In preparation for my next New York visit I was checking out the locations of some of Invader’s last invasion, an invasion I’d again missed by a few weeks last October. Tabernac! Really must try and co-ordinate that better in the future.
Turns out that my favourite street artist has put a piece on my old building at Kingsland and Nassau in Greenpoint. Exciting! It sits nicely above a Sweet Toof piece I’d seen last time I was there. As if I don’t miss that apartment enough with its epic views of Manhattan. Can’t wait to get back there and see that as well as some of the 40 or so other pieces.
Now I can only hope that Monsieur l’Invader decides to hit up Walthamstow so my current home can be just as well adorned. There’s been a few pieces of street art and murals turning up nearby in the last few months so can but hope.
Space Invader currently has a show at The Outsiders, in Soho. It’s not quite as epic as his 1000th Parisian Invader show earlier this year – but you can get Invader waffles.. Mmmm. There’s also a cool video of the artist at work in the basement along with an invaded disco ball. Or you can drop a cool £5000+ to buy an official alias on one of his many works. Hint: It’s getting close to Christmas and the show’s on till Christmas Eve… Click here for a few pics.
This cute little Space Invader used to live near Hoxton Square, alas no more. He’s gone along with pretty much every other recent invader in this area in something that, if tweeted, would likely be called #shoreditchspaceinvadermageddon. Or maybe something shorter. This trend of disappearing Invaders seems to be rapidly spreading across London, no idea the cause is ‘art lovers’ or Council officials ‘cleaning’ but either way it’s a sad loss to the modern landscape. So make sure you get out and find your local invader before it’s too late.
Last weekend we jaunted over to Paris on Eurostar for an Autumnal long weekend break, a chance to catch a breath in what’s turning out to be a very busy few months. Paris in the fall is always a mixed bag, as the continental weather can get pretty wet and cold but luckily for us the forecast torrential rain held off leaving just a few light showers in its wake. This trip we stayed at Adrien’s beautiful flat in the 10th, near to Gare de l’Est – a fortuitous coincidence as he had his own jaunt off to New York literally an hour after we arrived, so we got to share a brief breakfast before he headed out. A big thanks to him, as it’s one of our favourite areas comprising central location via the walk along the St-Martin canal. Magnifique.
After so many trips to Paris we tend to avoid the tourist activities, instead reverting to a mildly obsessive attempt to see every Parisian Space Invader. Thanks to a previous birthday present of Invader’s Paris invasion guide we now have some highly accurate maps to help us, and guide us around areas of Paris we would otherwise never go near. The stand-out this trip was a long strip of invaders on the edge of Belleville opposite a full-on street market that seemed to specialise in stolen goods and loud arguments and an ethnic mix that reminded me more of Jerusalem than anywhere else. The upshot of our hunt, was that we now know the first ever Invader is no longer there, and that Miette is better at spotting them.. winning 37 to 32 in new sightings. That puts us having seen about 100 off of the now 1,000 placed in Paris.. so plenty of opportunity to claw back a second frame there.
Other than Parisian street art, of which Invader is flanked by Shepherd Fairey and Faile but little else, we enjoyed some splendid meals. Brunch at Les Enfants Perdues was a set menu joy. Cafe Charlot provided good solid cafe food during the day and traditionally French service. First night we went to La Fidelite where the opulent packed surroundings was highly enjoyable, although my mild food poisoning from the cod was less fun – c’est la vie. On Saturday we went to Hotel du Nord and had a splendid time, highly recommended.
Food aside the highlight of the trip was a visit to Deyrolle, a French institution where you can buy all forms of preserved animals – from butterflies to polar bears and everything in between. Expensive to buy, but fascinating to wander round and proving that however many times you visit Paris, there’s always something new to find and enjoy.
Good news for all fans of Space Invader, he’s just re-opened his Space Shop with a wide selection of goodies. First up are the ‘Made in Japan’ Invasion Kits – IK_13 – made to celebrate his current show in Japan. They come in two flavours – 30 signed at €350 a piece (already sold out) and 150 unsigned at €200 each*. Get ’em while they’re hot!
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.
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.
As the last few hours of 2009 draw to a close we can reflect on the year that’s been. Or we can do the same as every newspaper across the world has done and reflect on the decade that’s been – the ‘noughties’.
2009 for me has been dominated by an increasingly joyous obsession with Space Invader graffiti, combined with my first full year of work in London since ’97 and the opportunity to do some European travel. Prague, Paris and Barcelona all featured – as did happy return trips to New York and Toronto. My carbon footprint has been quite heavy this year, apologies to the world on that. There have also been a number of weddings – so further congratulations to Aimi and Gary, Paul and Victoria and Chris and Cecilia on that front. Not to mention the great increase in quality time spent with my family now we’re on the right side of the world again.
2009 was also a great year for gigs – from perennial faves TV on the Radio, Daedelus, PJ Harvey and the amazing Blur reunion gig at Southend. We thought that Blur wouldn’t be beaten, but then a last minute intimate Pearl Jam gig at Shepherd Bush snuck in there to give them a good run for their money, as well as unexpectedly superb Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Pixies gigs. Wow. 2010 has a lot to live up to there.
As to the decade. Well you can read this blog if you want, which started in earnest on February 27th, 2000 with this unauspicious first post. Yes, this blog is almost turning ten! It’s seen a lot of good times with friends around the world, and a lot of tragedy with the events of 9/11 and the election of George Wanker Bush amongst others. Although the Internet has revolutionised our world, it hasn’t helped us to overcome the fears and governmental idiocy that have been introduced at the same time – or at least not yet..
Decade highlights for me have to be the arrival of four nieces and nephews, getting to travel round the world and learning to scuba dive, living in New York and Montreal, making some great friends, and spending half that decade with the ever lovely M.
So for everyone, everywhere – here’s to a happy, healthy 2010 and the decade beyond. Go for your dreams and don’t listen to the naysayers. Skol!
These days city visits, and even my daily walk into work, have an added bonus – tracking down every Space Invader hidden alongside the ‘real’ tourist sights. Space Invaders, little (and sometimes big) mosaics stuck onto walls, are colourful distractions from the every day. They’re whimsical and always surprising, and now you can see how the Space Invader himself does an invasion.