Wednesday March 13th – Went to Hampstead Heath today; beautiful gorgeous skies (see the last post for photos). An older gentleman asked me about my Leica and bought me a cuppa tea and showed me around the park. Too bad he wasn't 40 years younger but a real nice chap nonetheless..! He had a Polish dog named Cheshu who would bark at everyone who walked by. Great walking in snow, rain, sun and wind. Took some (hopefully) great sky shots, hope they come out.
Thursday March 14th – Hanson Leatherby meetup day! Supercool Flickr friend and fellow Leica lover I befriended online a few years ago. Spitalfields market to start, The English Restaurant for lunch, a vintage clothes shop/cafe for coffee and cool thread browsing – Johnny Cash on the hifi, nice – Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Hackney, PIE & MASH! exactly the kind of place I wanted too! Old spot, F. Cooke's, cool shopowners, full of charm and great atmosphere. So much carbs (Pie & Mash is potatoes with a meat pie drenched in 'liquor' which is a bright green parsely sauce. At one point it was actual eels in eel juice poured all over your potatobreads). Good fun and we'll definitely meet up again.
Friday March 15th – Since Erika and I will be out all day tomorrow, we celebrated today as my birthday. Breakfast presents and cards, hooray! Later went to The British Museum with dad and uncle, wow so much to see. My favorites were the mummies and the fabulous 17th/18th/19th century aristocratic jewelry. Ended the day with dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Golders Green. Cool old 20s building with a bbq duck booth in the front. So much rain…
Saturday March 16th – My birthday! In London! Started off with a startling birthday FaceTime call at 3:45am from Lil' Bruder (the best). Later on, met Erika at Heathrow (dear old friend from High School, now living in Germany). Walked around Oxford Street, Salt Beef sandwiches at Selfridges, The Hunterian Museum (vast collection of old anatomical and biological speciments from the 1800s), then Nikita's Russian Restaurant in West Brompton. Erika treated! I spoke Russian with our hostess, got the inside scoop on what to eat and what not to eat (smoked salmon: yes. pilimeni: no). Super delicious, Eri had the Chicken Kiev and I had the Beef Stroganoff and delicious herbal vodka. Back to Eri's hotel room for sleep. So much rain…
Sunday March 17th – Museum of London to see the Resurrection Men exhibit, stopped by a tiny park on the way in that was dedicated to heroic persons – I loved this concept . Checked out the London Wall on our way out, found a tiny green toy hippo tucked away on a brick, took photos. Took a bus to another pie shop "M. Manze" but it was closed upon arrival Walked all the way to Tower Bridge, past the Tower of London, in search of hot pies, found them at Spitalfields Market, so hungry and they were so delicious. Walked around the market and Eri spotted really cute military style wool coats with tall tube collars and lovely floral buttons down one far side. She tried one on and it looked so cute on her I tried one on as well. We fell in love and each bought one! Stoked to support local designers and the "Made in London" scene. Stumbled into the Up Market going on down the way, full of vintage clothes and delicious ethnic food stalls. Got great food steals as the stalls were closing (takeaway box full of Ethiopian veggie cuisine, tea and Turkish baklava all for less than £5). Pint at the Ten Bells and tube ride home. Came home to meet Mr. Fox in Uncles backyard. Took a million photos, so cool.
Monday March 18th – Met Erika at Selfridges, had another Salt Beef sandwich (ha!) and delicious salted caramel macaroons. From there went to the Victoria and Albert Museum which was amazing, one of my faves so far. Didn't have enough time there, will have to go back especially for the Bowie show coming up. Had a lemon tart and capuccinos at a nearby cafe, then to Chinatown in Soho for dim sum. Walked around afterwards, found a hilarious arcade/casino and each sent £1 in 10p coins on a coin/prize-sliding game. We were ahead maybe by £4 at one point but spent it all in a blaze of glory. Walked around and stumbed into Picadilly Circus. Saw a pretty lame breakdancing act on the street that commanded way too many people for what it was; Eri and I thought we could do much better modern dancing ourselves.
Tuesday March 19th – Met Eri at the Breakfast Club in Soho, I had french toast with cinnamon apples and Erika had a crazy huge American-style brekkie with a mound of bacon that looked amazing. Made a pitstop at Primark to see what all the fuss was about; meh. Saw Eri to the tube bound for Heathrow, hugs and kisses and goodbyes. So much fun, will miss her company but will see her in Germany soon. Then off to meet up with Jessie in Hackney for lunch. Buen Ayre, Argentinean steakhouse; wow amazing! Met her cool housemate Mark, good peeps. She showed me some of the cool things she does with her agency. Walked and took the bus home, feet hurt, good day.
Wednesday March 20th – Chill day. Laundry and email/blog catchup. Checked out an art show in Shoreditch and after that an indie music mixer at a bar. Met some interesting peeps, talked about the future of music streaming and distribution, labels, etc.. Tons of young kids. Putting it all together in my mental info box for the 'big dream' project. Art show made me really ask myself why I'm not creating and putting my stuff out there; I make good stuff! Whats the holdup?
Thursday March 21st – Flickr friend meetup day with Rory! Took the bus to Oxford St, walked to Flat White, nice cafe in Soho, delicious Kiwi coffee. Met Rory there, supercool kid with a similar film camera obsession and music blogger as well. Have been Flickr friends for a few years. He showed me cool record shops in Soho, I bought a Wreckless Eric double LP at one place and Brian Eno Another Green World cd at another. So in that Brian Eno mood as of late. Then off to the Soane's Museum, wow; super cool and frontrunner for one of my fave museums thus far. So many nooks and crannies and skylights and paintings and artifacts.. Threw back a couple pints at a pub around the corner, laid all our cameras onto the table like nerds and took some pics. Had to rush to a dinner part at 6, Rory saw me to the tube station and I was off. Good fun, will have to meet up again. Got off at Notting Hill Gate station, looking for the dinner house and as per uncle's directions, ended up knocking on some random French woman's house. Called uncle, he told me I was on the wrong street but I wasn't.. I walked up and down 3 times, called again, the host answered and told me which street to go to and that uncle had gone out to look for me, oy! I got home before he did, he followed about five minutes later. Oh uncle… Salmon and Sabzi Polo dinner, lots of vino, cheesecake and ice cream, I'm so bloated and stuffed. Must not eat so much next time…
Friday March 22nd – Future Cinema Casablanca! Hanson invited me to help him out with a photo shoot of a band playing the part of the house band in the live-cinema version of Casablanca at the Troxy Theater. I took the tube and overground train to the east end, got there a bit early and decided to get a snack and hot coffee before the event. It was FREEZING outside; sharp bitter wind and frozen fingers, brrrr. Inside I noticed a menu item i've seen all around London; Jacket Potatoes. Curious, I asked the barista what Jacket Potatoes were. She looked at me weird. She said "they're potatoes… what do you mean?" and I wondered if they were packed inside something, like, as if wearing a jacket of fluffy dough or something. "No… just a potato.. with skin.." I knew I was missing something so I dropped it and apologized for not knowing since I was from california and we dont have those there. I ordered a hot sandwhich and a latte and minutes later, my coffee came with "welcome to London" written in the foam. Ha! I saw that and we all laughed. So sweet, i'll definitely remember that one. Met up with Hanson at his sweet Merc parked under an ominous archway down an alley. His car was having ingition issues and he wasn't sure how he'd get it started later on. Made it to the theater, he took pics of the band with his Leicas, flash units, etc., I'm not sure how much help I was but it was fun being there! (I definitely moved some chairs and did my best school portrait assistant suit-jacket de-creasing and arm positioning.) Afterwards I was free to roam around and take in the actual event which was a real fun time. The Troxy was transformed into a 40s era nightclub complete with hidden bars and restaurants. Taking photos with my Leica I was mistaken for being a part of the acting team on a couple occassions, ha. Hanson and I grabbed some tasty moroccan food, drinks and headed up to the theater seats to eat and check out the film screening. He had arranged for a auto-service car to come give him a jumpstart so he could make it home. Waiting for their call and meeting them in the alley was a bit Casablanca in itself. Got the jump, car started, I got a ride home, the end. A real fun night.
Saturday March 23rd – SNOW DAY! Seriously, its full-on winter here. Woke up to a solid stream of fluffy flurries and snow-covered houses. Unbelievable. Super chill day today; laundry and a real guilty-pleasure nap. Saw a new fox in the morning, but this one was a real scaredy cat. He'd run away as soon as we opened the window. Later in the evening went to a Norooz party full of uncle's friends, drinks and caviar canapes. (I managed to get a couple extra ones when no one was looking…) Met some lovely people and had a nice time.