Tuesday, 28 April 2015

What is Living London?

Living London is...
...visiting St Christopher's Chapel at Great Ormond Street Hospital on a late weekday afternoon
....its sitting in silence on a church pew and thinking about all the people who have sat on the same pew before you....
....it's flicking through a leaflet on its history and finding a photo of a Naomi Blake sculpture at the back...
....and moments later its finding yourself outside the small gallery where you met her one night, Naomi Blake.... back when you went with someone who worked at St Ethelburga's, someone you met by chance at Whitecross Estate and shared an otherworldly conversation with about ammonites and Al Ghazali....
Living London is.....
door knocking at Alverston estate and being invited in for tea by an elderly Venezuelan resident who enjoys growing flowers in his window boxes...
...its learning from the gardener who worked there that the railings are made from stretchers used to carry the injured during the second world war...
and then it's dropping into the dance studios on your way back to the office and seeing her son and her long lost friend in a white room upstairs....
Living London is bumping into people you know everywhere you go, street corners, stations, nature reserves, cafes...
Living London is trespassing
its treading rooftops and climbing over gates
Its tagging along to various sites, the chalk hill and the green beside the railway line, with your friend the conservation land officer at the London Wildlife Trust who you met one time and a hundred times after that....
its waiting at the corner of a road in Brixton for the land-rover to pull up
its muddy boots and the smell of fire
it's long walks and bustling markets
its discovery.
Living London isn't about making plans, but following your feet and seeing where they lead you...
it's talking to dippy at the Natural History Museum in the evening once everyone's gone home
it's taking a nap in the theatre at the London Wetland Centre during your break
it's making friends with a community of Nepalese gardeners at a secret green space in the suburbs and speaking to them in broken Hindi about home
It's about sharing the stories of all the people who lived and worked by the river wandle... and connecting them to your own....
It's meeting mayors and mps and artists and writers and film makers and bee keepers and janitors and wardens, and ecologists and humanitarian workers and poets, and bums and dreamers and seekers.
It's connections proceeding connections.  
Living London is watching the sunrise from a high place as the whole city sleeps
It's traipsing in wild parks in storms
It's the time before you start work and the time after you finish 
It's traversing nowhere spaces late at night, subways and tunnels 
It's hospital and prison waiting rooms.
It's being open to the city and the opportunities that lie within it
It's witnessing. It's observing. It's being.
It's conversing with strangers.
It's following your intuition and living in the moment
It's nostalgia.
It's memories imprinted on chairs and etched on walls, and written on grass throughout the city.
It's turning up a friends place in a random corner of the city with your overnight bag.
It's going to random talks and events
It's traversing hundreds of different worlds.
Living London is carving out new paths every day and discovering new places and making them your own, it's finding the stories within them....
Living London is connecting the dots
It's lying in mosques with no names, staring at the ceiling, it's reading the Quran in parks and woods
It't talking to professor j, the ethiopian bushman about the spiders web
It's swimming in pools, wandering through cemeteries, listening to bird song, thinking about life and death...and everything in between
Living London is about being curious
It's about the imagination. Its about imagining
It's listening to an old Indian song your mum would sing at an exhibition on migration, and watching the boy sell attar afterwards by the bus stop at elephant
Living London is knowing where you can find different ethnic communities in London and it's being a stranger and a friend within and among these communities.
Living London is knowing people from all continents
Living London is being comfortable alone in the city.
Living London is being in constant awe of its ever changing character
Living London is feeling at home everywhere you go
Living London is feeling like a stranger everywhere you go
Living London is knowing London like the back of your hand
Living London is not knowing London at all.
Living London is living life in London

We all live London (well those of us who live in London), but we live it differently

Living London shares my London, the way I live it, the stories I've come by, the places I've visited, the people I've met.

I guess this is what Living London is. 

Great Ormond Street Hospital, St Christopher's Chapel

...the most beautiful chapel I've ever been to...

Adopting Britain: 70 Years of Migration

...really important and moving exhibition on at the southbank centre def see it, info below...

In the run-up to the 2015 national election, with immigration high on the agenda, we ask what we can do to promote understanding and empathy for fellow human beings.

In this exhibition we explore ways in which, in the midst of Islamophobia and hostility towards immigration, people have reached out to communities that are stitched into the fabric of our country.

We highlight stories from British recruitment campaigns in the Caribbean in the 1950s to Indian sub-continent and Eastern European migration, and the contribution made to the British economic and social landscape. And we also explore our moral and legal obligation to protect individuals, especially children, who flee their countries in order to seek sanctuary in Britain.

Kaula Lumpar Cafe

Friday, 24 April 2015

--------the everyday/// transitions

"maybe you just know too many people...."
"huh, maybe...."

///the last few months had been more than a little surreal... the city gradually began to diminish as I explored ever new territories and carved out new paths, both spiritual, and geographical////

        since leaving my job at groundwork and going back to work part-time at my last remaining refuge, my days have been marked with spontaneity and serendipity, long stretches of wild and natural quiet broken up by the city noise, crowds and traffic// solitude preempts unity (& some connections don't ever go away)...    

I've tried bringing myself back to myself through journeying. And through journeying I've crossed paths with so many people I know and have known from so many different lives in the most unlikely places; old friends, new ones, former colleagues, people I've shared half conversations with, people I've met on side streets and at obscure gatherings, people who have meant so much to me and people who I have meant so much too. It's been more that a little surreal. And while in former years, this same serendipity, and these same chance encounters had been the cause of much anxiety, making me feel like a ghost haunting the city, now it's almost comforting. And though some of these serendipitous encounters have been rather beautiful others have been quite nightmarish, causing me to turn corners, cross roads, pull my hood over my head and start in the opposite direction (do we ever really grow up, do we ever truly change?) the majority have been welcome.

It's strange, London is supposed to be a very lonely city. And maybe a lot of the time it is. I wonder, is it this fragmentation, that makes it lonely, the fact that we know everyone and no one too? The fact that people come in and out of our lives so oft, leaving nothing behind but memories that fast fade... Fragmentation: the fact that we come by so many of the same people in so many different contexts, yet on some level, still remain detached, unable and unwilling to formulate the stuff we need to say, the stuff that won't go away-so much is still left unsaid, and it's these none conversations, these half conversations, these ghost conversations, the fleeting looks that pierce holes, these moments of warmth that really drive that concept home. I don't know. A lot of the time I don't know how to take things in life, so I just ignore them, forget them, will them to go away, until they do, but so often they come up again: place and person. And there are so so many people I've seen and heard from this last month, so many people to whom I should have maybe said something to, but to be real, I didn't know what that something was.

I didn't know what to say, and how to say it, and you know I have problems communicating, and you know this is why I write because sometimes I can't talk. Sometimes I have nothing to say. Because in this big big world, of many many words, there are none that fit. So I read that book, and it keeps coming up again, everything. So take my silence as everything and nothing at all, and return it to me- silence.

Few people understand the way I live, impulsively, freely, haphazardly, unwilling to commit or compromise, but happy to just float on... to be... I live in the everyday.  The only place livable. The only place I can find freedom. I find it easier than most to walk away from everything, to adapt. A few months ago I was hanging out with mayors, today I'm cleaning bird shit off shop windows, that's life. And that's fine by me. And sure maybe I'll have to grow up one day. But for now, I'm happy to be free, to be me. I don't know, I often think I could live out my whole life like this, drifting from job to job, place to place, meeting interesting people, seeing beautiful things. brief sojourns, unplanned stop overs, lying on the grass and staring at the sky.... sometimes I think I could live out my whole life in the beautiful every day....

...and hey, who knows, one day maybe I'll be able to say all the shit I wanna say to all those people... who knows.... 

Canvas and Cream

One Tree Hill

...daydreams and half thoughts...

Horniman Conservatory

Horniman Dye Garden


C&C Gallery: The Wanderer’s Nightsong II

"The Wanderer’s Nightsong II explores the relationship between artists and new forms of technological representation. Taking its title from Goethe’s classic eight-line poem scratched into the walls of a mountain lodge, the poem describes a progression from mineral through animal to human, of a natural process becoming language." http://www.ccgallery.co.uk/