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Um rolê por Brighton, a “praia de Londres”

6 anos atrás ----- Blog The Insider The Insider

por Milo Steelefox, de Londres*

Yet another bank holiday weekend, and yet another trip to the seaside… the weather wasn’t great, overcast, grey and cold, but we were in the mood for some fun, so my housemate, my boss, her housemate and I grabbed a GroupSaver train ticket to Brighton.

Being only 1 hour away it’s the obvious choice if you want a bit of beach and sea breeze, although saying that, being a pebble beach, it’s not the most comfortable for sunbathing etc. But given there was no sunshine anyway we went off in search of other things to do.

My boss’s housemate had a back up plan… it turned out they know an artist called Sam Toft, and she just so happened to be holding an open studio day with coffee and cake, and artwork on display.

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It took me a few moments to put 2+2 together and realise who she really was, but following a little puppet show where she brought her characters to life, it dawned on me that I knew her style well from gift cards and posters – have a peep at her work, it’s quite cute.

Strolling around the corner of a cool art Deco hotel we then sought out a workshop she recommended called Circus Kinetica, full of beautiful metalwork creations, jewellery and graffiti, and we met a lovely lad called Piers Mason who was working on this amazing pair of elegant metallic birds – fantastic to see such creativity, and actually in the making.

Finally venturing onto the seafront we messed around on the beach for a bit, pretending to have been shipwrecked and washed up on the shore, and admired the stunning remains of the West Pier, with a few brave surfers heading out in the cold waves.

Getting a little hungry by now we headed back off the beach, passing a steel pan band on the way which started playing a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” as we walked by, and we went and found ourselves a restaurant to have some (almost as mandatory as ice cream) fish ‘n’ chips!

On our way to the station I nipped down a back street to check if some street art was still there… as the very first time I’d gone to Brighton was 4 years ago, solely to catch an exhibition by the Brazilian graffiti artists Tinho, Pato and Flip. Cool to see it all again, and I remembered meeting the likes of Zezão and Speto too in subsequent exhibitions. I wonder how they’re getting on, and what they remember of Brighton…

And with that, we jumped on a train back home, and I slept all the way. Daytrips – more of them please!

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GLOSSARY

  • Pebble beach: a beach full of that small rounded kind of stone, instead of sand
  • GroupSaver: if you travel by train in the UK in a group of 4 you get 1/3 off the price off all the tickets – genius!
  • Sam Toft: http://www.samtoft.co.uk/
  • Bank Holiday: são os feriados britânicos durante o ano, caem sempre numa segunda-feira e são chamados de “feriado bancário”.
  • Open studio: quite self explanatory really, when an artist opens up their creative space and welcomes friends and visitors to come and drop by.
  • To put (2+2) two and two together:to manage to do something relatively simple
  • It dawned on me: to slowly realise something, gradually so, like the dawning of a new day
  • To mess around: to play around
  • West Pier, Brighton: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Pier
  • Circus Kinetica: http://www.circuskinetica.com/

Já dá pra ver as Olimpíadas da janela

6 anos atrás ----- The Insider

por Milo Steelefox, de Londres*

The other week I went on a tour of the Olympic site. And aside from basing my 10min Portuguese homework presentation on this, I thought I’d tell you guys about it, as it was rather wicked.

Plus it also links our countries, as whilst the world’s eyes begin to fall on on London for next year, Brazil will be paying close attention looking for pointers for Rio 2016.

We know, we know – how on earth do you follow Beijing? Well, that’s pretty impossible really isn’t it, but ah well, we can have crack, or just have fun trying.

Anyway, despite the typical low expectations of the English, I was quietly impressed with what’s being built in East London as they regenerate and build on a vast space in Stratford (no relation to Shakespeare, this area).

I think the event might just turn out as quirky, fresh and modern as the controversial official logo!

The Velodrome, all wooden and shaped rather like a Pringle, is looking pretty. The Olympic Stadium’s almost complete, and the Aquatic Centre’s coming on well. And sat smack bang between the two, costing £22m, is Britain’s most expensive piece of public art, The Orbit, designed by Anish Kapoor.

When complete the rollercoaster-looking tower will stand 114m tall – it was perhaps half way there when I visited – and you can bet the view from the top is gonna be amazing. Check out this short video for an idea of how it’s being made.

But the icing on the cake was a novel project which cost half a million pounds and was whipped up in just 3 month, being a cubic green café called The View Tube.

Pretty much sat as close as you can get to the stadium, the café quite simply offers “a view, a brew, and a pee”, allowing members of the public to get up close and see how the development is coming on, with a classroom space for school groups too.

I was well impressed, but even more so, according to our tour guide, were the Brazilian Olympic officials who were visiting the week previous – so keep your eyes peeled for a View Tube café in Rio in about 5 years time…
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Know More

Official London 2012 website: http://www.london2012.com/

The View Tube website: http://www.theviewtube.co.uk/

Video about The Orbit, by Anish Kapoor: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-12584721

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GLOSSARY

  • Wicked: nothing to do with being evil, but rather meaning amazing, brilliant, cool
  • Pointers: clues as to how something could be done
  • To have a crack: quite simply, to have a go, to try
  • Stratford:: a little trivia for you… Stratford (the full name of which is Stratford-upon-Avon) is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, whilst it is also the name of the area of London which is being redeveloped for the Olympics
  • Quirky: like perculiar, different, novel, intriguing
  • Smack bang:an expression used to say right in the very middle of…
  • Gonna: abbreviation of ‘going to’
  • Icing on the cake: the best bit, ‘the star of the show’, a cereja no bolo
  • Whipped up: made, created, to be done
  • A view, a brew and a pee: in other words, the chance to see the Olympic site, have a cup of tea and go to the toilet, ‘brew’ meaning a tea, as you brew the leaves in order to make it
  • Well impressed: this is the same as saying ‘I was very impressed’, although it’s more slang, so your teachers might not approve

Tour de bike (na madrugada!) para ver os grafites de East London

6 anos atrás ----- Blog The Insider The Insider

por Milo Steelefox, de Londres*

It was a typical spring day in London, a Saturday, and I cycled south of the river, all the way to Peckham for about 12 o’clock, for it was my friend’s birthday.

On the way back to the city centre I swung by The Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre to catch a 24-hour presentation of a film called The Clock, by Stephen Marclay.

It’s basically a running montage of normal movies, made up of small snippets of feature films, and the catch is that every time you see a clock or a watch it’s always in realtime (the time on screen is always the same as the actual time! – simple, but mesmerising).

But realising time was indeed ticking on, I decided to make a move to go and meet some more friends who’d invited me to go on a cycling graffiti tour at 5 o’clock. I know, what a cool idea huh!

Gathering near Old Street, we were sent off in small groups to follow blue arrows sprayed on the road, equipped with an iPod and a map, so that we could stop at designated points and listen to short commentaries by graffiti artists which provided some background information about the spot, neighbourhood, or specific artist, style, tag, or piece of street art.

It was an amazing experience, truly bringing the streets of East London to life, feeding our imaginations and understanding of what it all means.

And we passed through the iconic neighbourhoods of Shoreditch, Hoxton, Bethnal Green, Dalston and Hackney, then made our way along the canal to the final meeting point, in a cafe opposite the Olympic site, to reflect upon the tour and share feedback with the organiser.

Now, if you’ve been paying attention you’ll notice my references to times do not define AM or PM, but I thought I’d spell it out that this was all done during the night, from 11pm-9am! When my friend asked me a few days prior: “do you want to come on a cycling graffiti tour at 5am”, the novelty was too great, I simply had to say yes!

London is no ‘city that never sleeps’, like NY, but it does like to stay up late every now and again.

Find out more about the graffiti project here: http://undercurrentdesign.com/writingsonthewall/

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GLOSSARY

  • I swung by : I went somewhere, ‘dropped by’, ‘dropped in’.
  • Snippets : little bits/parts
  • The catch: the interesting part, the twist
  • Time was ticking on: again, time passing quickly
  • To make a move: to leave, to get out of somewhere
  • Tag: a signature mark a graffiti artist may use
  • Spell it out: make it clear, to explain something

O que é que Londres tem? Tailandês, arquitetura e futebol

6 anos atrás ----- Blog The Insider The Insider

Now I’ve been living in London for over four years now, still very much digging it, but what always provides a refreshed look at what the city has to offer is when friends come to stay, and best of all, when my little brother’s in town.

But (in his eyes) no London visit is complete without going for one of the Thai Vegplaces dotted round the city, a self service buffet of Thai food with dumplings, beef, chicken and prawn dishes (like the one in the picture above).

All very convincing in appearance and taste – it fooled a couple of my friends who didn’t even bat an eyelid – only it’s all made of soya and quorn, imitation.

You simply don’t find novel places like this in the little city my brother and I are from.

Anyway, last time he was down we checked out this amazing exhibition at Westminster University which my architect-cum-designer of a housemate had heard of, Vertical Works by the artist Anthony McCall. Set in a vast and very dark room, it consisted of four projections coming from the ceiling in a row, cones of light, thin strips which made gradually moving simple lines and shapes on the floor.

It was awesome, people were lying down in the light and looking up, and the reason that doing so was so mesmerising was that the room was filled with a thin layer of smoke, which formed swirling and fantastical shapes when it passed through the beams of light, giving you a brilliant 3D sense of the space. Pretty epic.

Following this, a little spaced out, we strolled over to Goodge Street and met another friend for a good cheap pizza. It was fascinating because the Man United v Arsenal FA Cup Final was on, yet you could hear the game fine as the place was half full of deaf people, all conversing enthusiastically in sign language, some of them through the window to their friends outside – fascinating to watch.

My brother was sad we didn’t see that there was a Thai Veg just a few doors down, sowe walked him through China Town and past Leicester Square, the land of all the film premiers, and rounded off the evening by going to a bar called Byron for an Oreo Cookie milkshake.

Check out Vertical Works here

http://www.anthonymccall.com/exhibitions.html

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GLOSSARY

  • Hangin’ with my brethren: perhaps you know it, but ‘hanging out’ means like chilling, spending time with your friends for example, and brethren refers to your brothers, which can be used as slang to refer to your friends, though it’s not exactly common!
  • Digging it: slang for ‘liking it’
  • To go down a treat : to be a success with others, quite literally ‘for people to like you’
  • Bat an eyelid : to blink, in other words ‘to react’, always used in the negative way of saying that someone didn’t even respond to something
  • Architect-cum-designer: basically meaning an architect who has begun working more in the realm of design
  • Spaced out: chilled out, ‘not with it’, saturated

TOP 5 – UK Summer Festivals

6 anos atrás ----- Blog The Insider The Insider Top 5

por Milo Steelefox, direto de Londres*
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Glastonbury (Worthy Farm, Pilton)

Surely the festival of all festivals, absolutely massive in both size and calibre of the diverse array of music and entertainment it offers, Glastonbury is quite something to behold. I’ve heard of friends taking 1h30 to simply get from one stage to the next just becase it’s so big and full of people. It’s not the easiest of festivals to get a ticket for either, they seem to evaporate almost as soon as they go on sale, and this year perhaps more rapidly so than ever given that there’ll not be a festival next year, so you’d have to wait until 2013! But if you were going this year you’d be treated to the headline acts of U2, Coldplay, Beyoncé, The Chemical Brothers, Queens of the Stone Age, Wu-Tang Clan, Friendly Fires, and no end of other incredible acts. Take a look at the website for a better flavour, and there’s even a film about the festival that you can check out!


The Big Chill
(Eastnor Deer Park, Herefordshire)

OK, now yes I’m a little biased on this one given that it’s a stone’s throw from where I grew up, practically my back garden, but it is brilliant and dearly loved. Saying that, the festival has lost a lot of its regular crowd following a change in ownership, and it’s certainly taking on a younger vibe, moving away from the supremely chilled family atmosphere of before. With one of the most exciting line-ups of the summer, this year’s edition of The Big Chill boasts big guns like The Chemical Brothers, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Calvin Harris, with an exclusive headline set from Kanye West, plus other highlights such as Robert Plant & the Band of Joy, and the UK debut of multimedia electropera The Bullits, featuring Jay Electronica and Lucy Liu. Plenty to look forward to.


Reading & Leeds
(Reading and Leeds)

Now every young Englishman’s got to start somewhere and go through the gruelling initiation of the festival experience full of amazing live music… uh, rain and mud, collapsing tents, more mud… and for many teenagers that first adventure comes in the shape of the Reading and Leeds festivals. It’s basically two locations, three days of rock, pop, indie and electronic music, and the bands simply swap places between the two cities, much like Spain’s Summercase in Madrid and Barcelona. Reading was perhaps my first festival, and I only went for a day, and well, seeing Ash, then Muse (in the rain), topped off by the Foo Fighters (the crowd was steaming by that point), it was an incredible night. And I’m glad to see that Muse are back this year, joined by Elbow, Friendly Fires, My Chemical Romance and the dance outfits Simian Mobile Disco and 2 Many DJs, but surely generating the most excitement is the triumphant return of Pulp and The Strokes! What better way to spend the long 3 day August Bank Holiday?


Victoria Park, London
(Lovebox / Underage Festival / Field Day)

Right, this isn’t a mistake above with the festival and location in the wrong places, I’m just cheating for this one(!), and I’m going to nominate one of the coolest spots in London when it comes to festivals, and that’s East London’s Victoria Park. First up, founded by Groove Armada, you’ve got Lovebox (15th-17th July), which this year boasts the likes of Snoopdog, The Wombats, Metronomy, Scissor Sisters, Blondie, Robyn and Kelis. And then come August you’ve got a little something for everybody, beginning with one especially for those aged between 13-17, being Underage Festival (5th Aug), featuring Bombay Bicycle Club, Crystal Fighters, Miles Kane and Brother. Growing up overnight, the park then plays host to the blissful Field Day (6th August), bringing you some of the hottest indie bands around including Mount Kimbie, Anita Blay, James Blake, Baio (Vampire Weekend) and Erol Alkan. And then, mixing the kids and the adults, these two are followed by a family-friendly day of music and arts on 7th August called The Apple Cart Festival. Fun for all the family!


Bestival
(Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight)

Last but by no means least, this one rounds up the festival season with a huge bang and always a super fun line-up. Now I used to go to the Isle of Wight (yes, an actual island, you gotta catch a boat!) when I was a young boy, and my family used to love going to the theme park Black Gang Chine, but only once did I go to Robin Hill Country Park, and boy should I get myself back there sometime… preferably for early in September, especially if I fancy catching the likes of The Cure, Pendulum, Primal Scream, PJ Harvey, Crystal Castles, Diplo, Katy B, Kelis, Public Enemy, DJ Shadow and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. And if that’s not fun enough, each edition of Bestival has a fancy dress theme, and the dress code for 2011 is ‘rock stars, pop stars and divas’!

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Veja todos os Top 5 do site

Will & Kate na parede

6 anos atrás ----- Blog The Insider The Insider

por Milo Steelefox*, direto de Londres

On the day of the Royal Wedding, the newspaper The Guardian’s headline simply read ‘Two people will marry today – with 2 million people watching’.

It’s fascinating how this marriage meant so much to so many people, yet simultaneously so little to so many others.

Amid all the hype and excitement, one thing which made me smile on my way to work the morning Will and Kate were to wed was a life-sized piece of graffiti of the pair, accompanied by the phrase “A Bit Like Marmite”.

Marmite is an iconic English spread made from yeast extract, with a flavour that splits opinion down the middle, like their classic advertising line: “Either you love it or you hate it”…

As for me, I’d booked myself a train ticket to Aberystwyth, in Wales, not to avoid the wedding, simply to join some friends for a long weekend by the sea. Although I was not entirely indifferent, and was curious to get a little taste of the action.

So on the night before the wedding, on my way to see friends in south London, I passed by Buckingham Palace around 10pm and walked my bike down The Mall to see all the revellers with their banners, tents and sleeping bags, already getting excited about the big day.

I was tickled by two girls who were walking around in full wedding dresses, happily posing for photos with whoever asked…

In truth, the atmosphere was lovely, with people drinking and singing and waving flags, and they were still partying when I passed by again on my way home around 1am. I even heard that bunting had been reported to have sold out across the country.
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And what impressed me most was the old folk, wrapped up warm in their coats, scarves and rugs, sat firmly in their front row position. No doubt they got a great view when the newlywed pair came out on the palace balcony to wave, and kiss — twice to the delight of the crowd.

It was funny to see how shop window displays embraced the occasion, decorating themselves in the national colours and wedding themes, such as the charity shop Barnados which I found in Aberystwyth (see picture above).

All in all, the wedding was obviously a hit. And I have to say, I was most grateful, as I had a beautiful sunny weekend in Wales (which you can read about it my next post)!
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GLOSSARY

  • Bunting: string with triangular pieces of fabric attached, often flags, or in the national colours of the country, which is then hung up all over shops, towns, pubs, gardens. It makes everything look very jolly/fun.
  • Marmite: as explained, a an iconic spread which some people love and others hate, be sure to try it for yourself one day!
  • To be tickled: in this instance I do not mean that they physically tickled me and made me laugh, but rather that what they were doing made me smile!