Archive for the ‘East London’ Category

Since a temporary move out from my favoured East End, I have to admit that I have struggled to get back there as often as I had initially hoped. There was a brief visit that involved various local bars… but that’s another story.

Whitechapel Gallery however proved too tempting to dismiss. Gillian Wearing’s film and photography exhibition has been available for view since March so I had little excuse.

The exhibitions underlining theme is the exploration of public personas and private lives. After walking into Gallery 1, you are presented with a small screen video of Wearing dancing in the centre of a shopping centre with no music and unaware of the public reactions around her.

I then caught the last few moments of 2010’s video ‘Bully’. An extremely powerful piece where a group of actors are directed to replay a scenario from the directors past. The line between acting and experience blur as the director ends the video aggressively berating the bullies and showing his disgust for the group that just stood and watched as he was victimised. The piece closes with the director in genuine tears, in which might have been his first release since the experience happened.

There are also lighter, but equally engaging pieces to view. 1992’s photography piece entitled ‘Signs that say what you want them to say, and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say’, provides a blank page and marker for strangers to write their thoughts and views. A simple piece that offers an insight into how people’s focus and concerns at the time haven’t changed dramatically compared to today, financial worries, war, racism and governments all included.

There are several other pieces, sharing the theme of public/private perception. Confess All On Video. Don’t Worry, You Will Be In Disguise. Intrigue? Is another darker piece that provides the volunteers the opportunity to confess their secrets of their past behind the safety of a mask. Although I read most of the transcripts rather than watched the videos they will equally moving.

Overall, although not always easy to sit through, the exhibition is powerful and one that I would recommend.

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The story opens with a letter being typed to the main character ‘Alice Blood’, warning her of the impending danger of her newly started website. Alice is warned ‘they are real’ and that if she really seeks them, she will be found. We are not provided any narrative on the sender other than she is based in a snowy climate.
The story then increases pace with a group of vampire ‘elders’, who are gathered and fast becoming impatient waiting for a group of younger breeds to arrive. When they arrive led by a weapon wielding ‘Jill’, their impact is immediate with the massacre of the elders.
The reader is finally introduced to Alice who is carrying a large amount of correspondence from her websites viewers. The website is called ‘Desperately Seeking Vampire’, and I think the title says it all. Alice is shown to be bright, strong and aware (at least she thinks she is) of the risks involved with a search like hers.
We then learn more about the vampire power struggle. Jill maybe leading the battle, however we are also introduced to ‘the father’ who’s plotting has led to these actions. He is not content with their species having to live in secret, he is aware of their superior position in the food chain and he wants to make sure they return to their rightful place on top. The last segment concludes with a human hanging from the ceiling, arteries cut providing the drink that they toast their plan over. This is the first sign of the fate that could be awaiting the human race if they succeed in their plans of dominance.
The comic closes with Alice meeting with Dean Ikos who claims to have seen a vampire. Although she is clearly distracted by his good looks, she hears his tale of surviving an attack with his Uncle as a child. He is aware of how the story may sound, and the lack of evidence didn’t help validate it, however it was the mention of Barrow, Alaska that regained her attention. Alice remembers the letter she received with the reference of Barrow, and verbally attacks Dean for wasting her time for his entertainment and leaves.
Although fuming, she still thinks he is ‘hot’ before turning back to speak to him. However, she can see a figure on the rooftops stalking Dean. We are introduced to our first attack and sees Dean being feasted upon by the stalking vampire. The final twist of the tale is that Alice is revealed as a FBI agent.

A really good start to a series I have been looking forward to in a while. Niles is known for being a master of this genre, and I think this will help enhance his reputation. A fangtastic 4/5

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I had originally intended my first Marvel review to be the new series ‘Magneto Not a Hero’, alongside Brian Azzarello’s Spaceman. However due to a postal issue and these not being sent in time, I will look at my only other Marvel comic, ‘Avenging Spider-Man’ alongside Dark Horses new horror comic ‘The Strain’.

I have never been a Marvel reader therefore I am not overly familiar with their characters other than Spider-Man and earlier X-Men,  and I have mixed feelings over the second release in this new series. I really like Joe Madureira’s  artwork & Ferran Daniel’s colouring, however the story hasn’t really caught my imagination.
Zeb Wells’s adventure continues with Spider-Man and Red Hulks battle under NYC for the rulership of Subterranea. Mayor of Manhattan J. Jonah Jameson has been kidnapped by the Moloids, however they are actually looking for help rather than meaning any harm. 
The danger lies with the new king of the underground RA’KTAR who challenges Jameson to a fight to the death. Meanwhile Red Hulk alongside Spider-Man get involved with the battle ending with fatal consequences for Hulk?
I am still unsure over this title, however I am keen to see which other Avengers also feature. Finally I am a real fan of the striking artwork and vibrant inking. A solid 3.5 that can improve

Guillermo Del Toro & ‘Chuck Hogan’s The Strain was next. I had looked forward to this as I am a fan of his films. However it’s David Lapham & Mike Huddleston’s comic work which makes this enjoyable.
The story starts in 1927 Romania with a Mother scaring her Son with a ‘old wives tale’ about a giant who went out to the forest in a group, and although he was the only one to return, he soon locked himself away before children started to die tragically. 
The story then moves to present day with Dr Ephraim Goodweather spending some rare time with his son Jack before receiving a business call. A plane has landed at J.F.K before going silent and leading security to believe there is a security threat. Once aboard there are no survivors other than the pilot, all that remains is an old and sculptured coffin. The last page shows an elderly gentlemen watching the news, his final line closes the comic ‘He is here!’ Great starting point 4/5

A quick update on some of the pieces that caught my attention this week.

The original piece was one of my favourites, however this is a worthy successor.

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Not sure I have done this piece justice, but pretty cool and dark.

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Poor old Cookie Monster, I like the little stencil pieces that can be found.

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A new David Shillinglaw piece next to the brilliant No Limit Tattoo on Bacon Street.

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An old favourite from Eine

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That’s all for now, hope you enjoy.

If you have a few hours to spare one evening or over the weekend, I highly recommend a visit to the Natural History Museum. To be specific I am highlighting their current Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, which runs until next March. It provides an amazing selection of digital photographs by amateurs ranging from adults to children.
The pictures provide an insight into the beauty and cruelty of nature alongside the destructive influence of man. There is a great mix of visually striking images, to the simplistic solitude of a single animal with a minimal terrain.  The visit was completed with the obligatory walk through the dinosaur section.

I then travelled back to east London and the repetitively visited Redchurch Street, where two exhibitions caught my eye.
First was the debut solo show by stencil/graffiti artist ‘Snik’ who’s work was hosted at ‘The Gallery’. The collection is under the title of Nocturnal and the theme of darkness prevails through each piece. I have been a fan of his work for some time, and the vibrant bright flashes of colour scream out off the darkness enhancing all of his techniques used. In addition to work on canvas, Snik  also uses a chair, piano and vintage cases to display his work. A collection I really recommend, I am already regretting not purchasing a signed print that I saw a couple of years ago.

A few steps further and I arrived at the Londoncastle Project Space to view ‘Lawrence Watson Photographs Noel Gallagher’. Watson had unprecedented access to Gallagher during the 18 month period leading toward and including the recording of his first solo album ‘High Flying Birds’.
Each selection of photographs (that range from black & white to striking colours) follow Gallagher from the UK across America. I was pleasantly surprised at the volume of images on display, although there were more than I thought there would be the total was perfect for the journey being tracked.
The end of the gallery had a projected video of Gallagher discussing the recording process, and although I haven’t heard the full album yet it provided a great insight into the meaning behind the album. The exhibition closes on the 13th so be sure to visit the gallery before it closes.

Wow… is the only word I can use to describe the recent 2.8hours London event. A zombie apocalypse has hit London and our group of six have to scour the streets looking for fellow survivors who provide co-ordinates for the next location and a step closer to safety.
Sounds simple I know, however I forgot to mention that meanwhile we are being hunted down by zombies (and fast ones at that!!). Final co-ordinates sent us sent us to the bar where the infected are made up and taunted by the living. The evening is a complete adrenaline rush, hiding in car parks, abandoned pubs to dodging zombies under railway arches. Most definitely a date in next years diary.

From a speed rush, to a quieter alternative.

It’s not the norm that I feel under dressed, however, queuing to get into Comic Con isn’t the norm. The range of costumes is really something you need to see to believe.There is a mix of classic characters (Batman’s & Star Wars to the more modern anime and Dr Who’s.)
I Was a little late and didn’t make it until Sunday morning, however I still managed to pick up a few little bargains including some backdated editions of Chew. The Con is more than just comic books, they have the latest computer games, memorabilia and artists ready for questions and to provide sketches if you are willing to pay. 
Although I didn’t have as much time as I had hoped, I recommend going for the atmosphere and the variety of costumes. As with above, I will be back next year and giving it the time it deserves.

It has been a quiet week, however I did manage to make the most of a sunny Monday and head down to Tower Bridge & the Tower of London.

Living and working so close the pair, it’s easy to take them for granted and forget how stunning they both are. However, the real bonus was the All Hallows by the Tower Church, with a crypt containing the remains of an original Roman flooring and underground chambers.

I apologise for the picture quality as they were taken on a BlackBerry, I hope however you can still enjoy.

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A few pics from the crypt

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