My boots and the UK economy

29 01 2010

The 3six5 project is collating daily blog entries from writers all over the world. Each day a different person gives a unique perspective on what’s happening in their own space, but within a global news context.

I was the voice of January 28th 2009…

I have a hole in my boot.
Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but this afternoon it’s been raining and I’ve had a lot to think about…
Read the rest of this entry »





Narrowboats rock!

3 12 2009


With this year’s flakey economy, and a growing alternative lifestyle movement, the appeal of boat-living seems to be on the increase.

I moved aboard over 3 years ago, at a time when i wanted more independence but within the realms of affordability. The romantic notion of heading off into the sunset, a beer in hand and a Jack Russell at the helm were also mixed up in my vision of a boating future.

This year i’ve been along the Thames, up the River Lee, down the Grand Union and across the Regent’s Canal. I’ve learnt about oil filters, engine mounts and fuel pumps. I’ve got stuck in the mud, driven over my barge pole and waded the canal in ill-fitting Wellingtons.

And with every experience and story – i’ve grown to love it even more (although there are some things i’ll just never learn to love)…

Read the rest of this entry »





Fancy Rewinding to the 80’s?

24 11 2009

Over the summer i took my narrow boat on a journey of discovery to Henley-on-Thames. Not just an idle jaunt, it was in fact to visit the 80’s Rewind Festival with a couple of friends.

I can honestly say it was one of the best festival i’ve been to – and i’ve been to Glastonbury, V, Phoenix, Isle of Wight, Secret Garden, White Air, Guildford (okay – Guildford Festival wasn’t really much competition but you get the gist)

As well as the weather being absolutely glorious and the obvious comfort of mooring my home at the edge of the site – there was also a great atmosphere, no hassles and nearly everyone made an attempt to dress in an 80’s vibe.

Read the rest of this entry »





Moonwalk Flashmob – Liverpool Street

28 06 2009

A flashmob descended upon Liverpool Street on Friday evening for a pre-arranged moonwalk, en masse. Organized through the usual social networking channels – most notably Twitter – the message was simple –

“Right. It’s on. There will be a mass moonwalk at 6pm tonight at Liverpool Street station.”

With no further information needed, I, along with a significant percentage of London’s social media savvy population, headed to the station.

Arriving with a few minutes to spare, it was enough time to suss out the best spot for documenting the event.
With a heavy police presence and an unusually high volume of ‘commuters’ (eagerly gripping their mobile phones) if you weren’t in on the plan – you definitely knew that something was different…

Tannoy messages began to address the crowd –
“If you have just arrived at the station for the Michael Jackson Moonwalk event scheduled for eighteen hundred hours, please make your way outside onto Liverpool Street outside the McDonalds where it will now be taking place.”

Confusion is placed in our minds –
“Is it a bluff?”

“Are they trying to disperse us?”

“Will it actually end up happening in here and then we’ll have gone outside and missed it?”

Argh!

Anyways. We headed for the escalator at 17:59 and 30 seconds, hoping to get a rising aerial shot of the concourse.

17:59 and 50 seconds– on the escalator – camera is on.

18:00 –
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
Nothing.

Top of the escalators and it all seems to be happening outside…

What’s happening exactly though isn’t a moonwalk – it’s people with cameras waiting to take pictures of a moonwalk. Everywhere you turn is someone looking expectantly, holding a cameraphone aloft. If they haven’t got a camera phone, they’ve got a camera, if they haven’t got a camera they’re on the phone, if they’re not with either of those – they have a video camera, and not just a little handycam – huge broadcast quality Z1s et al.

After 20 minutes, of taking pictures of people taking pictures, i’m ready to leave when suddenly a speaker system bursts into life and a man begins to speak.

After he speaks, the Michael Jackson music begins.

And…

Nobody really does anything. People take photos of… people doing nothing.

Bizarre.

It reminded me of the recent Liverpool Street ‘riots’ where a media mob descended on just one person attempting to smash in a window. Desperate for something to film, with nothing really going on.

For me the most interesting thing is the lure of this event, not for people to be involved in the actual moonwalk, but to be involved just as an observer.

Is this the death of the Flashmob? Surely the point of them is to be unexpected? A brief, bizarre interlude, in the otherwise predictable routine of someone’s day. It all becomes a bit ‘pop will eat itself’ when it’s mass-marketed and pre-publicized to the gawkers. (and maybe even a little in bad taste when you consider the reason for the gathering was someone’s death?)

I like Flashmobs – but i think they need to go back underground, maybe even on the Underground again – a la the circle line party. [Click here for the Circle Line party flashmob video]

I honestly didn’t see anyone moonwalk on that Friday evening. But I did spot a very cute dog, so i guess it was worth it…





happn.in london

24 06 2009

As this blog is about trendspotting in London, i wasn’t planning on writing about websites.  The way i figured was that websites were for the world wide web – not specifically Londoners.  I wanted to shine a light on the things physically taking place in the city, not online.

Unfortunately Twitter and its rapidly evolving usage seems to have changed that!

"A little birdie told me..."

"A little birdie told me..."

 

With the recent situation in Iran, Twitter appears to have found its role; above and beyond the feather plumping and ego fluffing in the days before.  Keeping abreast of the tweeted Trending Topics is as amusing as it is insightful, but not always totally relevant to us and what we get up to in London.

Step forward Happn.in!

 

Happy Happn.in

Happy Happn.in

 

A brilliantly simple, simply brilliant concept.  Happn.in uncovers the 10 most popular things people are tweeting about in 65 different cities and updates the list 4 times a day.

The list for London at present –

  • ugly betty
  • tennis players
  • thorpe park
  • lady gaga
  • sharapova out
  • biggest fan
  • celebrity masterchef
  • current one
  • english homework
  • espn america

What a brilliant way to feel connected to Londinium and my fellow city dwellers – genius!

Happn.in is also good for sticking your nose into other cities and getting their thoughts, my favourites being – 

  • No 5 in Dallas – housewives reunion
  • No 4 in Fresno – hate tomatoes
  • No 3 in Portland – god’s eyes
  • No 2 in Melbourne – acne cat
  • No 1 in Berlin – paris hilton