Beautiful Brutalism

sunshine

A long, long time ago in my late teens/early twenties I worked in a little restaurant/bar next door to Moorgate Station. There was a sister restaurant just behind us above another entrance for the station that led into the Barbican Estate and this was when I was probably first properly introduced to Brutalist Architecture. I would spend many a lunchtime wandering round and admiring the estate. Both restaurants and the escalators and walkway above the entrance onΒ Β  street are all gone to make way for the Crossrail but the estate is still their in all its brutal glory.

look up

defoe house

tower

al fresco

On the estate is also the Barbican Centre, a cultural arts centre that houses exhibitions, has a cinema and theatre amongst many things. There is a restaurant and a terrace that you can also enjoy as a visitor but pretty much most of the estate is closed off because it’s a private residential area. It is one of my favourite places in London, smack bang in the city and a serene little oasis anyway from the hustle and bustle. I always dreamed of living there but property prices these days have killed that off! A three bedroom flat on the 12th floor will set you back at least Β£1.6 million!!!! You can read more about the history of the estate here.

barbican centre

stairwell in the centre

side balcony

On Saturday we went to an exhibition at Arts Centre, followed by some lunch and walk round the accessible parts of the estate so I could get some pictures. I did have my main camera with me but stupidly forgot to put the SD card back in it, so I ended up using my phone instead, so not the greatest quality but I can still show you what I saw. Mainly for me I love the shapes, the curves, the line, the way the towers loom over the city. How the estate has its own florist and residents adorn the concrete balconies with foliage. On a cloudy day it looks mean and moody and on a sunny day it’s actually quite beautiful.

look up 2

frobresher crescent

barbican terrace

stairs

semi circles

curves

hanging

barbican balconies

balconies

private

barbican fountains

curved stair

blue stairs

cross rail

This last picture is where the old walkway into the estate above the entrance on Moorfields which is just behind the entrance on Moorgate, to make way for the new crossfields. I was kind of bittersweet about my old work place being demolished, on the one hand it introduced me to a beautiful part of the city which I would explore on my breaks because I had to get away for my idiot boss, on the other hand I actually hated working at that restaurant because I had an idiot boss who used to pick on me!

Things never really the same or they get stagnant, so it is always interesting to see how the new evolves around the old. By any means the Barbican isn’t an old estate, construction was started in the 60s, so quite young by compared to some but for me it still one of my favourite places in the city. I have to visit the conservatory in there, it’s usually open on Sundays and Bank Holidays, so I will definitely be returning whether it for this or an exhibition.

I plan this summer to take more walks and photos, and next time I’ll remember to put the memory card back in my camera!

Please note that all photos remain my property, please do not use without permission or credit.

I Went For a Walk and Saw…

I was going to the usual monthly round-up post but I’ve spent most of the month trying to catch up with work and so not much to report after what I’ve already blogged about already, so I though instead of doing monthly round ups as I plan on blogging a lot more anyway, doing photo posts.

Anyway here a few shots from our walk round Kensington and Chelsea.

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I know I’m not the world’s greatest photographer but I just like to share some of the things I see on my travels.

Future Islands @ The Roundhouse

March was pretty quite for gigs, in April there will be no gigs as there I’m kind of up to my eyeballs organising something and also it’s pretty thin on the ground but May and June are set to be epic, so many artists I get to tick off my wish list. I discovered the Future Islands last year after someone posted a video of their appearance on the Letterman Show and asked myself why the hell have I never heard off this band and have been pretty much in love with their sound ever since.

The gig was good, the Vaselines was supporting (I missed the first support act Chiffon), I wasn’t exactly enamoured by their songs, they sounded samey and the female lead singer was apparently trying to be funny but just came across as really rude, I guess maybe the fans would have found it funny. I decided instead of being a creature of habit to not stand at the back and went to the side of the stage instead which was a little bit closer and able to capture some better but still not great pictures on my phone and also try out the VSCO app I recently installed but let’s face it I really need to invest in a decent camera. I have to stay I really liked this band live and Sam has a great stage presence and really gives it his all performing, it’s not hard to see why all their shows sold out. Also how pretty is the Roundhouse? It’s pretty damn cool under all those lights!

PS remember I’m not a gig reviewer I just like going to gigs, enjoying really good music and taking really bad photos whilst I’m there!!!

Favourite Things: Spring Time

It’s Friday and I’m bringing back A Few of My Favorite Things!

Today is Spring! I love winter for of about five minutes, yes it gives you a chance to slow down but as part tropical bunny I need sun and it’s safe to say I won’t be moving to the arctic circle any time soon. Despite spring also marking start the allergy season for me (I’m allergic to tree and grass pollen) I don’t care I love it when the Magnolia, Camellia and Cherry Trees blossom, it means summer is on it’s way!

(All pictures taken by me)

A Wander Through London Town

On Saturday we decided to go to the Marlene Dumas exhibition at the Tate Modern followed by a walk to Brick Lane for hot salt beef bagels. It takes a lot to drag me out of bed on a Saturday morning but I will sacrifice a lie in if means getting to go to gallery whilst it’s quiet, so we booked in for the 10am entry. I had no idea what to expect from the exhibition I hadn’t heard of Dumas until I saw the exhibition advertised, to be honest I thought it was okay but not really my thing. I found her form of expression kind of creepy, I think that was the point but then it’s to be expected at some point I’ll come across something in the art world that I just don’t connect with, that was this exhibition.
After we sauntered down to Brick Lane and I have a love for the architecture of this city so took a few pictures along the way.
Β taking a slight detour after I forgot to take a turning but easily rectified and sometimes it’s good to get lost, like finding these awesome gates.
The thing I like about Brick Lane is that it’s never really static, it’s always changing and the art is always changing. Okay so some people don’t consider graffiti or street art to be art just vandalism but over the last few years it has definitely taken a cue from the 70s and 80s style of freedom of expression and has definitely taken on an art form again. Gone are the pointless name tags scrawled across grimy bus stops and replaced with statement pieces.
We gate crashed a tourist group huddled in a make shift car park posing against walls with directions such as ‘act as though you live round here!’ whilst taking pictures on very big and expensive cameras and there’s me on my android phone IGing away.

After wandering round and taking some pictures and laughing at how ridiculously priced everything is in the vintage shops, seriously it’s an expensive habit to look the same but not the same as everyone else! Also velvet crop tops are making a come back!!! We passed a couple of cafes that had some seriously long queues outside , one being the Cereal Killer cafe but there’s only one place I am willing to queue up outside for in the freezing cold and that is the 24hour Beigel Bake for not one but two hot salt beef with mustard bagels. The rules are simple in this place, know what you want, have your money ready, keep the line moving! Or risk being yelled or eye rolled at one the many ladies serving behind the counter. Seriously I love these women! And yes all gluten free rules are broken for these bad boys, which is why I only pilgrimage about twice a year!

Then part of this pilgrimage means we go and sit in Arnold Circus bandstand and eat our bagels, the best part of which is the mustard hitting the back of your throat causing your nose to run and eyes to water. I have a real soft spot for this place. I used to go to uni in Aldgate, I briefly lived on Kingsland Road just before this area became the ultimate hipster place to live, it’s lost a lot of it’s grimy charm through regen and the building of the cross rail link and Sundays it’s tourist overload but there are a lot of good things round this place, like Columbia Road flower market, The Geffrye Museum, Denis Severs House, Stepney Green City Farm are a few places to mention.

And that was our Valentine’s day!