Thursday, June 07, 2012


You know that gas station across from Morant's? The one that has had the revolving cast of Mexican restaurants on the side?  The gas station has changed its name, and as I was walking into Morant's some trees were blocking my view and this is really how I read the sign!  It's actually "Franklingasmart" all as one word.

Pictures of London after the jump! And that's the end of vacation photos!

 There was a chain pasty place at Heathrow and after so many days of falafel it was hella good!
 This is jumping quite a bit.  We airbnb'ed it in a neighborhood of north east London called Dalston.  Let me tell you, we did airbnb twice on this trip (it's a vacation apartment rental thing) and it is the best.  In London, for 100 bucks a night we had a whole floor of a newly remodeled flat to ourselves, including kitchen (stocked with tea and milk) free wifi, and dvd player and movies.  The host, Steve, was super nice and helpful, too.  He explained the bus lines (which are really useful within that area) and even drove us to the tube station the day we left.  If anyone is going to London, I'll put you in touch!

Anyhoo, we were a little worried about Dalston being off the beaten track but it turned out to be a vibrant, bustling neighborhood chock full of hipsters, Turks, and people from the Caribbean, including lots of bad ass Rastas.  You can see Scott above, engaged in his favorite activity, at a really good record store that was walkable from our place.  Also walkable: a club where we saw Bleached, a band fronted by an ex Mika Miko'er.  This band is probably going to be pretty big.  Ladies love it and Jennifer Clavin is beautiful and charismatic.

 This beer was drunk on the rooftop patio or our local, The Fox.  It's a very old pub that recently re-opened with a craft beer focus.  Lucky us.
 Here's the sign on the outside.  There was also a taxidermied fox inside.
 This is hard to see, but right by where were staying there was, get this, a halal bagel place where you could good saltfish and ackee ON A BAGEL.  Multi culti to the max.

 Lots of bus riding
 At Steve's suggestion, we spent a day in the Shoreditch area.  There were a ton of shops and restaurants.  We stumbled on a gastropub called Mason and Taylor and it happens to have one of the city's best craft beer selections.  We were walking by early and it wasn't open.  Smiller was peering through the windows and struck up a convo with the owner.  So we decided to go back later.  This is a cocktail made with Sipsmith Gin infused with Nelson Sauvin hopss!! It was so good and shortly after this I spilled 2/3rds of it.  I bought  home a bottle of Sipsmith Gin in hopes of recreating it when the hops are ripe.
 This was so good but it kind of looks like a pile of poo.  It was chicken liver toast and wild mushroom toast.
 Charcuterie and cheese

 Here's one of the super nice guys that works there.  Adrian?
 Here's a street sign from where we stayed.
 I went to a pub in the Charing Cross area and got a proper pint and fish and chips.  Man.  Those are mushy peas on the side and they were much better than that sounds. Minty! I put a ton of malt vinegar on the fish, and a bit of HP, too.
 It was blazingly hot in London! The English were busting out the pasty flesh left and right.
 I went to the Tate.  Here's a big Hirst thing outside.

 This was my favorite thing.  It's a Joseph Beuys piece called "lightning with stag in its glare".  The big beam and iron bit hanging down represent lightning, and there's a silver "stag" made out of an ironing board and blocks, painted silver to represent the flash of the lightning on the stag.  I just found this very touching, the sort of pathetic stag caught in this way, although the stag is meant to be majectic, but how majestic can something made out of an ironing board be?  There were also some poo-like squiggles billed as "primordial creatures" that I could have done without.  Nevertheless: genius.
 I did not pay 16 pounds to see the Damien Hirst bunkum (I know it isn't all like that), but I did see his stupid diamond-covered skull for free.  However, I did pay 16 pounds to go see the Yayoi Kusama and Alighiero Boetti exhibits.  This is a Kusama installation with a boat covered in sperm-like squiggles.
There is too much to say about Yayoi Kusama for me to say it here, considering she is in her 80s and still making art, started making art 60 years ago, has worked in every medium from film to painting to sculpture to performance art, and has lived in a nuthouse for the last 30 years.  She is a badass chick.
In the 60s she tapped into the hippy counterculture and started staging happenings.

Here she is in the 60s.  I did not like her stuff all that much, but her story gives it some weight.  There was an infinity room installation with mirrors and lights that was very fun and trippy.

Boetti, if you are at all familiar with him (which I was not) was also super prolific in many different mediums, and had a lot of conceptual stuff involving extremely labor intensive giant pieces sometimes made by many assistants, and the Tate was closing, so I really did not have the time to get into it.  Bummer.

Both of these shows are coming to New York this summer.
Here is another craft beer place.  It's a pub outside of the Euston tube station.  It has a rooftop terrace and is teeny inside.  I was trying to capture the massive, convivial crowd that gathers outside around 5pm.  I love the friendly ritual of meeting friends for a pint on the way home.  Brits are so sociable, I love it.  Everyone was clustering outside, and people were taking their beers into the adjacent park, too.  Lots of suits being worn, despite the heat.

Cider bar across the street.

Guess that's all I captured of London.  We had such a wonderful time there and packed so much into less than 3 days. I went to see Mike Birbiglia's one man show, too.  Here's a sign from the tube station.  The London transit system is the best in the world.  It's massive,  convenient, very cheap, and you just get an oyster card and transfer from bus to tube effortlessly.
I bought Babs a reindeer skin in Norway.  She doesn't really like it as much as I want her to.


Anonymous said...

Did you get a Queen's Jubilee oyster card? I kind of can't stand too much of Central London, too crowded, I love being outside of that. I haven't spent too much time in the north though. I stayed near Brixton on the last trip and it was great.

The Brits are crazy about Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, some friends and I rode two buses to get one while I gripped that I wouldn't normally cross the hall to get one.

Did you go to the Geffrye Museum? It's on my list. I blew my mind getting a bit stoned and going to the Sir John Soane Museum, which I think is similar.


beckler said...

Did not. Tried to go to the National Portrait Gallery to see the Lucien Freud exhibit, but again, would not pay 16 pounds cuz I don't like him that much.

Went to White Cube gallery and saw this lady's stuff. That was rad

Anonymous said...

Brixton seemed cool though I got irrationally mad at it after spending 2 hours tube-ing, bussing & walking to a Brixton record store that I was really excited about which ended up being closed at 1:00 on a Wednesday. AKA a time no record store should ever be closed.

I look like a sunburned piece of crap in that M&T pic!


DJ Rick said...

A Franklingasm sounds like what happens when you bite into a "Norteña" torta when El Abuelo's on their A game. Nevermind eating at the new place next to the gasmart. Despite their "badass" name, El Chingon totally sucks, and I expect it to go outta business in record time, even for that doomed space.

Congrats on making chicken liver look good. I most certainly wanna have a spot o' that someday.