I can’t believe my eyes

Only in London: Manga Shakespeare!

manga shakespeare

And an Imperial Star Destroyer crashed just behind the Tate Modern gallery…

star destroyers at the tate modern

PS: went to see the Sonia Delaunay exhibition.
At 16 quids, a bit meh.
The lady did nice work in abstract paintings, but showed no great sign of evolution for a whopping 40 years of career. Her fabric patterns were a bit more complex but less garishly coloured than the Marimekko ones. Marimekko btw, are also still repeating the same patterns since the seventies :-)
The paintings I liked better where the very first ones, portraits which could easily be described as “Not quite unlike Picasso, with bright patterns in the background”. Picasso btw, was exposing GUERNICA at the Paris exposition in 1937 while the Delaunays where displaying brightly coloured canvases with motor parts and technical drawings. Talk about being abstracted from reality…

Happy record-store-day

What would the Londoners do if they did not have an event every weekend as pretext to go out, picnic, have beer and chat? Surely invent another event!

Today was “record store day”, so I strolled across London, north-east to south-west, to go listen to some Ambient House mixed by none other than Alex Paterson from The Orb, at a very small but friendly shop in Northwood. A bit of a shame that it is so far away from my daily home – office commute that I won’t be coming back often.

the book and records store

In the end, I bought no vinyls (did I mention I do not own a turntable?), but still did not came home empty handed. The book selection seemed hand curated, and the owner’s taste fell quite in line with mine. Time to fill some gaping holes in my classics!


The BIG match: Oxford vs Cambridge 2015

As part of the effort to become real Londoners, last weekend me and aussie colleague Daniel decided to join the feasting crowds watching the traditional boat race between Oxford and Cambridge.

The first thing we noticed: there are a LOT of people out there, along the 4 miles of the race track.

lotsa people!

The second thing: there does not seem a lot going on…
Everyone is having a nice picnic, plenty of booze, chatting and profiting of the sunshine.
But nothing moves on the Thames…
…up to the moment the boats arrive!

boat race

There are in fact 3 races in the day: women, men 2nd teams, men.

And each race occupies your field of vision for a total of about 30 seconds! unless you came in early enough to get a place next to one of the big screens which broadcast the whole thing live.

This reminds me of my first – and only – experience going to watch an F1 Grand Prix – a whole day of waiting, and when the cars finally whizzed around our corner, they were so quick I could not even identify them! The most climatic event was one driver going off-track just in front of me :-)

Luckily for all, a few more boats do show up, following the racing ones, adding a bit to the overall enjoyment:


fire boat


black boat

port authority…


more motor boats…

more boats

… and finally the sun settles, giving me an opportunity for a nice shot from the Hammersmith bridge. Time to pack your empty beer cans and go home.

snset on the river

Oh, I was almost forgetting: Oxford won the 3 races by quite a margin.

And there was something else to make the cheer up the day: scantily clad ladies showing their brazilian dance skills!

barzilian dancers in west london

Not a bad day in the end…

Spring is coming!

Two sure signs that spring has arrived for real:

Cherry blossoms everywhere! :-)

brick lane
Brick Lane is so packed on Sundays that people actually have to sit outside of windows…

PS: while talking about Brick Lane: it seems that it boasts the most hipster coffee shop of the whole city!
Beating hands down ‘The CoffeeWorks Project’ in Angel and the Talkhouse in Portobello Road, you can line up here to get:
– an overpriced espresso (no single shots, 2.2 pound minimum)
– plenty of time to admire the cool customers, while the baristas take about three minutes per brew
– a friendly race to grab the stool which occasionally frees up for 3 seconds
hipster coffee shop

An Italian vegetarianish in London #5. Udon time!

As promised, I began my hunt for Udon joints, and I was not disappointed.

Udon are japanese noodles, round and thick, like fat spaghetti. They usually come with some broth and various seasoning. I am in love with them ever since eating them from a huge, steaming wooden bowl in Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku in Japan.

The first London restaurant recommended for Udon, but even more for sake tasting is Zen Mondo, in Islington (pics)

The atmosphere is quiet and cosy, the waitress bows and smiles constantly, the udon, sushi and tempura are good, and there is a nice selection of sakes available, all of the bottles carrying a short explanation in english. Prices are affordable (menu online at www.zenmondo.co.uk).

Could a japanophile ask for more?

An Italian vegetarianish in London #4. A stroll through Islington & Highbury

One of the many things the brits do different is wiring homes for electricity. Where else in Europe would you see such contraptions?

It is possible that the best strategy to educate dog owners is by humour rather than fines?

A GREAT shop hidden in a corner street close to Angel, filled to the brim with material for drawing, painting, creative activities and whatnoot: CASS ART

Of course there are a lot of nice-looking shops in Liverpool road, so singling one out feels unfair. It has to be said though that most of those have incredible prices. Take twentytwentyone for example: it must be the only design outlet in the world where Scandinavian furniture costs more than in Oslo!