin through what’s happening to her sister Hasina. The book is not properly set in Brick Lane, maybe “Mile End” would have been a better title, but if you’re familiar to that part of East London, there are many places that can be easily recognised. The plot is pleasant and interesting, characters are well depicted, the descriptions are vivid and the reader’s interest is always kept alive. I loved seeing the main character growth: at first she’s submitted to her husband, unhappy and prefer taking refuge into her past and happy childhood rather than taking pleasure in daily life. Then she learns English, she starts earning her own money, she gets a lover who helps her to see over the four walls of her apartment. In the end she realizes who she is and what she wants to be, so she gets rid both of her husband and lover and opens a sewing workshop with some friends of her and finally fullfill her desire to ice-skating even in a sari.

If you want to visit Brick Lane you have to hop off at Aldgate and walk for a 5 minutes. Besides of the street art, the first thing that strikes the attention is the Old Truman brewery once home to London’s largest brewery and now location to a hive of creative businesses like independent shops, galleries, markets (only at the weekends), bars and restaurants.

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If you keep walking along this long lane, you will find The cereal killer cafe that sells over 100 different types of cereal from around the world. You can eat there and they have vegan and gluten free options.

Another well known place is the Beigel shop, open 24/7 whose menu is focused on beigels (not bagels, it keeps the yddish pronunciation) baked in the traditional Jewish style (it’s being boiled in water before baking, a step that produces its crisp crust and moist, chewy interior) with  a lot of tasty fillings. It also serves pastries, cakes and sweets as well as white, rye and black bread. It’s not expensive, but it has no gluten free option.

If you raise your eyes, once you pass under the railway bridge, you will see the 123 building that is a four-storey mini department store packed with recycled clothing.

And on the less known part of Brick lane, just crossed Bethnal Green Road, there’s Tatty Devine my favourite handmade jewellery shop, where you can find some original, playful, colourful, laser cut acrylic things. There’s another shop in Covent Garden, but I use to go there.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Brimful of Asha- Cornershop

“Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint”- Banksy

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I’m currently reading “Brick Lane” by Monica Ali and this made me nostalgic of a place in London I love a lot because it’s peculiar and always new.

This first part is dedicated to Brick Lane’s street art and consider it as partial since graffitis change continuously and since I’d need an infinite post to show you everything. Let me say that you can look for online guides that tell you where Banksy’s art is located, I think there are also guided tours, but the best way to get in touch into Brick Lane’s street art is to wander and to explore back streets and side streets looking for hidden gems.

The aim of street art is striking people’s attention, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know a thing about paintings or tendencies, you just need your eyes, an open mind and eventually, a camera.

Those above are works by the Austrian street artist HNRX, who works with his own brand of comic-surrealism.

These are works from another well known artist, the Chilean Otto Shade, who has mainly two styles. The first, also you can see in the Love Is… graffiti, is a ribbon effect, often interlaced with words; in this street art the red meerkat is made of laces with the names of the cities. Another way of expressing his art is painting a silhouette in an orange/yellow circular shape on a black background as you can see above. These kinds of work have a strong political or social message.

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The former station of Shoreditch in Pedley street, is covered in a stunning Star Wars art by Jim Vision and other fantastic works by various artists.

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Here’s various works. In the centre there is Charlie Burn’s portrait by Ben Slow in Bacon street. On the top left, Bohk green figure with oxygen mask, that was in Pedley Street and has been replaced by a graffiti by Kaes. On the top right, the out of this world Fanakapan’s Helium elephants mural. Bottom left art from 2014 by Decolife and on the right, a cloud vomiting rainbows by Ronzo, located in Fashion street.

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Art in Brick Lane is not only graffiti and paintings, here’s some art in Ely’s yard, my friends were fascinated by the winged round green bomb on the white car.

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Walls are often covered in stickers with the most iconic people, characters or poignant messages.

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The mosaic mural artwork representing the range of religions in the community by children of local schools.

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More arts to make you eager to explore Brick Lane.

TRACK OF THE DAY:What the water gave me- Florence and the Machine