Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Fox (in memory Lane) and Red 93

For a year or so after I'd moved to London I pretty much continued to live the life of a student but with the added advantage of having money.
Still sun-spoilt and tucked away
This way to the garden

During those halcyon days I was introduced to the delights of Hanwell's Fox public house nestled as it is amongst cottages, Allotments and the canal  it felt positively rural

So it was something of a delight to find that the pub retains its sleepy and friendly atmosphere on a Thursday lunchtime, nice beer and a nice garden too - Thanks John for the lunchtime  treat.

Red 93

So we're preparing today to put out a (slightly scruffy) metaphorical red carpet at the set up of Ealing's Bond Street Pop Up - Leap Year

Only a day away

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Roald Dahl, BEAT featured 'Artist of the Week' and Red 94

During the 1970's there used to be a rather charming series of TV programmes commissioned by the then East of England ITV company 'Anglia' where Roald Dahl would introduce his stories of 'The Unexpected' they were well produced and glossy.
Not so unexpected 

The same man also created many successful Children's stories like Willy Wonka and  the recently filmed BFG.

I'm a regular late night user of BBC radio iPlayer and have heard a few of his stories read as part of celebrations around the 100 years since his birth what I've now discovered is something of  Roald Dahl's  amazing life particularly his war time work as a pilot - he writes so well and makes you realise what heroes there were at this time - many of our so called battles are so trivial in comparison.

On a plate

Somewhat less of an achievement than those of Roald ..

A slight honour

Well just as the opportunity to have the Picture of the Week in the Ealing Gazette seems to have pretty much dried up woke up to find that I will be BEAT's 'featured Artist of the Week next week - should hopefully be some of my favourite photo's being promoted on Social Media ahead of the big event in September

Red 94

Nice fresh ripe (and red)  Melon

Red as an example of ripe

Friday, July 29, 2016

Rush of Green and Red 95

The Candy Boys name-maker 
More of the City Lit tour (Rich Pickings) of West London - this week we were in an area that epitomised the Rich.

Seeing the flats of  One Hyde Park it's slightly staggering to learn of the success and wealth of The Candy Brothers (in the news today ) they're surprisingly young and have paid (perhaps less surprisingly) little tax.

This development put them on the map(and one of them's married to Holly Valance).

Just by the flats is a store associated with Bling and a facade reflecting it.

Burberry facade reflects their design.

It was nice to see a pub that reflected an important London figure  in the naming of Paxton's Head.  Paxton for who the pub was named famously had engineer Brunel working for him in Crystal Palace days

A fine pub named after an important figure.

Epstein's Rush of Green near Hyde Park 
Earlier on the course we saw one of the places where the US born Jacob Epstein lived in London (Near  one of the homes of Winston Churchill)  - seems he was a vibrant and exciting person and some of that excitement is captured in his final work - moved as a result of corporate HQ building but still suggesting the family in their pursuit of some open space - with a Pan figure included .

Red 95

Not just red letters but red packages too

And only £1

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Leap Year Shop, BEAT's Promo and Red 96

366 images of Red
Starting on Monday 1st August I'm a gallery host and leader of a happy band of local artists in an Ealing Pop Up Shop - thanks to the efforts of BID who are working so hard to promote Ealing.

 There will be Photographs and Watercolours as well as other things to spark interest.
The Shop now in Bond Street W5 

My personal initiative is bringing together a year of Red images (see below) to  (hopefully) draw something from a life.

I've got a rough cut Video to show and I'm keen to get input from others on how I can finesse the idea and also engage with others on the idea of red -I  hope you can be involved.


Just  a matter of weeks before BEAT (Borough of Ealing Art Trail) springs into action - a really great Promo been put together for it .

BEAT : Borough of Ealing Art Trail 2016 from james lewis on Vimeo.

I'll be there (at Orchard Cafe W13)  with a camera and plenty of chat -

Red 96

Isn't it tough when it all hits the bumpers?

A single bright red bumper.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Some more Rich Pickings (3) and Red 97

Knightsbridge Now only for the rich 
Over the next couple of days I'll highlight some of the things I learnt on recent final Rich Pickings walk in West London.

Of course meeting at Knightsbridge it's not possible to ignore the retail connections (Harvey Nichols and Harrods for example) but the area has not always been the part of London that  exemplifies the rich visitor (now mainly Middle Eastern or Russian) - it was for a time associated with the military and 'Camp followers' ensured that there were some seedy residents in years gone by.
Not always salubrious  

One famous 19th Century resident (in Trevor Square)  and a courtesan who lived in the area was Harriet Wilson.

It was Wilson  on revealing that she'd 'spent time' with The Duke of Wellington in her memoirs that caused him to use the (now) famous phrase publish and be damned.

Much in evidence on the small streets of the area were the temporarily imported cars of the young Kuwaiti super rich - a phenomenon which irritates the  quasi locals each summer.

Not an area for speeding.
More later


The latest iteration of  my 'Leap Year' project is  ready to view here

Red 97

Having started to look beyond the images at what Red can mean I find that deeper reds are asscoaited with opulence and extravagance, sad to see such hues in the pile 'to be collected' by the refuse services.

Being extravagant

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Butterfly wings and Red 98

There's a famous phrase that's forever associated with Chaos Theory and the idea that a flapping pair of  butterfly wings in Mexico can cause a hurricane in China.

The problem for mankind is that (correct though it may be) it fosters something of a feeling of hopelessness.

Hearing (again) this morning on the radio that the Arctic continues its thawing out and that the effect of this would mean even more absorption of heat by planet earth (the Snow/Frozen Sea reflects some away) is worrying to say the least.
Please don't flap those wings - goodness knows what might happen 

Temperatures globally are rising and worst case scenario is that rather than finding a new equilibrium which will allow life to continue the whole thing cascades out of control and human life becomes marginal and fraught.

Okay so it's of great concern but what (if anything) can I do?

What are climate change experts suggesting - if I walk rather than use the car will it be enough?
Many consider that we've got to the pointy of no return and our best bet is to make our remaining time as tolerable as we can.

(Also on the same radio programme while the spread of Drones for home deliveries was being discussed a guest pointed out while it was okay for one person to walk on the grass the effect of thousands was likely to do damage.)

Perhaps we should all pray or start building our rocket ships to Mars - oddly (perhaps) we continue to focus on the strangely trivial in our lives...

[And here are some tips if you're an optimist]

Red 98

And as if to emphasise it

Calm bears in their Red shirts just hanging around

Monday, July 25, 2016

My Social Media use and Red 99

I wonder how the previous greats of civilisation would have dealt with modern communications if they'd lived today?

What would Picasso produce on his iPad (here's something about David Hockney using an iPad) , how would Dickens blog and what would Hitchcock load up onto YouTube (a few selfies I'm sure)?
(Perhaps) Step away from the Keyboard

Over the last couple of years I've blogged most days and tried to tweet a photo' each day - partly to support my own personal projects - by a steady approach I'm close to 100 Tweet followers (not by subscribing or following loads of  others), I've noted of late that the niche of Blue Plaques have a loyal audience.

Like the rest of  the people  out there I've ploughed my own furrow in the way I engage with modern electronic communications but anticipate taking a less involved stance at the end of 2016 - not for any particular philosophical reason but because it takes a lot of time.

Oddly recently my blog seems to be getting many hits but this does not seem to suggest a particular aspect is prove of interest and I expect it to return to the usual 1500 or so  hits  per month.

There are some good and bad things about Social Media - the good thing is keeping ion touch and (for me) the discipline of regularly writing.

The bad things tho' I fear could fill  several fairly thick books -some being the potential vitriol and for many  a step away  from being genuine and  'real'
A shop with people

I know we can't un-invent our support mechanisms but the fact that many will look at their facebook page 100+ times each day does not sound great and have you noticed how so many people are cocooned in a world where they continuously listen to 'something'  on their phones?

On the subject of Facebook (yes I've got a login) - what is it when they tell me a lot has happened while I've been away - yes there has but what's on Facebook is rarely it.

Hopefully next week I'll be engaging with people directly in Ealing Pop po shop in Bond Street (10:30 to 18:00 daily).

[I suppose there's an idea that you only exist when you can 'find yourself' - in many senses  with a short google enquiry.]

Red 99

So here we as we move into the top 100 with another popular red - the red top of the tabloid press.

A ' sponsored' red top

Sunday, July 24, 2016

UK Politics(my view) and Red 100

It's going to be hard for Theresa may to resist an early-ish election while Labour is in such disarray.

Just when you think it can't get much worse for Labour who were was until fairly recently the UK's ruling party - it goes and gets much worse.
UK politics - only united in Tea

The idea that Jeremy Corbyn's 'troops' should engage in subterfuge at the level where computers are hacked  might seems a step too far but such is the mania for conspiracies in left wing  factions that it does have a ring of credibility about it.

Politics remains compelling to many of us.

 A rapprochement between the Labour party members and its political representatives at Westminster  does not look possible but infighting within the Conservatives may be only temporarily halted - there's going to be some difficulties (despite Boris's continuing optimism) with trade  negotiations  and a predicted 'dip' on the economy may cause some outbreaks of blame- mongering, just because we're likely to leave the EU doesn't mean the poison between the Right and the Social democratic centre of the Conservatives is more than sleeping-  and  new possibilities undoubtedly remain. 


Red 100

The last day of 3 digits!
Many of the pictures have been about the subject but here's one where I actually like the composition too.
The red isn't physically overpowering but it does draw the eye to it.

A Red turban in Ealing Broadway - what is it about red head-wear?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Problem solvers or experimenters and Red 101

I was thinking that it's rather  interesting to consider how we classify ourselves in a fairly binary manner
Some problem solving  should not be treated as  an Experiment

When I studied Horticulture a few years back one of the girls studying was generally very involved and (as were most of us) focused on 'being there'  - she had very much the idea (and used the phrase) that it was an 'experiment 'of  the various endeavours involved  - to me this reeks of positivity and adventure - great qualities.

In our darker moments perhaps we have something more serious and then it's more about solving a problem (like how do I put food on the table?).

Both worthy ways to confront bits of our lives but to be an experimenter (and Explorer) is often fun .

Keri's book
Noah Scalin changed my life

And talking about experiments (which over the last 250 days or so have sometimes been about problem solving) ...

A 365 name-check

Looking back at my Blog I found that the first mention of the 'Creativity'  project  in October 2013 and the idea of a Red theme in February last year - started in earnest last November and it feels like I'm in sight of the finishing tape (And there's hopefully a  bit of a metamorphosis taking place too).

So rather great to be in touch with book's author Noah Scalin and to get a namecheck on the excellent blog he runs.

You can see the latest iteration with some ambient music (called Light Awash by Kevin MacLeod)  of the experiment below - more to come!

[if you're interested in the meme of Creativity check out John Bradford's Blog]

Red 101

Just when you need it..

The other day (while wearing my Vinopolis T shirt) I was stopped in the King's Road (not a euphemism) and offered a free sample - and told to not drink it hopefully it wasn't..

a) Because I looked in need of it as someone with terrible skin


b) Someone who might drink it

Another unexpected donation from the 'Gods' 

Friday, July 22, 2016

UK Business as usual and Red 102

Now musing on our future after hearing a very good (but slightly dense) radio programme called How Low Can Rates Go ostensibly about how Interest Rates can go negative but in fact about the near cataclysmic economic times we're living through.
Was it a peasant's revolt?

Hard to reconcile Japan's rapid post WW II economic ascent with around 20 years of deflation and a flat lining economy - this now looking to be one of their most successful exports as developed world looks increasingly at no/lo growth.

Perhaps as some say we're facing a time when the relationship between capitalism and democracy will be redrawn (I'm told that there not endemically linked)

In truth many of us can cope well with situation we're in but without growth those near the bottom face little improvement and dynamics of 21st century begin to  look socially dangerous.


Westminster -Barely misses a beat 

In Westminster yesterday to see my brother and the atmosphere there was a bit 'end of term' as eventful political season moving to recess.

Struck by the way things have settled in the month since Brexit became a reality - establishment is able to move on in changed circumstances while barely missing a beat - what felt like an almighty peasants revolt begins to look little more than a slight swerve - as above though no improvements can be ultimately problematic.

Red 102

A Red crane towers over the temporary Portacabins being stacked on Haven Green as part of the Crossrail work at Broadway station.

A Red crane against the green hoardings and blue sky in Ealing

Thursday, July 21, 2016

More Blue Plaque Rich Pickings (2) and Red 103

So as well as some fine buildings there are plenty of Blue Plaques showing important residents of London's often fashionable King's Road area.

The 'Mess' by the Saatchi Gallery

Home to  a Painter and a Poet

Our City Lit guide unlike me is not a fan of Dante Gabriel Rossetti -seems he lived at this address in Cheyne walk with the sometime poet Swinburne.

Also on our route were the homes of Scott (of the Antarctic) and the composer Thomas Attwood.
Scott of Chelsea (& Antarctic)

The composer Thomas Attwood

Sloane backed the 'garden'

Here we can see the connections to King Henry and Sir Hans Sloane -Sloane was a figure behind the Chelsea Physic Garden.

A part of  a very real history that played out in West London

Red 103

Also just by Saatchi Gallery which is hosting a look back at the Rolling Stones this dramamtically red pair of lips (times two).

Amazing how the band's brand still can utilise Mick's lips - I wonder if younger listeners know the derivation.

A lifetime on the lips

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rich Pickings (2) and Red 104

Last week we had a deluge of rain while we looked around Kensington yesterday it was a Thousand degrees on the streets around Sloane Square.
Statue of Venus Fountain

Rich Pickings is a fairly loose sort of tour of bits of West London and none the worse for this looseness - the season means that the streets are perhaps a little quieter than they might be and as we get away from the main roads - the true areas are revealed and their startling history (startling in terms of there being so much of them) .

Meeting outside the underground station we took in the Square itself with a statue (Venus Fountain) listed thanks to one David Lammy MP  and the Royal Court theatre , allegedly  birthplace to the 'Kitchen Sink Drama'.

Looking behind us at the King's Road (a road built for the King to visit Nell Gwynne and other courtesans) you can see the splendour of Peter Jones still looking remarkably modern despite its dating back to the 1930s.

Peter Jones- An elegantly designed departmental store with a nice café

The area around the Duke of York barracks has been revitalised and amongst the uber-pricey boutiques and the Saatchi Gallery is a statue to the mane for whom the area is named.

A statue to Sloane himself

Further along we saw the site of the annual RHS show where the Chelsea pensioners reside and the tree lined street that leads to it.

Impressive stone masonry for the 'Pensioners'

The tree lined Royal Avenue

Further on and we saw the registry office where many famous people tied the knot (including our tour guide)

The Town Hall

Also interesting to see that the Army Museum is being revitalised (with EU funds).

New revitalised  Army Museum

As the previous tour lots of Blue Plaques to see  and more of that later!

Red 104

These truly are our ice-cream days

Red Hot for Ice Cream

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Beats and Beets (Red 105)

Yesterday it was all about the Beat - it this case mainly BEAT the Borough of Ealing art Trail.

The initiative started about a year ago and I'd say what a bunch of artists (not always known for being the most  organised tribe) have put together is truly impressive.
Another Corner -A great space and my corner in it

What they've done as a bunch of volunteers working  puts to shame certain political parties where disharmony has all but wrecked them.

Ahead of the main meeting at an Ealing church hall the 'Four Musketeers of The Orchard Café '(part of the OPEN Ealing outfit) got together to agree our areas and how we'll organise - their was a good atmosphere between us and I think we'll have fun  - if not we've got Mandie to answer to.

I've even got a screen that I can show my 'Leap Year' project to date on.

I'm planning to have a few prints and set up to take Photo's too.

Part of the collateral we were given
What I liked about the main meeting was how well presented and inclusive discussions were - there have been many other similar projects run so there's a lot of experience we can draw on.
Another Beat -Chasing Deer

It was clear also that we've had some great people involved in the production and planning - professionals providing expertise in a 'pro bona' manner.

Red 105

Keeping with the Beet.

You've heard the expression red as Beetroot - well in fact it's a purple- y red

'He went as purple as a beetroot.'