Happy Holidays

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Greetings from sunny – wait, rainy – no wait, sunny again – London

I have to say, springtime in London is pretty awesome. The weather’s been pretty sunny up until today, the trees have been covered in flowers, tulips are blooming, and the city doesn’t look like a gray, sooty mess any more in daylight. I regret that I won’t get to enjoy the better weather here after I leave next month. Well, I’ll probably be back here and there, but it seems a shame that most of my time here was in the Autumn and Winter months. Plus, we don’t have swine flu over here… yet.

Here’s some shots from Tower Bridge of the London Marathon yesterday:

The Fragmented Orchestra

This is one of the weirdest/coolest sounding events I’ve seen in a while:

The Fragmented Orchestra, winners of the PRS Foundation’s New Music Award 2008, presents 24 hours of music, neuroscience and performance at 24 sites across the UK. The London events include: 10am, at the Institute of Psychiatry, in Camberwell, a prerecorded debate on Music and the Mind is transmitted to the soundbox between (10 am-midday); Then, at the National Portrait Gallery (midday-1.30pm) the violinist Rolf Wilson plays excerpts from Bach’s Partita in E and Prokofiev’s unaccompanied Violin Sonata. Plus, the playwright/neurologist Paul Broks and actors present ‘The Fragmented Self’, exploring the human brain. The Stephen Lawrence Centre (Brookmill Rd, SE8, 1pm-2pm) hosts Howard Monk of The Local in an acoustic session featuring David Thomas Broughton and others. Followed (3pm-5pm) with an exmination of having a stroke, at the Rochelle School (Arnold Circus, E2). Including, Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ one of the paradigmatic pieces of contemporary classical music, and presented by South London Arts collective What They Could Do, They Did. St Andrew’s, Fulham Fields, the Stations of the Cross are walked liturgically between 6pm and 7pm with newly commissioned music and words of reflection. (See website for full details.)

London photo walk

I had about 8 free photo galleries on my list, and I managed to see 5 of them. Not bad, really, considering they were all spread around London, and I didn’t just breeze through any of them. Anyway, on my way, I took some photos of my own. It was a rare sunny winter day. Most of these are from my neighbo(u)rhood.

Update: I also meant to mention that the Angela Gorgas exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery is worth the trip down there all on its own. This photo is one of my new favorites of all time:

Martin Amis by Angela Gorgas

There are also two very good smaller (free) galleries near Old Street station. The Yvon Lambert had some really interesting large prints from Andres Serrano. His stuff borders on pornography, but there’s an almost painful intimacy to much of his work that helped it transcend the initial gross-out factor. That, and the gallery was curated really well, with photos in just the right places with respect to each other. The other gallery was Rivington Place, a larger and spacious gallery showing Santu Mofokeng’s work, which consists mostly of South African apartheid subject matter – perhaps less shocking than Serrano’s exhibit, but making no less of an impact.

Snow Day

I haven’t seen this much snow since I was very young. It’s been snowing all night and all morning, and pretty heavily at that. I snapped a few pics with my flatmate last night, we had a snowball fight and helped our neighbors roll a giant snowball for a snow man.

Snow Day Snow Day Snow Day

Snow Day Snow Day

I’m going to get ready and go out and take a ton more.

Everything’s funnier with the Benny Hill song

And now I relate two recent London misadventures. I encourage you to hit play above as you read.

This one hasn’t become funny yet, because it’s an ongoing nuisance. But I hope someday very, very soon I will look back and laugh. For the past week or so, every weekday morning at about 7 or 8, there begins a persistent and very loud jackhammering right beneath my window. They are literally digging up the entire street behind my flat, with giant machines that look strangely out of place on the narrow, crooked street. And since I only have early class one day a week, there’s now only one reason for me to be up at such a respectable hour the other four days. I lie there imagining all the things I’d like to do to exact my revenge – things involving pellet guns, paint guns, slingshots, water balloons, ferocious wild animals I cage and unleash at just the right moment – you get the idea. I haven’t done anything yet, but I hear that lack of sleep can make people crazy.

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So this is Christmas

I hope everyone has a great break, enjoys time with family, eats delicious food, and gets lots of presents. Things are going well this side of the pond; I’m out for break and spending time with family. My brother’s over, and I’ve been trying to show him a good time in London – apparently Shoreditch and Camden are the places to be. Oh, and Portobello market is awesome, especially on Saturdays.  I took these the other day in Southampton. If we don’t have a white Christmas here, at least I think we’ll have a foggy one.