Urban

Banksy has left the building…

Up until three weeks ago, this thought-provoking piece of art – Very Little Helps – decorated a wall on Essex Road. Arts students and tourists travelling from afar would gather around it, take pictures and exchange knowledgeable glances.

When it was put up in 2008, it was interpreted as showing Banksy’s support of a ban on plastic bags. In retrospect, something tells me this was more a criticism of Tesco than plastic bags…

Three weeks ago someone decided to unscrew the protective plastic membrane and deface the mural. I talked to the guy in the pharmacy, whose wall was graced with the stencil. He told me that the perpetrator left a message of warning/explanation in silver letters across the road, but I have been unable to find out what that message was.

Oh well, the legacy of Cap lives on…

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Get s.uffed

There is a shop nearby, a shop to which nobody pays attention during the day. A green, slightly run down facade, a letter missing from the sign, windows covered by black metal grids. At night, however, when the lights come on, it is a different story. I have seen people marveling for 10s of minutes at the bizarre sight of lions, bats, sharks and penguins, all conveniently gathered in one tiny room in North London.

I have never seen any living creature inside the shop, it is by appointment only. According to the stickers inside, there is apparently a strict no pictures policy in place. In other words, this post constitutes a breach of sorts. My apologies.

Remind me to take you there next time you visit.

PS. They do not make websites like that anymore.
PPS. The story gets better; they deal in human remains, too.

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Blackberry-free zone

Regent’s Canal, connecting Paddington with Limehouse since 1820. I spend 80 kilometres of my time there every week, so I decided to bring along a camera. I never understood why some people get bored when they run, there is just too much to think about, too many things to look at. Hipsters, hippies and hamsters, to name but a few…

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Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Mainly for grown-ups…

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Making great art of small things

My colleagues tell me this is old news, but I have fallen completely for the the art of Slinkachu. Compared to most commercially successful contemporary artists, who act like project managers more than traditional, creative doers, the sheer (micro) scale is pure genius.

I find it ten times more alluring than the bigger-better-more opulent-than-thou approach of Eliasson, Gormley, Kapoor and Hirst combined.

Have a look for yourself:
The artist’s own website.
Photos on Cosh UK.
My favourite scene.

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Urban planning in its most captivating form

Loop City by BIG from ArchDaily on Vimeo.

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A(d)ctivism

A(d)ctivism

The Underground is full of posters featuring women with perfect lips, noses and breasts. A confidence-building start to a Monday morning, I imagine.

I secretly admire those a(d)ctivists using chewing gum and stickers to ‘customise’ these posters.

This one, featuring a maori inspired monster of a face, was spotted at Old Street.

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What big cities do to you

So, in my view, any kind of appreciation of the Shepherd’s Bush area must be an acquired taste. Like people actually taking a like to playing golf, ‘team building’ or getting pierced in places where the light never shines. Having established that Shepherd’s Bush and I are not exactly ‘buddies’, I found myself walking through that very part of town yesterday.

As is normal in this vicinity, a gentleman carrying lots of plastic bags and wearing a couple of dirty down jackets on a hot summer day attempted to grab a share of my attention. He was uttering something indecipherable in a foreign language and tapping my shoulder repeatedly. I increased my already brisk pace for this ménage à deux to come to an end, but his chasing of me continued for a good couple of minutes. Go away. Disappear now. Please!

Finally, giving in and turning around to confront him, he waved a £20-note that I had just dropped out of my pocket, placed it in my hand and walked away. With a big smile on his face.

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The Guy with the Rubik’s Cube on the London Tube

Pheeew, I thought I was going crazy. None of my friends have seen this guy, but for some inexplicable reason I keep bumping into him: ‘The Guy with the Rubik’s Cube on the London Tube’.

He enters the coach, starts doing his tricks and then leaves. Never asking for money, just focusing on the cube and chatting away.

Thank god he was caught on camera: (more…)

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Urban fragments

Overheard on the way out of the Tube station. Commuters everywhere. The lady is walking behind me, she is on the phone.

Her: Hi, it’s me

[the person at the other end starts chit-chatting]

Her: Yes, yes, but listen, I need you to shut up for five minutes and let me talk. You wouldn’t believe what’s happened, I’m on my way to the police station…

And then our ways parted.

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