whathappensinlondon

Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

Pete’s Back

In Day to Day on August 17, 2011 at 8:48 pm

CAMDEN

Stints in jail, that trashed bedsit and countless public falling outs with his Libertine bandmates mean that a large amount of Pete Doherty’s reputation has nothing to do with his music and more to with the ups and downs of his personal life. Over the weekend, at The Blues Kitchen, he focussed on the former and played one of his first gigs since he’s been out.

His all over-the-place stage persona is one that is hard to shake, so it was not much of a surprise that when he performed in Camden (at 4 in the afternoon so as not to break curfew) this Saturday, he ambled onto the stage with a trademark fag dangling from his lips. The outgrown hair, black clothes and gold chain are all still there too but there was something different about this gig.

After his time in jail, many people haven’t realised that Pete has been released – the media hype around him has lessened and he is starting to play more gigs, including dates at the O2 academy Brixton. The gig I went to on Saturday was packed out with fans (and weirdly, Nikki from Big Brother), proving his long standing appeal despite ups and downs.

With a set list spanning from both Babyshambles and the Libertines, the intimate performance was the first time I had seen him perform live after turning down the opportunity to see him play at The Dirty South about two years ago. I wasn’t disapointed – Don’t Look Back into the Sun, my favourite song of the evening was amazing to hear live and the crowd reaction was incredible. Standing outside, it was hilarious watching people trying to work out why hundreds of people were crammed into a dark pub singing along (in that boozy, toneless way only gig crowds can achieve) on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

If you want to see him play, you can buy tickets here. 

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London Riots

In Day to Day on August 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm

LONDON

In the capital, the last few days have been ones of shock, devastation and sadness. A persistent and unwavering destruction of such a striking and inspiring city is something I never thought I would witness – even harder for me to comprehend is that this is being done by people who have grown up and lived in London communities their whole lives.

I spent much of last night keeping track of the constant updates on the news, Twitter and Facebook of the continuing violence, looting and vandalism – today was no different as my news feed gradually filled with new targets and planned attacks.  Leaving work early today, there was a general feeling of unease and upon reaching Greenwich, the boarded up shops and already smashed windows of the shops along Trafalgar road added to this.

Thankfully, messages have now turned from being helpless to fighting back – particular highlights are this woman in Hackney, who’s speech has now been viewed over a million times on Twitter, and the group of Turkish shop owners who stood guard in Stoke Newington last night. To help with the clean up now being organised by thousands of locals, follow @RiotCleanup on Twitter and find out how you can help turn the last few days around.

Some pieces that have been written over the course of the day have really struck me. The first is by Camila Batmanghelidjh , who is the founder of The Place to Be and Kids Company – a well written piece that everyone should read where she expresses her thoughts on the rioting: ‘Society relies on collaborative behaviour; individuals are held accountable because belonging brings personal benefit. Fear or shame of being alienated keeps most of us pro-social’.

Another article worth taking the time to look at is this one, where home secretary Theresa May ‘dismissed fears that deep spending cuts could undermine the ability of the police to tackle possible civil unrest, and insisted the British did not respond to austerity by rioting on the streets‘ in September 2010. A similar article was posted by the Guardian at the end of July 2011, questioning the consequences of slashing the youth services budget by 75% in the Haringey area.

One person who wasn’t too worried last night was Liz Hurley, who amidst a city in turmoil, decided to tell us what Shane Warne had for tea.

Be Cool.

In Day to Day on August 1, 2011 at 9:01 pm

IN WATER

The weather is finally showing some signs of being summer and today I’m looking to cool down and swim off! As I’m not going anywhere near a beach over the next few months, I will be making the most of London’s pools, lakes and lido’s by seeking out the best (and most probably the worst) poolside picks our fair city has to offer.

Swimming in London is definitely tricky. Your options are limited by the obvious lack of coast but do include public baths *shudder*, private member pools – Shoreditch House has one on the roof – and lido’s. My favourite are the lido’s. Mainly established during the twenties and thirties, the best ones are those that aren’t constantly pushed in the Sunday supplements, i.e. stay away from London Fields and try the Brockwell Park Lido, which boasts an Olympic sized pool, or the Tooting Bec Boating Lake, which is the largest open-air pool in the country.

Those who are slightly adventurous may well want to try swimming in the Serpentine. Pretty cold, but also pretty impressive if you can pull it off – it’s only £4 so if you’re looking to do one of those ‘Guess what I did the other day?’ conversation starters, it is totally perfect.

 If you don’t fancy stripping off (and let’s face it, it’s not that hot), the Waterline photography exhibition is still showing at the Maritime museum until October; this is WELL worth a visit, not just for the brilliant exhibition but also to see the new extension they have just opened. After being a building site for months and months, the completed works are a good example of modern architecture blending in with old design without looking tacky. For a quick review of the Waterline exhibition, click here.