Graham Captures Camden

Graham Kerr’s been out and about in Camden again, capturing life in this eccentric part of London Town.  Here’s some of his favourite shots:

Love this girl i bet she takes no shit

Coffee time

You put your left foot in your left foot out you do the ............

Piss off you nosy little bugger i am in the middle of a shot.

IT'S PINK ...............FUCK OFF IT'S LIGHT SALMON WITH SUTTLE WHITE HIGHLIGHTS

For more posts full of Graham’s Camden shots, have a look here.

Listen to a Londoner: Alexandra Richards

Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you’d like to be interviewed, email me at littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk.

Alexandra Richards, 23

Alexandra works as a Buyers Admin Assistant for Topshop. She also writes a blog, Alex Does Fashion. She is 23 and lives in South London.

LLO: Tell us a bit about your blog, Alex Does Fashion.
AR:
 I love fashion, have always worked in fashion and have always wanted to write a blog. And then when my previous job took me to a remote area of Coventry for 6 months, I had not much else to do in the evenings! That’s when I started writing it; it helped me escape and now it’s my baby. Alex Does Fashion is about fashion, art and life from my perspective – because it’s my blog! Plus, I get a bit fed up of all the millions of narcissistic fashion blogs consisting only of thousands pictures of the blogger in outfits, or countless street style photos. Alex Does Fashion is all about what inspires and interests me, and hopefully inspires and interests others.

LLO: As a born and bred Londoner, talk us through some of the best and worst fashion trends that have hit the city in your lifetime.
AR:
Oh goodness. So many. The one that first sprang to mine was definitely when flat winkle pickers came back as the “pointy shoe” in 2003. When I was 15 I had a white pair with a horrendous silver clasp – not a good look. I also once wore them with black tights…enough said.

LLO: Where is your place to show up in the capital on a Saturday night after buying the perfect new outfit?
AR:
I’d say at the moment I’m definitely more of a bar girl than a club girl, and as a South Londoner, of course I absolutely love going out in Clapham. Tapas and sangria outside on the deck at Carmen Bar de Tapas, happy hour cocktails at Rinky Dinks, more cocktails at the gorgeous art deco Loft bar and dancing in Aqqum. And then of course a good ol’ night time cheeseburger and chips in McDonalds at 4am!

LLO: Where can we find London’s best vintage or retro offerings?
AR:
There’s no doubt about it – Brick Lane is still number 1 for vintage in my opinion. There are countless stores to choose from, but my favourite are Hunky Dory vintage which has fantastically elaborate pieces – and the guys who work there are so friendly and lovely, and I love the Boy London store, housing what’s left of the amazing 80s line, with the fantastically eccentric owner as well as the crazy £1-5 bed sale in the basement (literally a 3ft mound of clothes on a bed). And of course, you can’t forget the humungous Beyond Retro.

Away from East London, one of my favourites is Retromania in Pimlico. It’s almost a costume store and they carry fantastic designer collections. For my birthday, my friends bought me an amazing huge black and white furry angora cardigan from there; and they have a fantastic rail outside which changes every week, where I picked up a great hounds tooth men’s jacket for £1! Perfect for guilt free shopping.

LLO: Which London-based living fashion icon do you most admire and why?
AR:  
I don’t really have a fashion icon – I can admire and be inspired by everything and anyone, especially normal people with normal lives.

LLO: After living in NYC for a bit, how does fashion in London compare to the styles in the Big Apple?
AR:
Like London style, fashion in New York you couldn’t even begin to encapsulate in one sentence. There are so many neighbourhoods, and so many different types of people. Although one thing I did notice that there are a lot more vintage stores and small boutiques scattered about, and many New Yorkers do look to London as the most directional fashion city. One thing about New Yorkers though, is that everyone looks a lot more put together. Everything in New York inspires me – from the people, the bars, the buildings and the New Yorkers’ incessant style. I  truly and absolutely heart New York.

LLO: Favourite London-based designers?
AR: 
I love Mark Fast, Issa, Marios Schwab, David Koma, Holly Fulton – and of course, Vivienne Westwood.

Thanks Alexandra!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.

Exploring Eel Pie Island

If you take a short ride on the R68 bus from Richmond, alight at King Street and turn the corner, you’ll come to a narrow footbridge arching over the Thames. This leads to the magical and eccentric Eel Pie Island with an off-beat name just right for its off-beat story.

Bridge To Eel Pie Island

This mysterious little slice of traffic-free land has a musical history that tosses about names like John Mayall, Mick Jagger, Cyril Davies, Eric Clapton, David Bowie. Even before their time, Charles Dickens was said to enjoy a beer over that bridge and Henry VIII was rumoured to pop by the island to fill his stomach with eel pies on his way to entertain his mistresses.

Rainbow Shed

The island’s Eel Pie Hotel became the phenomenon that started it all with hundreds of revellers flooding the island to see The Who or The Stones in the hotel, to drink, dance, get high, sleep around. It started with ballroom dancing, progressed to jazz followed by the Mods and rock ‘n’ roll. Eventually, when the party scene got out of control, a mysterious fire burned the hotel to the ground.

England

In his memoir “Eel Pie Dharma” about his time on the island, Chris Faiers explained that the site was briefly re-opened as Colonel Barefoot’s Rock Garden where Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd took to the stage. Then the squatters took over. “200 dossers, hippies, runaway schoolkids, drug dealers, petty thieves, heroin addicts, artists, poets, bikers, American hippy tourists, au pair girls and Zen philosophers from all over the world’, who consumed vast quantities of LSD and opened a sex room for orgies”, he wrote.

Blue Eyes

Of course, that has all has changed now. The island has calmed down and is home to a mixed and creative group of just over 100 people. Some are retirees who live in sweet little cottages near the water.

Paintbrushes in Artist's Studio

Over 20 artists live and work in studios further down the island and there’s another group who work in the shipyard.

Eel Pie Ship Yard

Twice a year Eel Pie Island welcomes the public to visit the artists in their studios. Last weekend was one of those times so I went to explore.

Skeleton in Cage

Crossing the footbridge, I was already in another world. I picked up a hand drawn map pointing out the studios from a stack of papers weighed down by a smooth rock and started walking down a winding path. Lush shrubs and flowers formed the edges of the pathway which was empty besides the occasional dog-walker.

Love Shack

The first obvious sign of what was to come was the Love Shack, with colourful tiled front steps and an alligator on the front of the house about to eat a dangling gnome.

Gator and Gnome

There was a sign nearby on a tree that said “Wrong Day, Go Back”. I walked on.

Wrong Day

A green shed with old advertisements for Star Cigarettes, HMV and Punch stood next to a similar building called The Lion Boathouse.

Side of Ship Display
There are a few shops on the island selling necessities like firewood and paint supplies, but residents have easy access to Twickenham shops just over the other side of the river.

Star, HMV, Punch

The most eccentric part of the island was the artist’s community – an organised mess of colourful painted shacks, sheds and old boats where these people live and work. Barbie doll head on the ground, skeleton dangling in a cage outside a house, a broken kitchen sink, a stack of metal spoons, shipyard tools littering the ground.

Watch on the Wall

The people were lovely – chatty, welcoming, friendly, eager to talk about their work. They sold large paintings, sculptures, handmade greeting cards, jeweller, ceramics and photography.
Rosa Diaz

There’s even costume designer called Rosa Diaz famous for collecting Barbie dolls. Many of the artists have been living on the island for years and years. It’s a brilliant and supportive little community.

Nude and Mirror

After walking the complete trail, I turned and headed back under the afternoon sun. I walked slowly back down the green, twisting path.

I Can't Remember
An old man with a walker stopped to smile and nod in my direction before I headed back out of the psychedelic world across the lazy grey Thames. I bet he has some good stories to tell if he’s been living there a while. The crowds have poured out, but there are stories there, unspoken history, memories.

Home in an Old Ship

The island closed back up a few hours after I left, private once again for the rest of the year.

No Cycling

Links:
http://www.timeout.com/london/features/267/1.html
http://www.eelpieislandartists.co.uk/
http://www.eelpie.org

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