A cultural trip to the capital
I have to admit it: I sometimes miss London. I have lived in the capital from 1998 to 2009 - with a stint in Oxford, of all places, for a bit more than a year... [I have just realised that the previous version of this blog sounded like I had a passion for Oxford! Eek. I hated the place. Once you've had a look at the beautiful buildings, there's nothing left. It's hollow, boring... And the people... THE PEOPLE! I am not too much into stereotyping but it is a WEIRD place full of weird people - I mean weird according to my very own standards, which are probably not yours at all... My weird is probably your acceptable and vice versa.]
I've always had a weird passion for the place: London, the legendary city... Anything can happen there, or not. I tackle this in my books.
I left London because it is impossible for one average person to live in decent conditions there. I also wanted to try and live as a freelance, write, etc. something that is impossible in London if you don't have rich parents or a banker husband or something similar.
The city is changing, faster than ever. Whole chunks of Camden, Soho and the East End have been or are being flattened up, music venues are disappearing off, and London looks more and more like it is on its way to become a playground for extremely rich and spoilt foreigners oblivious to the staggering history of the metropolis.
Despite all of that, London still excites and intrigues me and I always feel home when I go back. Living 50mn from the City of London has got its advantages...
I was in London for two days in order to get my fill of culture...
On Friday evening, I went to the incredibly hot (as in TOO MUCH HEATING) Dublin Castle in Camden to attend the Gala night organised by brand new independent imprint Ignite Books. It has been created by Joolz Denby, "poet, novelist, artist, spoken-word artist, tattooist, band manager, photographer and curator" and Steve Pottinger. This was the second of two official launch nights, the other one having taken place the day before in Bradford. It featured music from Mik and Matt, two third of Joolz-managed young and psychedelic Bradford band NYAAA (new York Alcoholic Anxiety Attack) and Joolz's long term companion, New Model Army frontman Justin Sullivan.
The first book released on the Ignite Books press is Joolz's "The Curious Mystery of Miss Lydia Larking and the Widow Marvell":
It was a lovely, friendly, laid-back night with a lot of humour, some beautiful poetry and wonderful music.
Joolz and Justin have been working as artists for 30 years now and have stayed true to themselves. Their fiercely independent, uncompromising lives and works should be applauded as an inspiration. For me, they are among the true National Treasures.
Here is a little video of Joolz Denby reading her fabulous poem "Saddleworth", accompanied by Justin on guitar.
On Saturday, it was off to the National Portrait Gallery and a joined ticket affair (£12!) for the Ida Kar and Hoppe exhibitions. An afternoon filled with wonderful Black and White images. Inspiring.
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