Tag Archives: london
My yearly ritual of posting twelve songs that have either defined or been the soundtrack to moments that have made my year has come around again. I have put some up with links to blog posts that are the reason they are up there so have a click on those underlined.
Thank you all for being such smashing readers, heres to another year of this!
Without further a do, here goes….
Had this in my head the whole time I was in Paris. Now it reminds me of my brief but brilliant trip to that wonderful city.
2. James Blake – Case of You
A Joni Mitchell cover that out of all of these songs I urge you to listen to as its quite simply beautiful. Reminds me of reading my book on Hampstead Heath in the bitter cold.
It still hurts to think about that run!
Listening to Tibetan music makes sure I never forget where my heart truly lies, back in India.
This was very much the soundtrack to choosing and preparing photographs for my first exhibition.
The official song for the BBC coverage of our Olympics.
7. Karima Francis - Wherever I go
A stunningly warm and emotive voice, saw her live at a music festival this summer. Well worth a listen!
Reminds me of the stupid amounts of train journeys I have taken this year!
Possibly the most cheerful song in the world! Never has failed to caffeinate my spirits.
A song that has kept me warm on many a long photography walk.
A song that has been on a constant loop on many occasions. I love it not only because it has coffee in the title but how it reminds me how lucky I am.
It’s my guilty pleasure and one that goes great with a huge cup of coffee.
When it rains I love nothing more than being in a warm coffee shop with a blistering hot cup in hand and a look of absolute smugness as I watch people dash from A to B with newspaper hats and unfurling umbrellas.
You imagine their lives and the thoughts flooding their head as the rain floods their shoes. As I am sat in a London coffee shop I can guess that most of their thoughts include, “Get out my way I am far more important than you”. Nonetheless, I thought I would share with you all a bit of prose to describe the truest of guilty pleasures; people watching.
I watch as the rain creates a distorted view outside, life altered while the heavens are open. Roads turn to rivers, people turn to snails leaving trails of water as the trudge through my -now filling- coffee shop and smiling people collecting money groan under the weight of their buckets filling with water instead of funds.
My bitter coffee slides effortlessly down my throat as a sprinting commuter slides on a greased paving slap, pulling off a perfect dismount from his self-respect. I smile wryly while the heat of my cup starts to penetrate my gloves, the warmth clearly preparing me for the heat of hell for this oh so guilty pleasure.
The legions of black suits and grey faces, bustle past one another regarding the weather with nonchalant distain. Eyes down they wade through their colleagues, a power-walking competition played out at every tube station. Black cab doors fly open as people flee the deluge and mark the cost down as a necessary expense.
But there are some, the unsuited civilians, who caffeinate my imagination better then the coffee flowing through my bloodstream could ever do.
A couple pass hands clasp tightly, white knuckled, perhaps she is holding on for fear of letting go or, more likely, for the simple enjoyment of hurting the one she loves.
Two strangers share a lighter as they cower from the storm under a shop’s awning. A short sentence and a nod and they become strangers again, stood together.
A soaked man bimbles past. He walks with a swagger and a smile, all the while his clothes are becoming more water than material. Is he happy or crazy? It’s a fine line…
The rain has eased and my coffee drained. I gather my things and become a character in someone else’s window gazing. I wonder what they might think of me as my umbrella turns inside out.
I, like everyone else in Britain, am suffering from a break-up. We had a long, beautiful summer together the Olympics and us; we laughed, we cried and more than once we begged her not to leave. We felt like a better people with the Olympics by our side.
But now she has left us for a more exotic country. Apparently she moves on a lot.
Before she arrived it was safe to say we all had our doubts, safety being the main one. The day after we were bestowed the vast victory of securing the games, London was changed. Timetabled and quiet London was left scarred and scared following those acts of evil that cracked London’s veins. A question swarmed around our silent lands after 7/7: “who are we now?”. The Olympics has helped many people get over that day, especially Martine Wright.
Wright was running late on the morning of 7 July because she had stayed out the previous night with marketing colleagues celebrating the Olympic win. Her journey that day caused her to lose not only both legs and 80% of her blood but, her life as she knew it when Shehzad Tanweer’s suicide bomb detonated 3ft from her on a Circle line tube train at Aldgate. She competed in the Paralympic GB team from volleyball and, despite not winning any medals, she did something so much greater; she showed that we as a nation can not be terrorised.
I was lucky enough to get tickets to two events (one in the Paralympics and the other the Olympics) as well as a ticket to wander around the Olympic park. I can’t put into writing all that I felt and all that I still feel for those fleeting weeks. I’ve tried for so long and failed every time in every sentence.
One thing I will say is that it has re-instilled British pride.
We have a swagger about us now, so many doubters now left dumbstruck. We were told we could not match the money explosion that was Beijing. We didn’t match it, we conquered it. We showed ourselves as a proud nation, a funny nation, a successful nation and a nation with great heart.
Our Prime Minister once called our country ‘Broken Britain’ and the Olympics went a great way to glue it back again. It was perhaps a remedy rather than a cure though, for our nation divided. Our flag, the Union Flag, flew for exactly that; union. While the united elation was strong then, in the eye of the storm, even now it starts to weaken. The question that fills me with trepidation is: how do we keep this feeling rolling? You can only ride a wave for so long before it comes crashing against the shore of everyday life.
We were separate people from countries worlds apart. Yet we hugged and cheered together, strangers embracing strangers for another stranger whose name we will soon forget.
So she has moved on and we are left with photos of us together; they adorn our mantlepieces as a reminder of our summer love. Though she may be gone we will always have London.
To me the cauldron symbolised the Olympic spirit and all that is good about the world.
The cauldron consisted of 204 copper petals, each representing one of the competing nations. They were brought into the stadium by each team as part of the athletes’ procession and each was taken back home by the countries. A piece of London in every country. Why it showed what London was all about was because it wasn’t all about the pomp and show of us Brits but how each country was key to the wonder of the games.
This is my last photograph from the games but I will do a wordy post soon. So for now enjoy…
So the curtain has finally closed on London 2012 but fear not!
All this week I will be showing all you lovely people photographs from my Olympics (I didn’t compete but you know what I mean!). I will end the week with a blog post that has been many months in the making about what the whole Olympics has meant to me.
The first photograph is of the Olympic torch. It was the instrument that sparked (hardy ha ha) the British publics unequal-able enthusiasm for the Olympics. We came out in the wind, rain, hail and on the rare occasions sunshine to wave at celebrities and strangers alike. We cheered not because they had a fire ball on a stick in their hands but because they were symbolising us, the brilliant British.
But I’ll save the rest of my words for the end of the week and without further a do……. Let the games begin!
Here is a glimpse into my blog post that I will be posting early September (put it in your diaries now) after I have been to my last Olympic event. How could a blogger from the UK, who loves sports not write about our Olympics!
Until then I will be running a series on the street art of Paris so please make sure you have subscribed so you don’t miss out on a single one!