London. Snippets.

Crappy mobile. Crappy pictures. Few good angles, though, I hope.

Taken in December 2014.

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A special thank to this man, the only one who always sings my name to speak to me. And also the same ONE who does not read my blog…

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Anselm Kiefer. Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London

I came full of expectations, got stroked by the sacred Art itself, and left in a glass case of emotions.

Photo courtesy Royal Academy of Arts. Photography: James Harris / © Anselm Kiefer.

Photo courtesy Royal Academy of Arts. Photography: James Harris / © Anselm Kiefer.

By the time I steamed my enthusiasm off I started wondering what the hell happened to me in there. Then I started feeling a little slice of disappointment running into my veins, from the heart to the brain. Let’s proceed one step at a time.

The solo exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts, wonderfully organised, gave me lots of great moments, such it’s poignant. 12 rooms in total, from the early works to special installations made for the Academy, an actual path to explore Kiefer the artist in a fluid flux along the building, majestic feature and background.

In the Hall. © Anselm Kiefer

Hall. © Anselm Kiefer

The official website states:

“Kiefer’s extraordinary body of work includes painting, sculpture and quite simply monumental installations. Uncompromising in the subject matter he tackles, Kiefer’s work powerfully captures the human experience and draws on history, mythology, literature, philosophy and science.”

I loved the composition in the rooms, the visitors were flooding in every possible spot, yet the dynamics between artworks and people was perfect. I also loved having the chance to check out the early works.

© Anselm Kiefer

Early work © Anselm Kiefer

I guess it is about time to explain why I love so much Kiefer. As I already wrote, the term “poignant” could be the only meaningful explanation. To be more talkative (it’s a blog, for Lord’s sake!) Kiefer is a post-war German artist that worked on crucial themes such as history, religion, mythology and  more. A mix of anthropology, ethnology, and more. I could keep writing stuff and ass “and more” and it would not still been enough. Kiefer is the kind of artist that never stops going a bit further with investigating the human being, its actions, its spiritual side. On a personal level his relationship  God-Man is also vastly investigated, as visitors can see in his works with sunflowers and the ones with diamonds.

The use of materials is also an important part of Kiefer’s production. Wood: his childhood; Seeds: religion and life; Stones and Steel: history. And more. Everything seems to have a meaning and this aspect is sometimes endearing, sometimes overwhelming.

© Anselm Kiefer Anselm I am sorry I took some pics, it was prohibited and I learnt it only after been told off by guards

© Anselm Kiefer
Anselm I am sorry I took some pics, it was prohibited and I learnt it only after been told off by guards!

Now, what I realised I didn’t like about the exhibition, that little disappointment was the fact that 2 big topics were missing: the holocaust and more about the Bible, like the Genesis. Also the books and memory topic could have exponentially improved.

I remember a young myself visiting White Cube London some years ago, and falling in love with Palm Sunday and Aperiatur Terra by Kiefer. Oh my days, that exhibit has still a hold on me. It was everything. And more.

I didn’t see anything of those topics, and my little heart cried a little, I must admit.

© Anselm Kiefer Courtyard

Courtyard © Anselm Kiefer 

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Courtyard © Anselm Kiefer

Anyway, I have to wrap this blog post I am writing on a Saturday evening in a nice pub of Clapham Old Town, so I am going to invite everybody in London to go visit the Royal Academy of Arts in Central London and pay the ticket for a Kiefer experience. It’s worthy. And more.

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LAST WEEK TO SEE KIEFER AT RA! (it ends on Dec 14th!)  https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/anselm-kiefer

October: Cambridgeshire

To come home from a theatre after watching a pleasant romantic comedy and have the urge to put some thoughts down on paper, that may occur, but not so often.
Tonight it’s happening and so here I am, writing my October trip, mixing the feelings about it.
On one side, there is a sad story to tell; on the other one, there is love. The intense full-fitting one.
During the past month my life was put in an eternal soaking mode, like inside a huge washing machine. I kept turning and turning in vain, while watching the world from the viewing panel. That bloody machine was stuck in a cycle, when all I wanted was a rinsing and a bit of sun to dry up and feel the warm again on my skin.
I eventually had the chance to get out of it, but that meant to leave London, at least for a while. This is where the sad story ends, and the most compelling one begins.
I packed everything, hugged my friend, said goodbye and got on a train. Everything in the goofiest and less romantic idea you have in mind, since I was carrying something like 40 Kgs (or if you better prefer to think as a British 88.18342151675485 pounds – British is nothing but rational, right? Beg you pardon, you disagree? Would you enjoy someone to measure you with his (probably dirty) thumb, arm and foot? Yeah, neither do I).
From the big city to a village, passing by the countryside: sweet hills and brown ground, trees delimiting enclosures. From time to time, animals eating tons of green grass.
Destination? Cambridgeshire.

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There are many things I like in that specific village in the Cambridgeshire: I like the fact that there is somebody’s grandma not far away from where you are; I like the fact that at the center you find the intersection of the two main streets, both guiding you to the main cities at their end and one of four is always Cambridge, another one London; I like kids going home by foot and bikes, even if here they are absolutely less noisy than I remember I was (apologies, I was, erm, just “full of life” maybe? And easily appealed by screaming too).
Visually, the center is made by the church with cemetery, supermarket and shop. Then what? Nothing much, some other shops, hairdressers and few pubs.

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Then little cute houses, pretty gardens, cars parked outside, the school and in two minutes countryside.

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In few days there I became a great fan of walking from the school park to the railway: I met so many smiling people there, with dogs or without, that helped me to remind there are still people out there not afraid to say hi to a stranger. Faith in each others, one thing that you forget if you are a town girl in a big city.

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It is sometimes just a matter of places, other times of people. In this case it’s a fair combination between the two: I stayed in a house where I felt the sense of family that I’ve been quite missing lately: ball in the garden to play, a cuckoo clock at the entrance, family portraits, fresh bread, kettle ready, tv on. Details are little, reassuring part of living in a village, where houses are small temples of affection.

An old song says:

“But a room is not a house
and a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart
and one of us has a broken heart”

(A house is not a home, B. Bacharach and Hal David)

Now, how can I write about a broken heart? There are no words. I simply can’t. What I can do is to write about that heart itself. It has witnessed love and hope, before experiencing the biggest sorrow.
You must be kinda lucky to find and mostly hold love as much as possible in your life. But I was lucky enough to spend time in a home that showed me love, the really full-fitting, long-term one, even if now rooms are pretty empty and hearts are really heavy to carry along. But I saw love and dedication and support in every detail of those four walls, maybe now in a bit more silent way.

I really hope silence won’t win this struggle.

Still, even in the middle of a silent broken heart transition, I did felt the love, and it was warm and bright, despite the dull British weather outside. Cheers.

P.S. Apologies, all the pictures this time were taken with my mobile, the low quality on screen disappoints.

September: Bristol

Why on Earth has nobody ever told me that Bristol is a lovely city?
Actually, more than lovely, the epitaph I created after this September trip was: “Bristol is a very beautiful and, despite being on English soil, happy city.”
Well, after some weeks in London, a bit discouraged by the events not turning into luck, I chose a ‘tropical’ destination for a cheap 1 day holiday to clean my mind and find new motivations.
Well, that road trip really made the difference!
The past few days before leaving had been a bit colder and grey than usual, I was about to put my grumpy mode on, complaining that Fall was coming soon and it was not fair Summer was always too short and bla bla bla. Never been so wrong.

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Early bus, cappuccino to go on a hand and mobile with reservation on the other one (yes, I try to do my best entrance every time I approach a ticket inspector or driver, I just can’t help it, imagine with a smartphone now, so modern and posh) I spend the trip listening to boosting-up music (I admit I put on loop Jay-Z’s Encore for a good half an hour, no clue why) taking some pictures of the countryside in the best harvesting time, fantasising about my childhood, where one of big challenge was to climb those huge good smelling bales with friends, and to do it in the quickest time possible.
The ride was really short, and I particularly enjoyed passing by Staines, I mean Staines, wow, huge metropolis where the great, greatest Ali G. was born and raised and shone and basically rulez my heart. If you don’t know who Ali G is, change page immediately. I mean it.
Well, a bit of introduction about the trip; I personally know a bit England, been in many places but never South-Westbound; back to August, London was proudly hosting the Olympics and the city was a fervent place to be, full of collateral interesting exhibitions and activities to take part. From one of this I got to know about a buzzing street art festival in Bristol, and took the gamble to go and watch out in person. So glad now!

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Basically, the festival was hosted in one of the central street of the city, very close to the pedestrian shopping area, Nelson St., where the not very flattering buildings along this street, that happen being the way to get to the harbour, turned mainly grey by the time, were re-living again thanks to the passion, phantasy and genius street artist from all around the world put to re-qualify the area. Mission accomplished!

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Nelson Street now glows of light and energy, everything matching with the surrounds and the place was full of youngsters and street art lovers, really please to have been there.
You might wonder, why do they do a street art festival in Bristol? Easy peasy. A guy called Banksy is from there. Never heard of him? Well, time to change blog again, sorry mate.
1 + 1  makes two, so I walked along the city to find his previous works, and I was kinda playing hiding and seeks with him, while enjoying the city center.

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I liked many things in Bristol: the area along the river is brand new and well renewed, quiet but also vibrant, with bar boats and the walking path; the bars and restaurants offer at an affordable price the possibility to enjoy a meal outside, much appreciated; I saw coloured houses, a delicate difference from all the brick-over-brick mental idea I’ve made of England; street art is everywhere and loved; it’s  student city, and you can feel it, and this give a plus to everything because it generally means more open-minded people. And more bikes. Or boats.

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It might have been because it was sunny all day long, but I give a huge 10 to this trip, that really helped me finding new convictions and strenght to go on pursuing my dreams to move to England on a more long-term basis.
It’s like when you feel down, and your head spins and spins and you struggle to find a new point of stability: I think on this occasion the best thing to do is to stop looking for it, have a break and breathe a different air, even if for just one day.
Bristol was my fresh air, after that I felt ready to go back and fight. The result in October…

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August: North London

August was the life-changing month of the year. Maybe? Errr..Maybe.
The reality sometimes is blurry, even when you put on focus with your best intent.

What an awful overrated way to start this blog. Apologies. I can do better, yes I can.

August was the month I changed the travelling I speak in this blog in a moving…terrific! It’s like travelling to the power of three. Mathematical!
Well I jumped and dove into an occasion: destination London! Real destination: North London, suburb of the suburb, pretty much ex-Middlesex now silly Greater London ( to be honest, what’s not Greater London?)…I moved there, on temporary basis to chase some dreams.

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N13 on my mind

Travelling with a baggage of expectations and hopes is both exciting and scary. It’s the moment of your life when you pack the necessary (that happens it’s never enough), you leave a place you love and hate at the same time and you start a new daily routine, cancelling every aspect can be slightly tourist in a new environment (like spending money easily).
Have you ever chased a dream? Is your dream to have an adventure or more to find a new normality to build again your soul on? For me, it’s more the second one: please call me outdated but I find more compelling to use every possible way to be happy, and stability, even for only some months is kinda happiness. I hate the fact you have to settle down in a place that is no more so inspiring for you to progress and improve. I like watching outside the window and see possibilities more than the actual weather. So travelling, in my opinion, is to look for new stability and chances. 

I moved from Germany to UK, and the change is funny and and at the same time a bit shocking: the high cost of life, the crazy way to drive on (my copyright) the wrong side of the road, kebab replaced by fried chicken and many others. I am very blessed to be really adaptable and loved aspects from both sides, but I must admit I love that here everybody is nice and educated, not for nature but convention. Let’s state the fact that customer service is really a customer-oriented service. D’oh! Germany please update yourself on that direction and put a smile upon your face, for all our sakes.

London is a city I know pretty well, so during this time I didn’t spend so much crazy tourist activity, reducing it to go some place I like, and mostly living the joy of suburb.
One is to walk along the neighbourhood and see one father teaching the son how to ride the bike. Or the famous London taxi parked outside “off-duty”.

What an adorable couple!

Or teenagers on a wall drinking and arguing about reality shows ( how many reality shows are there? Jeebus!), playing a bit of rapper gansta but looking absolutely cute and harmless.
One thing that really impresses me about UK is the clouds: they are changing so fast and look so light but at the same time strong and independent, blowing where they want. I put down in words what I’ve always thought from the first time I came to this land: clouds move to tears if you look deep at them.

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How many feelings can you count while watching this picture?

When I get bored of suburb I get the first train and go get spoilt in some museums. God save British free museums, indeed. Inspiration can start everywhere, here it’s even easier.

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British Museum

Parks also here are absolutely stunning and overcrowded by ducks, geese. You can always find nice people to have a chat with and during weekends it’s full of people and family.

It’s reassuring that wherever I go, there’s a park I will feel home and in peace.

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ImageBroomfield Park

June: London

There are trips you lovely organize, with your mental must-do list. Otherwise there are trips you are excited about, because what you decide is just the destination, and the rest is discover.
But travelling has lots of shades, and this could be one of that. In June, after a massive stormy month and an incredible lack of money (irrelevant), I took a short intense break where in 2 day I managed to assist a great rock concert: yes, here I am again, chasing a dream of pure fun stationed behind a microphone.
When you root for a passion, you feel so good when you actually put your interest in activity and go to the front line: if you support a team, you must be at the stadium once in awhile, if you believe in God, you feel the need to assist at a ceremony, and if you love music, so music is your religion, that guides you to a live gig.
Music is a urge, is your natural vitamin you take without skipping any day. And what’s best to show your love with other sweaty followers. If you are into music, a concert is like making love; the more you do it, the more you like it, the more you want to do and like it. Cheeky, I know. But it’s the truth, unless you’re apathetic or completely ignorant about music (if you’re listed there, I am so sorry for you).
Let’s condensate the trip in numbers: 8 hours travelling and 5 at the airport, 1 train -1 car -1 bus-2 flights taken, 1 village and 1 city, 2 bottles of wine, 2 tickets, 1 gig.
And what an enjoyable gig, friends.
And what a nail-biting city, London.
Camden gives you the right atmosphere to celebrate during a rainy Summer evening: it’s like enjoying music with a bunch of rock legends on your shoulders, bargain.
I was in London for less than a day and I had frankly a blast.

Side effects? Feeling utterly shattered the next days. I said to my companion “I am sorry, I can’t do this anymore”. But what if I may?

ImageSorry, I was camera-free during those days, I stole this picture without saying it.

Bad girl, like in the best rock traditions.