Balmy Bali

Just got back from two amazing weeks in Bali – amazing weather, great food, lovely people and a whole pile of fun. In summary – the best holiday I’ve had in about ten years. Consequently feel a whole lot more relaxed, look a whole lot more tanned and am generally annoying people who have had to deal with two weeks of very cold British weather.

So what did I do? Landed into the airport and spent a few days at Legian beach, slightly less hectic than the Aussie-ful Kuta , where I slept a lot to recover from our recent app release busy-ness, surfed, swam and had more massages than I care to mention. All fully family appropriate, don’t worry 😉

Next took a car across the mountains to Lovina, where I wandered the black sand beaches and had my first proper dive in a year – and the best dive I’ve had in five – at Pulau Menjangan. This was good news, as it meant my ears were behaving so I could get on with some serious diving. The next day saw the dolphins at dawn, hundreds of them, before driving over to Tulamben to dive the amazing off-beach wreck there. Stunning.

No rest for the wicked, Ubud was my next stop – a beach-free central town dedicated to monkeys and the more relaxed, hippy arts. Ironically had my worst massage here, but everything else was amazing including the villa I stayed at with outdoor shower. Sunlit & moonlit showers are the best, at least in tropical temperatures. Plenty of culture and temples to see, and also monkeys – who are violent beasts it seems and not as cute as you might think. Hint: do not carry food on your person.

Ubud was very hard to leave, but the idyllic Gili islands off Lombok were calling, and after a few hours drive and a few hours in a boat I could see why. Blue seas, an island small enough to walk round in two hours and white sand beaches – not to mention no dogs or petrol vehicles – amazing! I ended up staying here for the rest of the trip, getting in plenty more diving, sun & just pure relaxation. The dives had everything – seahorses, turtles, sharks and an overload of cuttlefish, my favourite sea denizens. Not quite paradise, but a pretty close approximation to it and highly recommended.

So all in all an amazing trip and can’t wait to get down that way again. Meanwhile I’m still fighting the jetlag, and adjusting to a balmy 3 degrees C in the UK (a tenth of what it was there) – so that means I’m already starting to go through my photos. Something of a miracle given my current backlog. The photo above is the first to come, at some point you’ll see my picks of the 8,000 odd more I took. Coff.

Smoking causes George Bush.

Your slim frame
Your eager eyes and your wild mane
Oh they, keep me where I belong
All wrapped up in wrong.

You’re to blame,
For wasted words of sad refrain.
Oh let them,
Take me where they may.
Believe me when I say.

Oh, I will be your accident if you will be my ambulance
And I will be your screech and crash if you will be my crutch and cast
And I will be your one more time if you will be my one last chance.
Oh, oh fall for me.

Your slim frame.
Oh, your simple stare and your wrong, wrong name.
Oh, they keep me where I belong,
All strung out in song.

Why so tame?
When we could shoot longer vines through younger veins.
Sip slow from night’s deep wells,
And watch our garden swell, once the seeds are sown
Wild and overgrown, you’ll see.
Hearts’ colours change like leaves.

Oh sweet, sweet dream fall for me.
Fall fast,
Fall free,
Fall for me.

Because I will be your ambulance
If you will be my accident
And I will be your screech and crash if you will be my crutch and cast
And I will be your one more time if you will be my one last chance
So, sweet dream, fall with me.

Fall fast.
Fall free.
Fall with me.

It Is Biutiful..

Just watched Biutiful – the story of a dying conman played by Javier Bardem. Set in a Barcelona that rarely graces our screens, dark and flawed, seering your emotions from high to low with wonderful intensity with Bardem at the centre, pulling you along through his dark life in a fractured city. Director Inarittu’s view of this Barcelona is more akin to the slums of South America than the picture perfect rose tint of Woody Allen who also took Bardem and Barcelona as his muse.

I don’t know when I’ll next be in Barcelona, a city that always felt like a home, but I’ll certainly look at it with fresh eyes when I do. Surely the mark of a great film.

The End of a Course

Last week was the final week of my Portrait Course at Central St Martins. It’s been a great ten weeks. Not only have I learnt a lot, gotten to play with a lot of proper studio lighting kit and had lots of willing people standing around having their photo taken, but it’s also been a lot of fun. Bonus! Big thanks to everyone on the course and of course to Peter for teaching.

Street Art: Space Invader @ The Outsiders, London

Space Invader invaders The Outsiders gallery, London.

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.

Continue reading “Street Art: Space Invader @ The Outsiders, London”

A Moment In History

While I was over in New York this Easter it was reported that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. I was in a bar in Williamsburg when it happened, everyone seemed to pick up on it pretty quickly even though no TV was on. Such is the way of news in these modern times. Later I was asked why I hadn’t rushed down to Ground Zero to witness the ensuing celebrations, the end of the long search for the perpetrator of the atrocity that happened almost ten years ago. The answer was simple, his death didn’t really mark anything any more, in fact his death rather than capture made things arguably less clear.

Spin forward to today, and the whole of England, if not the world, is heading towards a real sea change. Arguably one of the people who really put the ‘terror’ in the ‘war on terror’ was facing his own trial of sorts. Rupert Murdoch and his son, answered questions from British MPs regarding his newspaper’s apparent repeated and callous disregard for the law in the pursuit of a story. The owner of the biggest propaganda machine in the US if not the world, Fox News, sitting front and center as the story himself. This may not seem like much, but the number of influential people this looks to be impacting is fascinating and disturbing. It shows that with our modern, connected, social media rich communication there is no way for a story to be kept under wraps, under the control of media cartels who only seem to answer to their bottom line not the public’s best interest.

So as I got ready for my usual run along the Thames Embankment this evening, I thought maybe I should avoid Parliament. Stay away from the melee. Then I realised that this was a moment in history that I did not want to miss. One of those times you remember always and tell your grandchildren about. As I ran through the crowds gathered around the streets, and the media tents brightly lit on the lawn, I could feel the sense of excitement and anticipation. A buzz as people saw the moment happening, when a brighter future emerged.

Gig: Tom Vek at Heaven

Last night we went to see the long absent Tom Vek play his ‘coming out’ gig at Heaven, and boy was it worth the wait. To a crowded room packed with happy hipsters he rolled out hit after hit, winding the assembled throng to a fever pitch of dancing happiness culminating in his latest single ‘A Chore’ to rapturous applause – helped by the girl from the video (or lookalike) fronting the song at the start.

Last time we saw Vek play was at a small venue in Montreal in 2006 – to only about 50-100 people and supported by the wonderful The Duke Spirit. It was a great gig, even with Vek having to play drums on most songs as his drummer had left in the tour. This time, the band was in full force and we got to enjoy Vek front of stage, his angular, skinny frame bouncing out the beats to his slices of beat driven indie genius. The sound was amazing, the light show simple but effective. Vek himself seemed to start off a bit nervous, but as he played his hit songs the crowd got increasingly excited and Vek got more relaxed and chatty. Classics such as “The Lower the Sun”, “Nothing but Green Lights” and more kept the crowd moving, and the songs from his latest album fared just as well. Even if I have to admit to not really knowing them (yet) they certainly got my body moving.

Thanks for a great night, Tom – and please, don’t wait so long till we see you again…

Full Set Listing

  1. C-C
  2. World of Doubt
  3. We Do Nothing
  4. If You Want
  5. Lower The Sun
  6. Hold Your Hand
  7. Someone Loves You
  8. Nothing But Green Lights
  9. Aroused
  10. I Ain’t Saying My Goodbyes
  11. Seizemic s-Leisure Seizure
  12. Too Bad
  13. A.P.O.L.O.G.Y
  14. A Chore