03/08/2013

I didn’t expect to be in London again but my escape from the bubble and uninformed decision on getting to America via Bermuda saw me stopping there for a week before heading west. Expected or not, I think it is inevitable that I keep returning, London just has that draw and having spent seven years there, a part of me will always want to return.

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Walking along the canal

The week was consumed in good company with both old and new friends. It started in relaxing fashion in the burbs outside the M25 where I spent time wandering along the waterways stopping off at quintessential English pubs for pints and nibbles. Courtney, the friend I was staying with even managed to get me down to a driving range, something I had not done for at least 10 years. She was surprised that I could hit a golf ball and I was surprised that I actually enjoyed it, then the beer did help. Having abused Courtney’s hospitality for long enough and in the possession of clean clothes I moved into my old flat in Richmond where I felt like I had never left and I must admit it does kind of feel like I should still be there, I guess 4 years there and I have a bit of an attachment to it.

Think I need some work on my swing?
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Richmond Bridge

On Tuesday I was fortunate enough to catch a gig by Martyr Electric, a band I have been following for a number of years from when it was just Jamie Martyr and her keyboard. This was the first time I had seen her with the band and I must say it adds a new dynamic, though it is still her haunting voice and taunting lyrics which hypnotised her audience as they enjoyed an evening under her spell.

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The guy who lead me into the crypt

Throughout London was at her summery best and I found myself wandering the streets with little cause between lunch dates and sun-downers with my Greek barefoot ways creeping in and somehow becoming a photography project which I now seem to be continuing around the world. The wandering lead me down into a crypt in saint martins fields where I discovered an art project determined to make art affordable to the public by having the public participate. The Lake Sisters sketched me my very own piece to take around the world with me, they wanted to add a pin to a map as to where it would travel too, I told them that would be impossible so they settled for a Bermuda pin then I stole a picture to add to my own project.

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Barefoot London photo project. 
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Can’t beat a summer pint

The highlight of my stay was an evening on the Tamesis Dock, one of my favourite spots in London which introduced to me in love and has created and captured countless memories of all varieties. The evening faded too quickly along with the heat of the sun so we went to find heat of a different kind at Hot Stuff, which used to be a London gem. A tiny one room Indian restaurant with more tables outside than inside and no menu to speak of, hidden in the back streets of Vauxhall. Unfortunately it seems as if its popularity will be its demise as it has now grown into a fully fledged restaurant with plush seating in a new space more than double the size of the original all that remains from the old is the bring your own booze policy. The night was completed by a core contingent at an old pub with some fine Scotch. I must thank all those who made it a fabulous evening.

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View from The Tamesis Dock
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Andy Lewis

 The week culminated in typical London fashion with a gig by Andy Lewis, who I had met out in Vassiliki, at the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square. Andy was on at 8pm and gave us a soulful set of his own work and interpretations of more familiar songs. After Andy left the stage Craig and I decided to stay seated and enjoy our whiskey, to our surprise we were presented with the Boom Bang Circus Extravaganza, which illuminated the reason for us not paying for our front row table when the compère started systematically taking the mick out of each unsuspecting audience member. To avoid the embarrassment of a bearded man in a blue dress rubbing a feather boa around our necks we made haste and started our own tour of the hidden bars around Covent Garden only to find ourselves back at the casino at some ungodly hour which more than likely contributed to the first of my Bermuda experiences.

Leaving London this time felt more final than the last times, the goodbyes were longer and the destinations more distant. I am uncertain as to when I will be back and with the friends that remain there all getting on with their lives, some moving afar as well, I wonder what and who will be there if I decide to return?

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The morning after the night before