Journalism, London, Travel

No Man is an Island

I’ll really have to start making an effort if I want to be Lonley.  This is the city to pass through.  Yesterday I met up with Chris Courtney and his wife Karen (Chicago RedEye design kinds).  We had a great dinner at The Troubadour restaurant.  I really enjoy taking people there because it’s a nice way to see my neighborhood, do something ‘novelty’ like, and break away from the tourism insanity that London sometimes brings. I hope they enjoy London, it was nice to meet up for what turned out to be a 4 hour dinner!
The reason the Troubador is a novelty, besides the delicious food and cool atmosphere is all the big names who have played on their stage. Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon to name a few.

This was the beginning of my constant flow of visitors.  I’m prepping for Peter this weekend, a fancy design-types dinner next Monday, and next weekend Annamarie and Alec (who’s been backpacking since Berlin).  Anyway today, Alec departed for Dublin, but neither of us knew he had a stop over in London.

Till this morning, when I receive a wall posting that says, “hey you, im in london” and simply just that. WHAT?
We got in communication eventually and he made it over to my office.  We shared a cute lunch at the new veggie cafe across the street inside the Church/Garden Museum.  Alec sported his new hot orange Birkenstocks and me in my 15 denier tights that keep ripping!

Anyway, the tales of familiar faces will only continue! It really brightened my day.

Still homeless for this summer, anyone know a vacant apartment in Indy? please.  Or a cheap way to get out of writing papers. I’ll take either.

London, Music, Travel

Air @ the Forum, 17 March 2007

“Oh, didn’t Air do that one song in the 90s?… Sexy Boy “

Yes. Any many-a-other song since. I saw Air last night in Kentish Town. Besides the obvious that they were excellent I’ll tell you more. I had no idea what they would be like live. Especially considering their special guest opener put encouraged everyone to talk or sleep after about 2 songs. Point being, the possibility of an Air-like soothing lovely but quiet show became a real possibility.

Good light technicians

Silly me, Air was not a 20quid naptime. Of course they played songs from Pocket Symphony but it’s always nice to hear the classics. Nicolas Godin has a really cute French sense of humor. Before Kelly Watch the Stars, he got distracted by the voice distorter and saying little nerdy things instead. And his broken English reminded us, “I like when you shout!”

Some of the songs, but not all by any means were instrumental. And don’t you worry, their encore ended with Sexy Boy.

Even though I went by myself, I made friends with two girls here from Australia. They live about 2 hr from where Rossy is studying! When I told them the tale of how I ended up there solo, they said to me, “It’s like going to the movies alone!” That’s a little joke for you if you read my blog. They’ve been going to so many shows, I’m a little bits jealous. But we both realised and agreed… London is weirdly behind on the music scene.

Journalism, London

Swanky

This week I’ve been working more with epolitix.com. They had a climate change symposium and invited me along to watch the debate and questioning. I left with one of the people in the office but got caught in massive traffic. Protesters were voicing themselves in Parliament square about the nuclear trident agreement. Greenpeace also hung a banner that read Tony <3 WMD. There were some protesters who were laying on the street with their arms cemented in barrels.

Anyway, this made us terribly late, but we arrived just in time for the discussion, but missed the amazing food. It was really interesting, and particularly good because it was in the genuine interest of people in the audience. I later learned it cost a hefty pound to attend this event.

When the symposium ended, my coworker and I found out that they saved all the lunch food warm for us. We feasted and she mentioned to me that we were inside The Commonwealth Club. Apparently it’s a member’s club that costs 2000 pounds a year to be a member. Wowzer. Anyaway, we split a cab back and I ended up getting out of work early. Sweet.

Music, Travel

Berlin!!

Achtung! I had a wonderful time visiting La Cantina in Berlin from March 9-11. I arrived to the airport a million miles away from the city and took a train to the Zoo train stop where we were supposed to be meeting. Well, I guess there was a mis-com because I later learned they were already there and didn’t find me. After magically communicating I needed a phone card (and a nice woman who helped me use it), and 4 phone calls I got in touch with Thom and hopped two trains to his host family’s place.

Just outside the station and Thom and Alec were sitting and waiting happily. They greeted me with a German beer at noon. We all know I don’t like beer, but it was kind of perfect. I checked out his host family’s place which was SO cute and wonderful, then we got the best roast chicken from a stand outside

chicken.jpg

Then Thom took us on a walking tour of the city. It was perfect and good to just have a chill evening and see Berlin. It’s really interesting how creatively they do their monuments. It’s weird too because Berlin is a new old city since so much had to be rebuilt. It will be interesting to see it grow in the next 20 years.

alec.jpg thom.jpg
arch.jpg

I begged for a traditional German dinner around Alexazanderplatz and was reminded and pleased with small European portions. We cleaned up real nice and got swankyed up and hit up a cool German club in the Sharp building. I guess after the war old movie theaters and warehouses adied the clubbing boom there.

Our night ended at 5 and started up at 11 when we hoped to find Drew and then Kristin at the airport. With success by a hair we made it back to Thom’s host sisters place in E. Berlin where we stayed. After much needed showers and naps we had really delicious Indian (a little germanized) dinner with Thom’s host sister Judith and her friend. On the way to dinner there were Punks rallying in support of other Punks in Copehagen.  Gotta love E. Berlin!! We were hoping to get into a pretty elite club, Panorama Bar to see the Junior Boys, but in short… Nein. Tatoo faced bouncer surprisingly said no to my cute face, just kidding.

Still a good night because I had my first taste of Donner, a turkish pita/meat snack thing. Can you tell I barely eat in London, EVERYTHING was the best food I ever had. Of course, how would I see these boys without me jumping and snuggling all over them before bed. The three of them were cramped on a pullout couch and Kristin and I scored the huge cozy bed. But, it was nice to be tucked in by my boys.

Another night ending at 5 and starting at 11 led us to pick up Paul from the airport. I insisted on a second Doner before Pauly could even get back to the apartment. So good.
doner.jpg

With only a few hours before I left we got to check out some cool Markts (markets) and I had amazing Blood Orange juice, warm wine with chestnuts, and a cheese and green onion crepe.

Berlin, like Barcelona, had really awesome graffitti everywhere. There’s no doubt that styles were different. But art for arts sake, or taking almost any opportunity to be creative is something I will miss when I leave Europe and the UK. Look, my friends are hipsters, hahaaha:
hipster.jpg

Thom, Alec and Drew took their little Pinta to the train station-bahn-platz-strass-haus and saw me off. It’s always so hard to leave these boys, they’re so good to me. I’m also glad I knew they were amazing far before I ever left them. I hope they have a good week in Berlin, I’m looking forward to showing Alec around London in a few weekends when Annamarie is here.

I am thrilled that I got a relatively cheap flight, but RyanAir is killer. They make it worth it no doubt.

Journalism, London, Travel

Week Wrap

Last weekend Ashley and her roomie came to visit. They spent the week in Paris and this weekend they were with their other friend. I was so happy to be their Ambassador to such a fabulous city. The first night we went to the Tower of London at night, it was so beautiful. Believe it or not I haven’t been there. Our evening finished off in the Liverpool area meeting up with Mad’s friend Nick. Oh, and huge cheap English portions will lead to what we call PH…the Potato haze.

They were pretty pooped from their flight so we spent the night quietly. The next day we woke up cozily late and planned to hit a lot of sights. We started at the crowded touristy Portabello Market. It was cute but I just couldn’t wait to get them to Camden Town. Of course, got sucked in for the rest of the evening. We all had very successful shopping and eating adventures, and I might have gotten talked into buying the cutest skirt possible. VERY London. I think this was very much our scene, and Ashley even got the Motorhead tshirt she promised Ted! I feel as though I should mention, Madeline spent the weekend teaching Ashley Jibberish!Ashley took about a million model shots of Mad at Portabello. She lets her.

In the evening we met up with her friend George and tried to celebrate Nick’s birthday. The night ended better with a trip to O’Neils. We split from George and beat the rain. Perfection.

The next morning we pretty much woke up late and had a delicious brunch at The Troubador. Also, imi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon all played there in 60s. Did I mention it’s about 2 blocks away from my flat? Yeah.  We then went to Harrod’s.  They were able to get nice gifts for their family and we checked out the fantastic Guitar exhibition.  There were lots of famous electric guitars and it featured the first electric guitar ever.  They departed for Paris the next day and things got hectic this weekend and we didn’t get to meet up.  But it was so much fun having them here!!  Glad you came :)
Today I went to see some family.  All of us had a pretty exhausting weekend and were kind of zombie like, but it was still really nice to go.  It was good to see them, it’s been a long time and just being in a home was very cozy.  I love their kiddies too, so cute.  My one neice who’s 6 showed me how she plays the piano and her cool sticker collection.  Oh, I just love it.

I hit up the British Library for about an hour.  I spent most of the time in this number 1 charts exhibition.  You could listen to any song from any album that hit #1 in the charts between the present and 1960something.  I just sat and listened to lots of music.  It was so cleansing.  I loved it.

Design, Journalism, London, Travel

The Guardian!

“You sort of got to go whole heartedly. If you go half, there’s no real change.”

I am thankful again to be in London. Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure to have lunch with Mark Leeds at The Guardian. Across the street from the newsroom, over lunch we talked about the changing role newspaper design has. As the special projects director, I’m sure he’s quite busy, but he seemed happy to help me with my research assignment.

We had met at SND Orlando in the elevator on the way to the Banquet. After Florida, we corresponded a few times, and well, here I am! It was very interesting to learn what the philosophies are behind such a massive and reader-considerate publication are. And of course, though it goes without saying, just Brilliant. I’ll save you the gush and share some photos:

The Guardian How do you percieve

I found this down the street.  The essentials:
The basic necessities

Journalism, London, Travel

Tony Blair, Foreign Press Association, Political Scandal and ME!

I just came back from the Foreign Press Association’s morning briefing in Downing Street. It was led Tony Blair’s official spokesperson, Tom Kelly. I was brought along by a colleague at the internship I am doing while in London. And Yes, BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson (and probably more journalist/celebs than I even knew) were in the same cozy room of no more than 20 people.

Blair already announced he will step down, which is a first for British Politics. Since they don’t go up for re-elections so it’s interesting to compare Blair and Bush while at the end of a term. Not to mention the Metropolitan police are questioning the Prime Minister. I was warned that sometimes the FPA briefings can be dull, boring, and sometimes very quick. But lucky for me I was at the same meeting that all the political reporters needed to be at! By the time we walked back to the office, the story was already online.

From our news website, epolitix.com:
Police question Blair for second time. Tony Blair was questioned by police as a witness for a second time last week. His official spokesman said the prime minister was interviewed in connection with the ‘cash-for-honours’ row, but not under caution.

London, Music

Going to the movies alone

One of the most exciting parts about coming to London was for the music. Unfortunately, I haven’t met too many people who listen to the same stuff as me. I used to always say that I would kill to go see Massive Attack or Four Tet, but they never play in the States. Frustrated that I would be missing their shows, I decided I’m not going to.

A pretty cool co-worker of mine who’s been in London for 10 years (from Seattle), gave me the final push. So, I bought a (really cheap!) ticket to see Four Tet and Steve Reid at the end of March. Theres a mild possibleyeity that some I may not have to go it alone, but doubtful.

During the past half month, I’ve been whining “this is not why I’m here.” So, that’s the end of it. I will do things that I want to do while I’m here. I’m sorry I waited so long and never bought Air tickets, now I know.  I’m sorry that it seems to be the first time in forever that Massive Attack isn’t performing (minus a benefit concert that was sold out immediately, and well before I left for England).
Also, I have really wonderful coworkers who really want me to get something out of my internship. I’m already writing an article because someone insisted I get my name published in the Magazine. It’s a 500 word piece about the health of Britishers in North East England. Hey, it’s a start. I’m getting a push from another side to interview an MP. Eek, I don’t know if I’m ready for that yet. He assured me that I’ve got 3 months yet. Weird.

HCId, London

Of course there’s a Facebook group

I can’t imagine how different the world was 10 years ago. Studying abroad would be a completely different experience. I would be living and working in London without email, a cell phone, or even this blog. My travel agent would not be available in my apartment at 3 a.m. Postcards would serve more than novelty and who knows what kind of international news I would be reading. And of course… the social network.

HCId, London

Why travel when Google Earth will take me everywhere?

I mapped up my apartment, office, and University on Google Earth. I even found a nifty feature that marks all the underground tube stations. This is out of control. I’ve been doing research on technology, news, and the future for a class. I believe GoogleEarth will be part of the framework for a info-social-network-sharing-hub.
Nonetheless, I went on a pushpin binge and found marked branches of my bank, the US embassy, and so on. In my mapping haze, I found some home away from home comfort: 6 of my friends will be in Europe next semester, I’m friends with 2 IU kids in my program, and Ashley Dinges is booking a flight during her spring break. If you’re looking for a party in spring.. it’s across the Atlantic! 45 days and counting…