Quick Trip to London: Day Three.

Image

So after today I’ve made the decision that in order for my life to move forward I need to move to Camden and just act as if I’m much cooler than I am in order to have endless enjoyment and fun times. As you may have gathered today consisted of visiting Camden Town and its famous markets in order to shop, eat and drink. What more could anyone want?

I’m starting to enjoy getting the tube now because after a few days it’s pretty easy to understand and today we went all the way from Canary Wharf to Camden Town, which barely took anytime at all. The whole décor of Camden looked exactly how I remembered but the stalls seemed to all be pretty different. In order to shop I would definitely recommend. Everyone has a misconception that it’s going to be really pricey but it’s not. The proof, I brought two t-shirts and a necklace today all for under twenty five pounds.

However there seems to be a lot less variety that I remember. Essentially there are five categories of stall, hippy chic, general London paraphernalia, Jamaican culture, Goth and trendy indie clothes. And then within these categories there’s no variety in what actually makes up the stall. Once you’ve seen one Goth shop, you’ve seen them all, which applies to all these individual categories. I’d personally prefer a greater sense of individuality and variety within the stalls but I suppose these kinds of things are becoming more and more hard to come by.

Image

There is also food and lots of it. Every type of cuisine you could wish for is catered for and it looks and smells amazing. However this is where the prices start to become a little less student friendly, I can’t personally justify spending five pounds on a small portion of Chinese food, even if it does look like it’s going to taste heavenly. However, it is still possible to eat and drink cheaply even in the centre of Camden Locks, if you know where the Wetherspoons is. Luckily we did which meant even though the bar was in a prime location we weren’t paying extortionate prices for food and drink for the first time this week.

Although really the coolest bit of the day had to be the fact that as we decided to cut down a back street in order to avoid the crowds we stumbled past Noel Fielding and his brother Matt, which was totally weird. I, being the individual I am, really didn’t play this situation cool and kind of shouted my thoughts out loud instead of keeping them in my head (which happens sometimes) and seemed to point at him and go, “Oh look, it’s actually Noel Fielding.” I don’t think that’s the best way to approach these people, he kind of smiled and waved and I walked away thinking about all the cool things I could have said instead and how much better this blog post would be if I’d done any of the cool things I’ve since thought of. Also, a picture would have been good, to prove this happened, but the guy was on the phone and it seemed impolite.

Image

Advertisements

Quick Trip to London: Day Two.

So today was truly the most touristy of days. We traded in the crowds of Bowie fans for hordes of tourists from all over the world in order to view London’s most iconic and spectacular sights.

We started the day with a cultural visit to the Tate modern in which we basically stood amongst an excess of school trips ranging from primary up to college and attempted to view Picasso’s impressive ‘Weeping Woman’ in peace. If you thought really hard this could be done and seeing artwork in real life is much more rewarding than anything else. It’s difficult to appreciate the technicality and vividness of all the colours until the real thing is experienced.

Image

This was followed by lunch on the Thames in the sunshine and a stroll over the millennium bridge to St. Paul’s. This is definitely something to see in order to fully appreciate its magnificence. Alongside the fact you can sing Mary Poppins whilst sitting on the steps and pretending to feed the birds the intricacy of the carvings of the saints and apostles are really interesting.

Image
So this was the first on our trip of major sightseeing places in London. This was followed by the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey (another massively beautiful building), Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square. I must admit once you’ve been to these places each new busy is pretty similar. Except for temporarily most of Trafalgar Square is currently inaccessible making a less exciting trip. However we did visit The Royal Gardens which features pelicans, something I know for a fact I didn’t make up but didn’t seem plausible until I saw them again!

Image
However we ended the day with a drink in a pub called The Sherlock Holmes in which yes, pints are still over four pounds which is really starting to burn a hole. But this is inner city living and it’s pretty much the same as drinking in the centre of Manchester.

I’m starting to really fall in love with London, which I kind of knew has always been the case and tomorrow we’re visiting Camden which I’m majorly excited for! I’m sure I’ll update and express this excitement for you tomorrow evening or maybe the day after- London’s pretty tiring!

Quick Trip to London: Day One.

So me and my boyfriend arrived in London last night to stay with my Uncle for the next five days. The main purpose of this visit: to see the David Bowie Is exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. And this is exactly what we did today.

I’d booked our time for half twelve which meant we left the flat at the ridiculous time of half ten to battle the infamous London traffic. Even with the congestion charge and a driver who knows the city well getting to the other side of London is still an entire test of patience. The journey took an hour and a half in total, which would probably get me from Manchester (my local town) to the coast.

However leaving so early was a definite and we arrived at the V&A with a good half an hour to spare meaning there was enough time for a coffee but we totally got completely Bowie’d up. Also, after spending that long in the car a brew was definitely a necessity.

I must have booked the tickets to see this particular exhibition about three months in advance and have been really excited ever since. Due to this I don’t know if I can decide whether it was as good as I was wanting it to be or a bit of a disappointment.

Image

There was a bit of a queue to get in but not as much as the website had been making out, which seemed okay but once inside the amount of people really started to show. There was a lot of stuff to see, and it was in quite a small space meaning essentially the reason the museum advise you leave two hours to make your way round is because you have to spend ages queuing just to look at one item. I’m personally not used to this form of viewing; normally it can be taken at a leisurely pace with enough space around you for it to not feel like you’re involved in some silent game of sardines.

However, if you started to attempt to ignore the vast amount of people and become immersed in your headset which included music, interviews and information about David Bowie it began to feel a bit like you were in a world of your own. Plus the extent of costumes, lyrics, diary entries, artwork and music was as advertised, massive. Most of the famous costumes were on show, suits worn by the Thin White Duke, eccentric cat suits Ziggy Stardust brought to the stage and the exaggerated trouser legs of Aladdin Sane. Every album released by Bowie was exhibited at some point alongside original written lyrics and diary entries written by Bowie himself. In addition there was a collection of Bowie’s own art, mainly featuring Iggy Pop, and hand drawn storyboards and stage designs for his tours. Then there were photographs, so many photographs, all of which were beautifully taken and revealed an entirely new aspect or angle to the superstar.

The final room had to be my favourite. This was a room in which three of the walls were giant screens and speakers featured on every side. On these screens they played live broadcasts of songs and I could have honestly sat there for hours just watching each individual one, as if I was actually seeing David Bowie live. Due to the size of the screens and the volume of the music it was a truly overwhelming way to end the exhibition.

Besides the final room feeling like “this was it” the rest of the exhibition seemed to be curated in an odd manner. It felt like there could have been more of a general flow to the whole thing, it didn’t seem to be organised by time periods but initially gave the impression that it was. Also more space was needed, purely for the crowds, or a better use of the space given was needed perhaps so there was less standing around waiting to view one photo. By the end of the exhibition I must admit, I did feel quite stressed, but this is London and it was David Bowie Is. Crowds are inevitable.

In order to complete the day we visited the Natural History Museum in order to see the dinosaurs, and a blue whale skeleton which was pretty impressive. Then we walked through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens which was lovely and a bit weird. It’s odd that there’s all this green space and pretty much no noise of traffic in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. But then we got to Oxford Street and the tranquillity was swiftly shattered. If you know Manchester, think Market Street but a million times busier. We hit it at rush hour and God did we know it. Spending four pounds on a pint seemed only natural and this concluded the first day.

Image

The first day was exciting; the David Bowie exhibition made that a definite. But London generally is exciting and tiring, very, very tiring. However I’m looking forward to the rest of the week and some proper tourist sight-seeing tomorrow as we visit the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge, hopefully meaning I’ll have lots more exciting things to write about. And so that’s it, the end of day one and it’s been fab!

The “Britain’s Got Talent” Final- Was it Fair?

Image

I’m not particularly patriotic, in fact I’m not at all, but watching Britain’s Got Talent last night I couldn’t help but feeling that the choice of winner was fairly odd. In case you don’t know the winners were an artistic dance group from Hungary called ‘Attraction’.

I’m not going to lie, they were pretty impressive. Their idea was entirely original and creative. Telling stories through the use of dance and silhouette communicates to everyone and anyone no matter what language they speak or culture they adhere to. Plus the stories were moving, one beautifully told the story of a young couple falling in love and moving through to marriage and then pregnancy whilst the other told a story of a mother and their child. However both these involved death and grief to finalise making them tug at the heartstrings of the viewer.

Their performance for the finals was the most British performance I’ve ever seen on the show, which didn’t surprise me if I’m honest. Those who don’t live in Britain or who weren’t born in Britain tend to be much more patriotically inclined than someone like me, British born and bred.  I think it was this nationalistic performance which spanned through Britain’s history from the declaration of World War Two to the peak of 2012 and the Olympics last year. Saving this for the final seemed to be what guaranteed them a place in the top three and eventually being crowned champions of the 2013 series.

However is it okay for a non-British act to win the show? After all it is called Britain’s Got Talent, and this group weren’t British. By this I mean they have a Hungarian citizenship and came over to Britain in order to enter the competition. Is it fair therefore for them to then win the money and what is classed as the privilege of performing at The Royal Variety Show?

There were many good British acts within the competition such as ‘Pre Skool’ who were a completely adorable dance group made up of five to eight year olds or the girl who covered Beyoncé’s If I Were a Boy which was actually stunning for a girl so young.

There’s obviously no rules against who can enter though so I guess one can’t complain too much and ‘Attraction’, for being so innovative did deserve recognition and in this show that simply means winning. In some ways though, due to the winner being cast by public vote, it kind of provides me with some reassurance within the British people that there’s not going to be a continuation of hostility to foreigners after the reaction to the Woolwich attacks recently.

However in other news, besides all the excitement of a winner, someone threw some eggs at Simon Cowell which was actually a massive anti-climax. I watched the whole final on catch up after seeing on twitter that items were thrown at Cowell and simply watched it to view this. I was pretty disappointed, there was absolutely no reaction from anyone really and it was obviously set up. If you’re going to go to all that effort to set something as bizarre as this up, at least go to the effort to make the aftermath at least slightly interesting!

I never really watch shows like this; I haven’t followed Britain’s Got Talent and only watched the final. I would never normally care about who does or does not win, and to be honest I’m not overly fussed now. It just seems interesting though that a group who weren’t British did in fact win. Is it fair, or should there be some form of rule set up against this kind of thing? They were good though, and much more interesting than any of the other acts and I suppose it doesn’t really matter that much, after all it’s only reality TV.

Exam Season, Essay Deadlines and Writer’s Block.

I appear to have nothing to write about.

That’s a good way to start my post, today I’m going to tell you nothing. Absolutely nothing. Ever since I started writing my essays for uni I haven’t blogged because I left them to the last minute and haven’t had time to do anything else. I’m pretty angry about this. The keyboard’s kind of getting a beating.

My mum always tells me that the best way to get out of this kind of rut is to just start writing, start writing and keep going until it gets good, then delete all the crap that came before. Last week all I could do was blog, I had loads to write about and still have loads of ideas for posts written in a little note book I own. However after writing academically for three days straight I feel like I’ve lost my creative style.

I want to blog about the interesting things but don’t think I’ll do any of it justice, rather all I can think about is Robert De Niro’s performance in Taxi Driver and whether the author figure poses a constraint on free interpretation of a text. It’s odd though, because my writing here feels too formal whereas my essay writing seems too chatty, I’m stuck in the middle with no idea as to how to go either way.

I seem to have smoked my way through the past week, and drank tea, many, many cups of tea. It’s that time of year I suppose where every student begins to feel stressed out about everything. Exams and deadlines are looming and that causes people to become very short tempered but then those responsibilities also cause the smallest of things to become massive. Like doing the washing, it’s a much more stressful daily task for some reason at this time of year simply because everything else is going on at the same time.

I suppose in some ways I did have something to say. Really I just wanted to keep up with my blogging and try and write something different to essays which I’ve really lost interest in. However, they do need my attention although before then I need to make more tea, and smoke more cigarettes. Also, I try to take everything one step at a time. That’s helpful. All that is happening is just for now, it won’t be like this forever.

Image

Mundane Life Things and a Slight Realisation

I feel at a bit of a loss about what to write about today, never thought that would happen. I had a commitment though that I would post daily and consequently have nine minutes to come up with something half decent and readable and hopefully enjoyable for those of you who do read my blog regularly. (I love that portion of people by the way, you make my days!)

So I shall postpone making my hot chocolate for what is now eight minutes in order to write this.

I suppose today has been filled with lots of what you may call mundane life things, but looking back it’s not necessarily mundane at all. I have a lot of uni work on at the moment which is really stressing me out. It often feels like emailing people is actually a complete waste of yours and their time. So, I have four thousand words to write in five days, which right now seems pretty unmanageable. But if I break it down it’s not so bad. Today I’ve written nine hundred ‘draft words’ which is why I’ve probably neglected my blog post a bit. Time management is not always my forte.

Aside from that though today has been alright. I did the pub quiz that I normally do on a Thursday when I’m at home, which was fun as I haven’t been back from uni in a long time. We didn’t win and I still only knew the answer to about four questions but that’s not the point. It’s always nice to socialise in real life as opposed to just via the internet.

Finally for today I had a pretty weird experience on my way home. I was getting the last bus home and as I approached the bus stop there were three figures stood there. Which I never much like, people who are out late I always assume are something to be frightened of, no idea why. Anyway I walked straight past them and thought the situation seemed a little weird because one of these blokes was clearly not in the age range or same head space as the two teenagers he was stood near. I was right. He was hammered and they were pretty intimidated. One of them walked over to me telling me she was scared, it was odd I recognised this girl and was normally pretty intimidated by her and her friends even though they are probably about three years younger than me. (Two minutes and counting.) Anyway I asked what was wrong and she explained the man standing near them was too drunk for her to feel comfortable with, that he kept walking in the road and that she couldn’t even understand what he was saying; he was slurring and stuttering too much. I told her to stand near me, and everything was going to be fine.

Anyway, as the clock strikes midnight, although this post may not mean much to anyone but me I still find it interesting. For the first time in my life I feel as if a stranger, and a younger one at that, has approached me as someone they deem to be an adult, someone who they trust, someone who appears safe. And I don’t know I suppose that was just a pretty nice way to end my evening and I’m glad I seemed to make her feel better.

‘Fitch the Homeless’

Abercrombie-Fitch-the-Homeless

So today I stumbled across this fabulous little idea called ‘Fitch the Homeless’ which incorporates both the homeless population and Abercrombie and Fitch the clothing company. If you are sitting there thinking “what do these two things have to do with each other” I wouldn’t blame you. That’s essentially what you’ve been conditioned to believe.

Abercrombie and Fitch’s CEO, Mike Jeffries believes his brand to be exclusive and wants it to be exclusive. So basically if you are not below a size eight it’s likely he’s prohibited you from shopping there and therefore wearing his clothes. His brand is designed for the “cool kids” and if you’re not one of them then tough. Alongside this, as opposed to donating damaged or unwanted clothes to charity the company’s policy appears to be to burn them, because of course we wouldn’t want any poor or unfortunate people to have the ‘privilege’ of wearing them.

Frankly I’m just here like “who the hell does this guy think he is?” No man whose face resembles that of melting plastic has the right to say anything to anyone about how they look. Discrimination isn’t something we allow as a society so how is he getting away with this? In a world where body image has become a massive part of most people’s lives not selling large and extra-large sizes in your store just reinforces what many people think, that it is unacceptable to be large. No wonder so many girls develop bad eating habits and disorders if companies as big as this are reinforcing that idea. I think the worst part about it though is how inconceivably selfish and wasteful he is. Burning clothes as opposed to helping those in need of it is despicable.

And this is why I believe this campaign to be wonderful. ‘Fitch the Homeless’ revolves around the idea of buying Abercrombie and Fitch goods from second hand stores and then giving them to the homeless. Not only is this a great cause in terms of helping those in need but it also foils his excessively shameful business plan. ‘Fitch the Homeless’ intends to give the brand a new image, and piss director Mike Jeffries off at the same time. The video below will explain in full detail and demonstrate this plan in action:

In terms of making a point, this is great and people should get involved. But alongside this I believe the campaign could hold a more serious message, there does need to be more done regarding poverty in the western world. Whether it be Abercrombie and Fitch unwanted garments or simply Tesco’s finest there is nothing better than donating them to a charity where they will continue to benefit people for a long time after they have outgrown their use to you.