A Space Invader Afternoon in London

The other weekend I went on a reccy round Soho to find a few Space Invaders I’d not seen. Oh, and to check out the new tyres on my bike as well. It’s amazing how easy a bike is to ride with new, fully inflated tyres, especially when central London is nice and quiet.

You can see the full set of photos from that day here, a total of 14 invaders – unfortunately six of which were already destroyed – another lesson to get out and about and see any invasions in your neighbourhood before its too late.

In related news, Invader has a newsletter out right now, which mentions some new prints at Pictures on Walls in July, and a new, official invasion in San Diego and a full ‘Invader Walk’. Check out the trailer here.

Glasto at 40

The 40th Glasto – sun & colours. (More Photos Here)

I’m finding it hard to remember when I first went to Glastonbury, the grand-daddy of all British summer festivals and arguably one of the best music festivals in the world. Perhaps is was when I was at University. It was definitely in the 90s, which by all accounts means I must have been in my teens (coff). The special mix of hippy travellers, being able to camp in the festival grounds and world class bands made it something special. A 24 hour cornucopia of sights and sounds and chai tea, amongst other things. That first year we had weather that could only be described as ‘traditional English summer’ – a mix of occasional sun, showers and chilly damp evenings. None of that dampened my enthusiasm, and Glastonbury found its way into my heart.

The years that followed always seemed incomplete when I didn’t manage to make it to Glasto, the affectionate shortening of its full ‘Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts’ title. Even after the first year of torrential rain and mud floods, a year that the organisers were woefully unprepared for as were the festival goers, Glasto’s siren call would be there. “Come. See strange and wonderful things. Listen to many great and random bands. Spend a few days in a tent trying to sleep next to thousands of other people making noises like sheep”. There are many memories. Laughing in the mud. Sitting by our campfire in the green fields watching people climb over the increasingly high metal fence, or even pushing it over to cheers from the whole campsite. Watching the sun set and then rise again over the stone circle. Roasting in a tent from 8am in the morning as the mid-summer sun hits the site. Circus performers on stilts. Mulled cider from a big red bus. The toilets, ah the toilets…

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Hotel Reviews from Korea & Japan

Yes, yes. I know I’m ridiculously behind on getting photos up from our Korea & Japan trip. In the meanwhile though ‘our’ official reviews of hotels from that trip have been published. So for your pleasure, explore the delights of the W Seoul Walkerhill, Four Seasons Tokyo Marunouchi and, my favourite, the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Mmm… you want to go to there.

Space Invader in Action in London

Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a tad bit obsessed about Parisian street artist Invader. In fact this very afternoon was spent cycling round Soho updating my map of London invasions. Sad? Me? Anyways, in carrying out a bit more research I came across this video of Invader in action on the streets of London, cementing his 116th London invader to a wall. Hopefully I can get to it before some numpty takes it down.

Keep up the good work, Monsieur l’Invader!

Update: Here’s a picture of the invader.

Korea & Japan

(Not) Geishas in Kyoto

At the end of April this year we were lucky enough to head to Korea & Japan for two weeks. This was our first trip to this part of the world, and although it was way too short we did manage to squeeze in a lot – albeit mostly food. Oh, and taking some photos. About 7,000 of the buggers. I fear that I’m not quite at the ‘one exposure, per motive‘ level that I aspire to, and the side effect of this lack of in-viewfinder editing is a large amount of in-Lightroom editing.

So, as usual, apologies for not having posted any photos yet apart from the above, they will be up as soon as possible along with a full travelog. In the meantime all I can say is: Japan & Korea – you want to go to there. And we want to go back as soon as possible.

A Quick Travel Shout Out

I just wanted to say that over all my years of travel there have been many websites that helped me out – but one really stands out of late. Kayak, which now owns rival SideStep, is a flight comparison engine that works in browser to search multiple flight sites and suggest the best price. It’s not always right when it gets to the final price, but even so it will generally point you in the direction of the cheapest flight. Thanks, Kayak!

My very own 1972 New York subway map

Finally! My own 1972 New York subway map
Originally uploaded by ultrahi.

It’s taken a while… but I finally have my very own 1972 Massimo Vignelli NYC Subway Map. Huzah! It’s not only a design classic, but a representation of a city I love from the year I was born. Ah, bless.

Thanks to Jem, map lover extraordinaire, for telling me about this map originally. Thanks to Anne for selling and packing them so carefully to make their journey to the U of K, arriving at roughly the same time as Obama. And thanks to eBay for constantly bugging me as the prices went from a ‘reasonable’ $50 right up to $300 in the middle of last year (ug! due to an updated surge of interest after a magazine reprinted an updated version for 2008).

Now it’s time to retire my eBay search… and to find a suitable frame. Maybe one made entirely out of old subway tokens perhaps?

Remembering: Seven Years On

It’s now been seven years since 9/11. Seven years of more unnecessary wars and death around the world. Seven years of George W Bush and the ridiculous, damaging policies of him and his cronies (thankfully not for much longer though). Seven years of loss for families whose loved ones never returned home from work that day.

To everyone who died that day – we remember. For everyone else – here’s to a better world.

An Interesting News Day

Today has an interesting cross-section of news coming up, all from BBC News as I have a bias {;).

First up, Fidel Castro is stepping down as Cuba’s leader. Obviously this will lead to some upheaval in Cuba, and everyone is hoping that a new democratic leader will come in – but life is never that simple. The US will likely secretly fund a candidate they like, because that’s what they do, and Guantanamo will go on abusing human rights ‘outside’ of US soil in the name of freedom. Fingers crossed that isn’t the case, and a new, democratically elected leader pushes for the removal of that abyss of moral corruption from their country. Either way, we can only hope that Cuba’s people benefit from increased freedom, prosperity and other good things.

Secondly, what is up with Dubai? Recently they jailed a man for cannabis they found on the sole of his shoe, they arrested a London man for having melatonin (a US legal sleep/jet lag aid) and now they’ve jailed the BBC DJ Grooverider for four years, their minimum sentence, for having a small amount of cannabis in his bag! Now in all fairness it would seem that Grooverider is the only person though who might actually be guilty, as the drugs were found in a trouser pocket in his bag that he had forgotten about – but then how easy is it for anyone travelling around, especially an international DJ, to be in Amsterdam one day then Dubai the next? A risky combination.

According to statistics Dubai’s draconian drug laws have led to 59 Brits being charged last year alone. This is nothing new, with the UAE having more apparently nonsensical drug arrests than anywhere else. Still want to go to Dubai? Well the sensible thing it would seem is to not carry any drugs, in fact don’t take anything – and make sure you brush off everything you wear carefully, otherwise you could end up like the Swiss man arrested for having poppy seeds on his clothes after eating a poppy roll at Heathrow Airport. In fact just buy new clothes at the airport – and just before you get off the plane change and throw away your old clothes – having put plastic bags down over the seat just in case. A sane solution for a sane world.

Attack of the Killer Jellyfish

When I was diving in Australia off the Queensland coast, we all sort of lived in fear/awe of the Irukandji jellyfish – tiny, transparent jellyfish whose venom can kill purely from the extreme pain it inflicts. Worrying stuff indeed. Luckily, jellyfish stings find it hard to get through any sort of material so in our wetsuits we were relatively safe.

Danger Jellyfish Sign by Matt Hobbs

Now its seems more of us will be at risk from swarms of these jellyfish as they migrate around the world in search of food. In a new film, cinematographers trace the path of these surprisingly intelligent and well defended animals as they head away from their traditional areas and foray for new food sources. Beautiful but unnerving, this is one film everyone who dives (and swims) should probably watch.