Elephants 211-220

Today is steak and ale pot pie soup dat at Eat. It’s also elephant day on LLO. Here’s 211-220.

211. Hope by Richard Symonds; BT building
Hope

212. Looking Me In The Eye by Rina Bannerjee; Berkeley Square
Looking me in the eye

213. Elefun by Rosie Brooks; Green Park
Elefun

214. Vanda by Rosie Sanders; Swallow Street
Vanda

215. Rainforest by Ruth Green; Holland Park Avenue
Rainforest

216. The Emerald Queen by Sabine Roemer; Selfridges
The Emerald Queen

217. The Spirit of India by Sacha Jafri; Selfridges
The Spirit of India

218. The Lion King on Stage by Sacha Jafri; Covent Garden Piazza
The Lion King on Stage

219. Cloudia by Alan O’Connor; Carnaby Street
Cloudia

220. Oak, Chestnut, Plane & Elm by Sam Hacking; Regent Place
Oak, Chestnut, Plane & Elm

For more photos, interviews and other info, visit my Elephant Parade page. Stay tuned for the rest!

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Listen to a Londoner: Mariano Ortiz

Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you’re up for being interviewed, email littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk.

Mariano Ortiz

Mariano is a born and bred Londoner. With an emphasis on social integration in everything he does, he loves to engage people through teaching English language, giving salsa dance lessons and playing vallenato accordion. He also runs Latinos in London Ltd.

LLO: Where are you from originally, how long have you been in London and what brought you here?
MO: My parents left Colombia in the seventies. They went to Spain to study at university. As luck would have it, they only met when both were on holiday here in London. They fell in love, got married, then I popped up and the rest was history – our life was to be here in England. I have therefore been here all my life, since 1983, and now enjoy my days running Latinos in London Ltd, teaching English, teacing dance, teaching music, bringing artists in from Latin America for concerts and providing consultancy services to London Concert venues with acts that appeal to Spanish/Portuguese-speaking audiences in London.

LLO: Latinos in London has well over 4,000 members on Facebook. Tell us what it’s all about.
MO: Latinos in London branches off from Timeout London, for whom I did work experience when I finished my A-levels. It will become a fully functioning and interactive website this year. It basically provides English speakers across the world with an insight into Latin American and Iberian happenings in the UK without the biassed coverage most other bodies do because there is indeed no regulator or actively working critical body here. We seek to become that regulator and in addition bring about advancement in all aspects of community and politics but are well aware that the only way to hold the attention of as high a percentage of the public (especially a cross-section of generations) is by focussing on events and providing the service of a comprehensive events and curent affairs media body.

In addition to reporting news and current events both in the UK and abroad, we promote everything from book launches to film screenings via concerts, night clubs, conferences, lectures and many other events. Our site will launch once we have our critical agenda and critical team together because the most important thing we are looking to do is operate a critical and political branch to our project which should hopefully promote improvement and advancement of Latin American / Iberian communities in the UK. We are clearly not all illegal immigrants looking to scrounge off the UK welfare system, nor are we all Saints – thus a clear-speaking unbiassed media body is required by all to tell things as they should be.

Most other bodies are unable (and moreover unwilling) to do this based on:

1. The alliances they have with community groups, consulates, embassies and past or present advertising clients. Spanish language newspaper editors portray our 32 consulates and embassies in the UK as perfectly oiled machines of absolute efficiency when in truth most are far from this. Even more farsical is the tabloid style coverage these bodies give to news related to immigration, by which political candidates are judged to be pro-Latin based only on their backing of “possible future amnesties” – which indeed addresses the many of us in need of regularisation in the UK but portrays us as little more than a community in need of such things when a significant percentage of us would rather see politicians addressing issues concerning trade agreements.

2. The solely financial objectives they have and the limitations these entail: publicity clients, diplomatic bodies, service providers, restaurants and so on cannot be badmouthed or criticised as this will lead to bad business and the small “mafia” of regular advertisers in these newspapers have grown to become “family”.

We, as a community, need to remove ourselves from the ghetto mentality that reigns within too many of us here in the UK and allows things to remain sloppy and half-hearted. Latinos in London Ltd is 100% privately funded and has no restrictions or limitations. It additionally is the only platform producing daily and in English.

LLO: We’re looking for a great Latin American restaurant in London – best food and authentic Latin atmosphere. Recommendations?
MO: My opinion has changed over the years but at the moment I am against frequenting both typically Latin eateries and chain-stores of Macdonald’s style La Tascas, Nandos and Las Iguanas clown feederies. right now I am particularly interested in backing restaurants looking to push integration of that which is Latin American and that which is British/European in all aspects: menu, atmosphere, lighting, wine list, drinks, staff, service, etc.

In summary, my recommendations are Sabor run and owned by my dear friend Esnayder (also interviewed for Listen to a Londoner!) and Arepa & Co run by another visionary and lateral thinker, Gustavito.

LLO: Favourite unique London discovery?
MO: Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club

LLO: Best place to go out dancing or hear some great live Latin American tunes in this city?
MO: My house! I organise a monthly “Vallenato House Party” where people are welcome to experience an authentic Colombian “parranda” (party with live music) with all the essences of typical food, atmosphere and imported drinks. Come along and be transported to any typical Colombian Northern coast house on a weekend evening. Details: www.Vallenato.co.uk

For added fun, check out Latin American harp and clarinet maestros Diego Laverde and Cheveto Requena at Angel and Green Park stations when you get the chance.

LLO:  Which area of London are you most familiar with and what’s your favourite thing about it?
MO: I am still deciding on that!

LLO: Can you tell us about some great resources for Latin Americans coming to London for the first time?
MO: Learning English? Well I have been working as an English teacher and education guidance mentor since 2006 and believe the best advice anyone could ever receive is personalised – so in short, my contact details are 0781 569 65 94 /contact@latinosinlondon.com

LLO: Tell us about a great memory of something that could only have happened in London.
MO: Celebrating Barcelona winning the UEFA champions league a few years ago against Arsenal in Trafalgar Square. Colombian Barcelona supporters, we were playing vallenato into the night. Argentine Barcelona supporters, they were playing Latin rock guitar, Cubans had salsa cow bells and claves  and who were we sorrounded by? Joyous Tottenham Hotspurs supporters cheering and dancing along.

LLO: If you were to leave London in the near future, what 5 things (people not included) would you miss the most about the city?
MO:
1 – The mentality: Most people here do not allow social class and appearances rule their lives.
2 – The culture: Every country of the world is represented in this city
3 – The food: Fancy eating anything from anywhere? look for it in London.
4 – Employment flexibility: Fancy changing careers from sales to dance entertainment and then back again? Only in London.
5 – Night clubs and entertainment venues open 7 nights a week: We don’t know how lucky we are to have these.

LLO: You’ve got a free day to explore a part of the city you’ve never been to. Where do you go and why?
MO: My head hurts now.  😦  I can’t possibly think straight and answer for this. Sorry 😦

Thanks Mariano!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.

Elephants 201-210

Happy hefalump Friday everyone 🙂

201. The Elephant Outside the Room by Pochoir; St. Paul’s Churchyard
The Elephant Outside the Room

202. Dazzlephant by Pochoir; Green Park
Dazzlephant

Dazzlephant

203. Grayson by Polly Hope; St. James’ Park
Grayson

204. Elhi by HRH Prince Michael of Kent; Park Lane
Elhi3

205. Sir Percy by HRH Prince Michael of Kent; Park Lane
Sir Percy

206. Mr Bojangles by Princess Pea; Cavendish Square
Mr. Bojangles

207. Untitled by Rana Begum; Berkeley Square
Untitled

208.Kingdom by Rebecca Campbell; Sloane Square
Kingdom

209. Harmony by Rebecca Campbell; Green Park
Harmony

210. Harapan by Rebecca Sutherland; Green Park
Harapan

For more photos, interviews and other info, visit my Elephant Parade page. Stay tuned for the rest!

Elephants 171-180

Today is an elephant day. Here’s 171-180. Choose your fave! If you could paint your own elephant, what would it look like?

171. Jarlo by Marty Thornton; Victoria Tower Gardens
Jarlo

172. Luna by M McCann, J Scott & N Colyer; Westfield
Luna

173. The Paul Smith Elephant by Sir Paul Smith; The Royal Exchange
The Paul Smith Elephant

174. Baarsfant no2 by Menno Baars; Green Park
BaarsFant no2

175. R by Gavin Tuck; New Burlington Place
R2

176. No More Plundering by Milo Tchais; Potters Field Park
No More Plundering

177. Utopia by Mitch Freeman; Queens Walk, Hungerford Bridge
Utopia

178. Naveen by John Stefanidis; Notting Hill Gate
Naveen

179. 21st Century Ganesh by Mythili Thevendrampillai; originally at India Place (I interviewed Mythili for a London Art Spot post last February.)
21st Century Ganesh

180. Boogie Woo by Nandita Chaudhuri; Soho Square
Boogie Woo

Boogie Woo

For more photos, interviews and other info, visit my Elephant Parade page. Stay tuned for the rest!

Elephants 161-170

Elephant time! Here’s 161-170. Which one would you like for Christmas?

161. Maureen by Mackenzie Thorpe; Queens Walk, National Theatre
Maureen

162. Gajaraj by HH Maharaja Ranjitsinh Gaekwad of Baroda; Old Quebec Street
Gajaraj

163. Suraj by HH Maharaja Ranjitsinh Gaekwad of Baroda; The Dorchester
Suraj

164. Hathi by Manish Arora; V&A Museum
Hathi

165. Untitled by Marc Quinn; originally at Sotheby’s New Bond Street/Somerset House
Untitled

166. Lunacrooner by Maria Ines Aguirre; Kensington High Street
Lunacrooner

167. Elephish by Mariana Bassani; Foubert’s Place/Regent Street
Elephish

168. Coco by Fernando Pires Jorge & Mariana Bassani; Berkeley Square
Coco

169. Nanook by Martin Aveling; Green Park
Nanook

170. Vanishing Elephant by Martin Jordan; Curzon Street
Vanishing Elephant 3

Vanishing Elephant 2

Vanishing Elephant

For more photos, interviews and other info, visit my Elephant Parade page. Stay tuned for the rest!