Monday, July 20, 2009

no solution mf: Sludgefeast and Junkyard Choir at the Spice of Life

James Sludgefeast is back from Singapore for about a week, so there was a series of Sludgefeast shows in quick succession. The biggest one was probably Sat at the Spice of Life, supported by ex Do Me Bad Things singer Mark Wood's Junkyard Choir, and many excellent guest spots on bass, as Coirin wasn't there, guest singers, a Do Me Bad Things cover version, and for the last song, a harmonica (!!!). The whole thing felt like a family party. I got to wear my wig and shades again, James II's shades disintegrated halfway through the set so I gave him mine - unfortunately they kept sliding off as he's a very energetic drummer, and they're just some cheap party shades (you don't see much looking through them but it feels good at a Sludgefeast show, you want it to look woozy!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Abingdon to Dorchester on the Thames Walk

The fourth day of our ongoing little project: walking the whole of the Thames Walk, see photos from one of the previous days here. Kirsten, whose idea this is and who is organising the walks, did a couple of days of walking with a friend over a weekend without us in between too, and there's a day's worth of walking missing that was impossible to get to with public transport on a Sunday, so we're not doing this 100 % linear. The weather was meant to be really bad today but it ended up just drizzling for a bit, it stayed mostly overcast and a bit windy but mostly dry and it was quite warm so it didn't matter too much, though our shoes got wet walking through the grass. We started in the pleasant old town of Abingdon, where we walked to from nearby Oxford a few weeks ago, having lunch at the famous Barley Mow pub, housed in a 14th century building, eventually arriving near Dorchester, where we decided we would stop the walk for today as our initial destination was taking a little too long to get to. Dorchester is set back from the Thames by about a mile but is a fascinating small town with many historical buildings, couple of medieval coaching inns and old churches, so it was good to get to see it.


old railway bridge:

The Barley Mow:

allotments just outside Dorchester:


pub opposite Didcot Parkway station advertising some food:) :

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sunday: On Blake's Steps, etc.

The last episode of the five part Torchwood screened last week, I missed it on Friday so watched it on the iplayer. Really got into it, the way the government is trying to cover up for itself in the eerie plot (involving aliens forcing the UK government to give up 10 % of its children, and the government deciding that underperforming schools should go first) is obviously taken from real life to some extent:

Funky old Redchurch Street:

Rivington Street:

The John Snow in Soho, a favourite haunt:

and around the corner to On Blake's Steps, a fairly eccentric gathering of young and old poets reading a few of their poems, poetry fans and Blake heads on the steps of the (modern) house that stands on the site of the house William Blake was born in in Soho (around the corner from Carnaby Street). My friend and old B'ton buddy Naomi Foyle read a poem about her mum's death (exactly 15 years ago), a poem by her mum who was also a poet and a poem by someone she was with on that day, very poignant, unfortunately I was lost in the moment and didn't take a photo. This is Jeremy Reed:

The "eco poet" Helen Moore reads a poem that contrasts the infinite intricacies of the natural world with the financial jargon of the banker (read by Niall Mc Devitt):

Jeremy Reed again at the end, this time with partyshades:

Niall then took the group on a little history tour around Soho pointing out the various residences of the Blakes, Shelley's house and eventually Blake's residence in Poland Street, three doors down from the Kings Arms pub that he used to frequent. In the upstairs room the ancient order of druids was revived around that time and that's where the gathering ended with some more poems and talks and discussions about Blake, by that point history seemed to have come alive out of the books and words, it almost felt like a seance communing with the spirit of Blake and his legacy:

graffiti in the gents at the KA:

Niall Mc Devitt in the historical upstairs room at the Kings Arms (now, of course, the unofficial London bear pub)

with Naomi in Thai Metro in Charlotte Street, always tasty, reliable, and in an ok location where most of the restaurants are more expensive:

aboriginal art gallery on Charlotte Street, I saw a few new galleries around there that I hadn't noticed before:

Soho Square:

later at 100% Dynamite, the excellent monthly reggae/dub/dancehall Sunday all dayer put on by the Soul Jazz Records crew and co, at the equally ace 1001 cafe off Brick Lane:

Brick Lane, going home: