Altern­at­ive London 1969/​70

I found this book in a char­ity shop. It’s a prac­tic­al guide to altern­at­ive living in London from 1969/​70 cover­ing a wide range of topics from rent laws, to sexu­al­ity, drugs and communes to join. This is the first edition, there were yearly updates through­out the 70s.

The Song is the Single

Here’s anoth­er song for you- The Song is the Single by Barr. It origin­ally came out when I was at univer­sity, and then ten years later, Brendan did a show at Power Lunches out of the blue, because he was in town for an art event anyway…

Enjoy your Londons

In 2015 I’ve worked long hours in the day job (+ spend­ing the spare time I did have in the summer help­ing to make DIY Space for London a real­ity) and not had much time for creat­ive projects. It’s been good for my CV, and my mater­i­al stand­ard of living has improved, but I’ve not always had the time or energy to devote to doing much in the way of creat­ive work or taking as much advant­age of all the inter­est­ing things London has to offer as I could do or would have liked. I now have plenty of time and not much money until Janu­ary, so now seems the time to try to figure out how to get a better work-life balance without going broke (always a chal­lenge in an expens­ive city like London). It’s a month early to do New Year’s Resol­u­tions, but why let a calen­dar stop me. I always feel much happi­er and focused with a to do list to work on. Here’s my goals.

DIY Space for London is go!

For quite a while now, I’ve been part of the DIY Space for London co-op, work­ing to open a non-profit, co-oper­at­ively run access­ible music, art and gener­al creativ­ity & activ­ism venue in London along the lines of Wharf Cham­bers in Leeds. Oper­at­ing in London has raised its own unique chal­lenges. Most projects of this nature in other places can find a build­ing and have trouble rais­ing the money. We had the oppos­ite prob­lem- we had an incred­ible amount of good­will, and people kept giving us money, but we had trouble spend­ing it. London is in the middle of an uncon­trol­lable prop­erty boom, and we had immense trouble find­ing anywhere suit­able. Places went imme­di­ately, had resid­en­tial neigh­bours or plans to build flats in unsuit­able places that would imme­di­ately result in noise complaints, had legal issues or wanted ridicu­lously huge depos­its.

London, you get to keep me (for a while)

For the past few months I’ve been weigh­ing up wheth­er to stay in London or to leave. I’ve lived here since 2011. In that time I’ve been a part-time post­grad (and finished the course), done an inter­est­ing but mostly not well-paid assort­ment of jobs, and lived in an assort­ment of sublets and prop­erty guard­i­an­ships. Since the end of 2013 I’ve lived in a prop­erty guard­i­an­ship that’s unusu­ally cheap, but not at all homely, but far too cheap to give up need­lessly.

Wander­ing along the canal

I often like to get some fresh air in my lunch break by walk­ing along the canal near my work. There’s not a lot there, just some house­boats and a small lock, and a lot of lunch­time joggers and the odd person eating sand­wiches on a sunny day. I’m a big fan of canals, and I think I’ve walked along pretty much the whole length of this one at vari­ous points.

Save Water­loo Library

I made these posters to help a friend campaign to stop Water­loo Library being closed down and sold off (there is defin­itely no resemb­lance inten­ded to a certain range of paper­back books . . ). Lambeth coun­cil is making devast­at­ing cuts to their librar­ies after having their budget cut. This govern­ment have been slowly and delib­er­ately destroy­ing every public service they can, if it doesn’t make their rich busi­ness friends rich­er, they don’t care. Librar­ies are incred­ibly import­ant, and the poorer the area the more vital they are. Even with my family, who did have books at home, there is no way I would have the educa­tion I have now if I hadn’t have been constantly read­ing books from the public library grow­ing up.

Red Lead & Choler­ic Humours


In the days when I worked at Hamp­ton Court I got to go to quite a few of their special events. They had a roster of actors who could portray the vari­ous monarchs who had lived at the palace (and two Henry VIIIs) and would do special days with re-enact­ments based on vari­ous time peri­ods or themes. On one of the days they had a day based on science in the time of Charles II. I found some photos when I was tidy­ing up the computer the other day.

Ponder this to get near­er to noth­ing

Long time, no see. In the last week I star­ted a new design job, had some major dent­al work done, and also moved. Busy. I now have a bit more money, and a lot more space though, which is always a good thing. I’ve got a fair few things to catch up with here. I’ve got films I took at Homespun Fest­iv­al to devel­op and scan, and some illus­tra­tion and sewing things to finish.

Categorised as Music

Frozy, Dog Legs and Los Crip­is

Last night I went to see my friends Frozy play with Dog Legs and Los Crip­is. Los Crip­is are from Argen­tina, but play over in the UK quite frequently. I don’t know any other bands from Argen­tina, so they can be my favour­ite one. I tried to take some photos, but the light­ing in the bar was appalling, and I don’t like to disturb people with flash, so here’s a music video instead. Don’t watch it if you don’t like blood. Los Crip­is have an album out now, and Frozy have one coming soon. Why not give them some money?

Categorised as Music

BARR at Power Lunches


The other night I went to see BARR aka Brendan Fowl­er at Power Lunches. I had pretty much forgot­ten about him until I saw the gig announce­ment on the Upset the Rhythm mail­ing list, but I was really happy when I saw it. I always like good spoken word. He doesn’t do so much music these days, more photo­graphy (he’d come over to the UK to give a talk at the Tate). I never got around to seeing him at the time, and some­how only a hand­ful of people I know remembered his exist­ence, and even fewer could make it on that partic­u­lar Sunday, but luck­ily it turned out my friend Tobi was coming up from Brighton. I was partic­u­larly keen to go, because the next morn­ing I was due to go off for two weeks to teach a resid­en­tial course in the middle of nowhere, so it was my last outing for a few weeks, and I’ve been a skint hermit recently.

Categorised as Music

Tate Britain


I went to the Tate Britain the other day. I went there plan­ning to go to the Folk Art exhib­i­tion, but real­ised I didn’t have the time or money to do it justice that day, and what I was actu­ally in the mood for was post-war modern art. So that’s what I looked at.

No jokes about fireman’s poles here


Some people I know put on a byo gig on Friday at the old fire station in Stoke Newing­ton. It makes a great venue. More of these, please. The band in the photo above are Tyran­no­saur­us Dead. I didn’t take a lot of pictures, because it’s diffi­cult in low light situ­ations, and I don’t like to use flash if the ambi­ent light­ing is atmo­spher­ic.

Categorised as Music

Space is Ace II


My friend Mel put on a space-themed night at Power Lunches with some other students from her MA course. I helped out by design­ing the flyer, help­ing with decor­at­ing, and djing in the bar. I had a really good time, but I really don’t have anything nice to say about the beha­viour of the three other St Martin’s students.

The night was really popu­lar though, the place was packed, and every­one seemed to have a good time, which was the import­ant thing.

Space is Ace

Tomor­row at Power Lunches in Dalston, my friend Melanie is putting on an event with her compadres from the Art & Science MA at St Martins. There’s going to be bands, sound art, projec­tions, edible sugar glass plan­ets, and a very large amount of tinfoil. I did the artwork for the flyer. If you like it, and are coming to the event, you will be able to buy A3 posters of it (a few people asked already). I don’t know the exact prices yet, because I haven’t got them prin­ted yet, but the b&w edition will be roughly £1.50 and the colour version more.

Field Day 2013

I also went to Field Day this year. It was the first Saturday I had off work in about 3 months, so it was good to make the most of it (I also had to go to work the next day- some­how I looked and felt fine, I must be a wonder of biology). I managed to see most of the bands I wanted to, bar Toy and Mount Kimbie. I was there with my house­mate, but we managed to keep miss­ing each other. When I left I suddenly had a flood of texts onto my phone saying things like “I’m at the bar by X, we’re going to watch Y in a min, where are you?” which might explain it. Stupid tech­no­logy. He saw Mount Kimbie and found it disap­point­ing anyway. I managed to find my Medway friends anyway, and spent some time with people from Read­ing too, which was nice.

Categorised as Music

Regent’s Canal


The other week I went for a walk along the east­ern end of the Regent’s Canal with my dad. I used to live down the other end of it, and I’ve pretty much walked the entire length a lot of times. It’s one of the few short canals around here, most of the others are long inter­city ones.

Revert to Disar­ray


The gallery has some kind of connec­tion with a hotel, and they held anoth­er event there the follow­ing night, with Jim Sclavun­os from the Bad Seeds djing ( a strange mix of Iggy Pop and novelty jazz records), and a repeat of the music. It was quite a  surreal exper­i­ence. I don’t really drink in fancy hotels anyway, it not being in the budget. Also, on the way there, we stopped off to get some food, and eat it in a little park, the sort where office work­ers go to eat sand­wiches. There was a crown green bowls contest going on in the middle of the finan­cial district. We felt very civil­ised, watch­ing bowls before going to social­ise in a hotel.

Making Tracks- live cinema

A little while ago my friend Erika Pál had the anim­a­tion she made for our MA show in Whir­li­gig Cinema’s Making Tracks fest­iv­al. She made record­ings of the students describ­ing dreams they’d had, and painstak­ingly created the anim­a­tion with oil paints on glass and time-lapse photo­graphy. Here she describes how she made it. She doesn’t have it avail­able to view online at the moment, so here are some stills from her website.

Petrie Museum


Earli­er today I met up with my friend Chloe on her way up to Glas­gow, and we went to the Souzou exhib­i­tion with her old flat­mates. When she went to catch the train, I decided to fit in a visit to the Petrie Museum round the corner in UCL too, which I hadn’t been to for a long time. (I tried to say hi to Jeremy too, but his box was closed).

Souzou (miss­ing images from Wellcome Collec­tion)

At the moment at the Wellcome Collec­tion they have a free exhib­i­tion of outsider art from Japan. All of the artists live in assisted living facil­it­ies, and most of them create their artwork as part of art ther­apy classes.

Laine, Wolle

On Sunday I went to an exhib­i­tion about wool at Somer­set House with Natalie. As well as the expec­ted demon­stra­tions of things like Fair Isle and weav­ing, they had interi­ors and artworks made out of wool.


On Saturday I did zine stalls at Brix­ton Record Fair and Bloody Icecream. I brought a film camera with me, and the film is at the lab still, but I took some (not fant­ast­ic) phone pics too.

Smooth down the aven­ue glit­ters the bicycle

I’ve always had a soft spot for 30s subur­bia. These two pictures are a place called Twydall, near where my mum lives. I went along there to buy some wool, and I wasn’t disap­poin­ted, the area is full of old ladies. Also, the fact that the wool shop is called World of Wool­craft and is run by what could be the broth­er of the Comic Book Store Guy made me laugh.

Geffrye Museum

Here are some pictures from the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton. It used to be an alms­house, and is now a museum of furniture and interi­ors. They have rooms set up show­ing typic­al London living rooms in vari­ous time peri­ods from the 1600s onwards for famil­ies with a medi­um income, with inform­a­tion about all the objects in the room. They also have a histor­ic­al garden and restored 18th century alms­house interi­or, but I didn’t get a chance to see them this time. In the run up to Christ­mas, they’d arranged each room to show how differ­ent winter fest­ivals were celeb­rated in each era (until the 1800s New Year and Twelfth Night were much bigger than Christ­mas).

Categorised as History, UK

Anything and everything a chap can unload

I took these couple of pictures on a visit to Porto­bello Market a couple of weeks ago. The film was expired slide film anyway, and it went through the airport xray machine twice on my way to and back from Bulgaria, and it ended up with a large red section. Not an attract­ive red tinge, a muddy red effect that blew out high­lights and blurred details. I took more pictures at the market, but they ended up unus­able. That’s expired film for you.

Pick Me Up 2012

Before I went to Bulgaria, I helped out at Pick Me Up, a yearly graph­ics art fair. My tutor was running a “Draw­ing Olympics” work­shop, and some of us students went along to help.

Little Venice in orange

These are some photos I took in Little Venice with my old Pentax film SLR a few weeks ago. They call it Little Venice, but it’s really just a canal basin out the back of Padding­ton Station with lots of house­boats, some nice pubs and a cafe and a puppet theatre on boats. I guess “Little Holland” or “Little East Anglia” don’t sound as excit­ing. The slide film was much more out of date than I real­ised, but I like the orange and purple impres­sion­ist look I ended up with, some of the photos look more like paint­ings than photos.

These are the cheap seats, not Mount Sinai.

At the end of the summer I went to an exhib­i­tion by stage set design students at the Nation­al Theatre. It’s strange, I’ve never had much interest in doll­s­houses, but I love toy theatres and set design models.


At my work they’ve got a butter­fly garden in a heated tent over the East­er holi­days. I popped in to take some pictures in my tea break earli­er this week. I don’t know what any of the species are, I don’t know much about butter­flies. They had a refer­ence board to compare the live ones to, but I didn’t have time to look closely.

Museum of Child­hood

On Saturday morn­ing I did a zine work­shop for the Brighton Popu­lar Educa­tion Collect­ive who run a day of free classes and lectures on things like bike mech­an­ics, sewing and local history one day a month. It was the same work­shop I’ve done loads of times, and it always seems to go down well. This time I had both a lady in her 50s and a very enthu­si­ast­ic boy of about 7 there.

Categorised as UK

London Zine Symposi­um 2009

Sunday was the London Zine Symposi­um, and I had a stall with the other Brighton Zine­fest people. We went up togeth­er on the train, and that seemed to coun­ter­act the jinx that plagues me any time I try to go to a zine event in London which cancels/​seriously delays any known form of trans­port. I did forget to bring the “up for trades” badges though, and we had to make do with German ones (not that useful in an English-speak­ing event!). There were two rooms this year, about 2 million people I knew and it got very hot. I did a work­shop with Alex about Etsy, we basic­ally made it up as we went along.

Categorised as Zines

Altern­at­ive Press Fair – London

I shared a stall at the Altern­at­ive Press Fair at the start of Feb with my friends Scott and Chris, and their friend Pete who I hadn’t met before. Thanks to Jimi and Peter for organ­ising such a great event.

Categorised as Zines

Women’s Zine­fest

At the end of Janu­ary I had a stall at the Zine Fest at the women’s library at London Met Uni in East London. I was horribly late, as it seemed almost every form of trans­port I could possibly use was closed for engin­eer­ing works that week­end, so I ended up having to walk from Monu­ment to Brick Lane to get there. I had a ridicu­lously huge table to myself in this cosy little library, and I made quite a good bit of money and did some shame­less promo­tion of the Brighton Zine­fest.

Categorised as Zines
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