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Posts Tagged ‘Covent Garden’

Get your skates off

In Day to Day on December 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

COVENT GARDEN, SOMERSET HOUSE, THE STRAND

So, last weekend I managed get nail varnish remover spilt on my beloved MacBook Pro. Obviously in no way my own fault, it still meant a Sunday trip up to the Mac Store in Covent Garden and a very long wait seeing as their online booking system is totally shit.

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With 4 hours to kill between getting there and my vital 15 minute appointment with them geniuses at the Genius Bar, I guilt-tripped a couple of friends into spending the day in Covent Garden. Turns out ‘I’m so sad, I’ve potentially lost all of my photos of me larking around on a beach in Thailand’ tugs at the heartstrings in more ways than you would expect and they eagerly jumped on the train to meet me.

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First off, while waiting for my friends to spend a day waiting with me, I stopped off at Somerset House. It’s so pretty once they’ve put up the skating rink, I challenge anyone to go there and not start to feel a bit Christmassy. I watched everyone whizzing around (no falls) for a bit, but it’s not as fun as actually going on the ice so made my way towards the exhibitions. There’s loads on at the moment, and most of it’s free, so I’d massively recommend heading up there if you’re looking for something to do of a weekend while still saving up the pennies for important festive things like booze and Christmas presents and a sequinned dress for the office party.

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The first exhibition I went to is just to your left as you walk into the main reception. In the late 1940s black-and-white photographer Cartier-Bresson said that ‘colour photography is not up to the mark; prove me wrong’. Curator William Ewing has set about doing just that in ‘Cartier-Bresson: A Question of Colour‘, by showcasing a number of photographers working in colour who also adopt Cartier-Bressons hallmark ‘decisive moment’ style of photo.

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For the exhibition Ewing has chosen contemporary photographers including my favourites Karl Baden, Ernst Haas, Fred Herzog, Joel Meyerowitz, Alex Webb and Trent Parke. Each interprets the ethos in their own way but all display incredible talent for powerful capturing split-second moments.

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Next up, Night Paintings from Paul Benney. The curation and location of this exhibition make it a worthwhile visit as it’s situated underneath the ice rink in a series of hidden passageways and atmospheric chambers. The space, known as Deadhouse, has never been used for an exhibition before and actually contains the gravestones of 17th century courtiers within the vaults and set into the walls. To find out more, there are free organised tours every Thursday and Saturday. Also, if you were left dying to find out more after reading my blog post on how London is romanticised in films, Deadhouse plays Newgate prison in the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film.

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I squeezed in the Henri-Besson photo exhibition and Paul Benney’s Night Paintings exhibition but am heading back this weekend so that I can see the Valentino and Timothy Walker exhibitions – to be honest I want to give them more time as I’ve heard that both are brilliant.

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Seeing as I’ve tagged and led this with spilling nail varnish remover on a MacBook, here’s a link to what you should do straight away (which I didn’t). You’re welcome.

Tatty Devine vs Claire’s Accessories

In Day to Day on February 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm

LONDON/A FACTORY

A double-edged sword, social media now has the power to escalate a bad situation to the point of no return. Last week, independent cult jeweller Tatty Devine, blogged about the copycat designs Claire’s Accessories were carrying as part of their 2012 range. It transpired that, shockingly, the high street chain had brazenly duplicated a number of their unique acrylic and Perspex jewellery pieces.

Within 24 hours, the Tatty Devine site had crashed due to the spike in visitors to the page, and #ClairesAccessories had begun to trend on Twitter. In the post, Tatty Devine added photos of their own original pieces; next to those that Claire’s Accessories were selling for a fraction of the price. You only need to glance at them to realise they had been completely matched; detail for detail and that a serious case of plagiarism had taken place.

Even more shocking to me was Claire’s Accessories response (or lack of). Despite trending on Twitter, their page featured no statement and no comment on the increasingly disastrous situation, until later the next day. Their Facebook page was worse. I looked at the page at 4.56pm on 23rd February and liked a comment someone had written about the scandal – by 4.59pm the comment had been deleted and I had been blocked from writing on the page. Below is an example of the sort of comments that were repeatedly deleted for 2 days…

I watched as the page refreshed with more negative comments…which were again deleted within minutes. Not only does this make people angry and upset, it also makes Claire’s Accessories look incredibly unprofessional and naive. Social media is a public forum and if they, as a company, are willing to enjoy the positive aspects of this (their page has over a million fans), then they also need to use it to respond to the negative.

Handily for this post, Social Media Week was only a week ago and is still fresh in my mind. During which, I went to a very insightful workshop led by social media management company, Tempero, on protecting your brand. They’d even brought in lawyer, Tim Pinto to answer the trickier questions. One of the main points raised by Tim and Tempero was that when faced with situations that have spilled into your brands social media presence, ‘don’t’ panic and react quickly’.

Claire’s Accessories take note – ignorance is NOT bliss. By ignoring the situation, and actually deleting criticism you open yourselves out for more of the same. As a result prolific bloggers including Liberty London Girl picked up the story, plus the Guardian, The Independent and Stylist Magazine ran their own articles online following how poorly it was handled from a PR perspective.

Stylist Magazine published this response from Hind Hadj, Head of European Marketing & PR for Claire’s, “Claire’s is aware of the blog post yesterday on the tattydevine.com blog and is currently investigating these comments.”

Claire’s Accessories have also released this statement on their Facebook page:

Claire’s Stores, Inc. is a responsible company that employs designers, product developers and buyers, and works with many suppliers to provide innovative collections that bring customers all the latest fashion trends. As such, we take any allegations of wrong doing seriously. We are looking into the matters raised.

A similar, shorter one is on their Twitter page. However, this all feels very much too little too late from Claire’s and I hope that Tatty Devine manage to resolve this with them, I’m sure that they will update their blog page with any developments. For more info, here is the original blog post, here is Liberty London Girl’s personal blog post about the scandal and here is the email you should use should you want to send anything to Claires Accessories: marketinguk@claires.co.uk

I really don’t want to go…

In Day to Day on October 4, 2011 at 9:28 pm

COVENT GARDEN

It’s always the fall back – the mid meeting place that seems like the easy option, failsafe plan b, c or d. For me however, going to Covent Garden always smacks of returning to my 12 year old self (jaunts up to London with my girlie friends, the day would consist of ‘shopping’ around Covent Garden and meeting up with other people (boys!) that we could have just met up with locally). When I say shopping, what I really mean is browsing through Paperchase, Quiksilver and Octopus and coming back with a funny jelly watch, a pair of tie dye jeans or some hilarious writing paper.

Anyway…less reminiscing and nostalgia and more reviewing. Covent Garden is very touristy: lots of mimes painted in silver, gold and white as well as plenty of other performers commanding large crowds by riding round on unicycles with a mic and large ego. One such performer, who I haven’t seen in CG but really wish I had, is Sam Wills

I discovered him at The Old Vic Tunnels (review here) as his alter ego, The Boy With Tape on His Face and am now slightly obsessed with seeing him again (should you wish to, his next London date is at the Underbelly Festival).

I’ve been to the Punch and Judy, which overlooks the performers, numerous times after making plans to meet friends and said plans being finalised so late that last resorting has called for 4pm desperate emails of ‘OK, we’ll meet in the Punch and go from there’.

From there usually means the Roadhouse (I know), the now defunct Garden Club or, if common sense and the motivation for a longer walk prevails, Gordon’s Wine Bar. My favourite by far, I have reviewed Gordon’s and praised it’s offer many times that maybe I should stop; also, I suppose it’s not really in Covent Garden, is it?

Other options include Walkabout, or The Chandos. I have ended up in the  Chandos with people visiting me in London, colleagues, friends and just about everyone else on my radar that has passed through the Charing Cross – South East London migration path on Thursday and Friday evenings. A favourite because it is cheap, friendly and very central, go to the upstairs bar for a seat because most people don’t even know it exists so shhhh! I have to this date, only even been in Walkabout once and intend to keep it that way.