Posts Tagged With: Culture

Media City

Manchester, Hollywood of the North. Once a faceless playset of Legoland offices and toy block apartments, Salford Quays has emerged as a creative hub of TV studios, theatres and galleries. Architecturally daring and visually stunning (be there at dusk) this is the proof of Second City status. You can also get really cheap jeans here, too.

Categories: Design, Photography, Travel, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Midnight at The Opera House

Cats at The Opera House ManchesterMuch as I’d like to show you some pictures of Cats the musical, there were no cameras allowed and particularly vigilant staff hovering over me for the entire show. The evening was spectacular, a riot of colour and the second half conquered it’s first-night nerves for a storming performance. The British show, currently touring in the UK is also the longest running touring show in the States and is based on T.S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

T.S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Ben Palmer as Munkustrap Cats Musical UK Tour Photo Alessandro Pinna

Ben Palmer as Munkustrap

Cats the Musical poster

Cats the Musical poster

The Opera House Manchester

Spooky Old Theatre

The Opera House Manchester

The Opera House Manchester

Categories: Cats, Design, Photography, Random, Travel, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Under Big Ben

Emerging from one of the most impressive tube stations, deep beneath Westminster, we stood in the shadow of Big Ben and before long we were wandering off the beaten track, away from the tourists.

Westminster Tube Sign London The VibesPalace of Westminster The VibesThe Palace of Westminster is an impressive riot of Gothic fakery, every buttress and spire insisting on it’s medieval origins. The Houses of Parliament are a testament to the great Victorian illusion that the establishment was rather more established than it really was. But just behind the familiar sight of Big Ben is a quiet empty park free from coach parties and cameras.

Victoria Tower Gardens Westminster London The VibesStone Lion Westminster The VibesBuxton Memorial Fountain victoria Tower Gardens London The VibesI had no idea Victoria Tower Gardens were hidden behind the bustle of buses and mounted police. A single stone folly, the Buxton Memorial Fountain stands on the great stretch of green which runs parallel to the Thames.

Designed in 1865, the fountain has been moved, ransacked, and renovated. It’s original statues have been stolen, but it remains a monument to the abolition of slavery in The British Empire. (Although there are some clubs in Vauxhall where slavery is alive and well and something of a vocation!)

The metal spire is unusually colourful for the period and has more in common with Gaudi than the grim preserve of the Victorians.

Stone lions guard the fountain which used to spout drinking water under the beautiful vaulted marble roof.I can see the place is more suited to a Vogue fashion shoot now, than the pomp and pageantry of the past.

London fizzes with energy, so finding an oasis like this is a relief, even if the sun is hiding and May feels more like November.
Westminster Folly interior The VibesBuxton Memorial Fountain Victoria Tower Gardens London The Vibes
Big Ben London Clock Tower The VibesSovereign's Entrance, Palace of westminster The VibesMark Wallis London Red Telephone Box The Vibes

“Hello? London? Big Ben? Sovereign’s Entrance? Are you avin a larf?”

Way Out Sign Westminster Underground Station The VibesLondon Underground Station Architecture The Vibes

The Palace of Westminster The VibesThis is why I love London. You can wander just a few yards and the scenery around you is transformed, from Nu Industrial Deco to Gothic Revival in a matter of seconds. I think I made the first one up, but the Capital is alive with hidden wonders, and taking a wrong turn is the thing to do.

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Shaking Pedestals – David Hoyle at The Tate

David Hole at The Tate Modern with Picasso

There’s a cliché that people in designer clothes attend art galleries to appreciate the Greats, making worthy appraisals while stroking their chins. David Hoyle arrives in front of a Picasso in a dress made of pens and all hushed reverence is drowned by laughter from an audience who are eager to see the great works through David’s eyes. There are even a few clichés amongst us, caught up in the crowd and slightly bemused as they are swept along in a refreshingly surreal tour of the famous gallery.

David Hoyle at the Tate Modern
“I’m interested to know what the girl who modelled for this actually looked like,” says David regarding the Picasso before us, voicing our own unconscious, secret thoughts. It’s this delicious rebellion against the unthinking, accepted perception of art that unites us all as we move from one piece to another.

David Hoyle at The Tate Modern

“This one is very…blue,” says David, unable to contain his own mirth and moves swiftly on. “Next!” A Henry Moore-style sculpture is similarly presented. “I wonder if this piece came out of the kiln looking quite how the artist expected it to?” But this isn’t irreverence for the sake of it: David is an accomplished artist himself and goes on to do a painting of a member of the audience right before our eyes and donates the work to the gallery.

David Hoyle donates a painting to the Tate

‘What does this make you think of?” asks David, indicating a plastic plant spray in a glass display case with what appears to be a selection from the B&Q gardening range. “Arts Council grants,” I reply a little too quickly. Scathing, hilarious and thought-provoking, David Hoyle himself is perhaps the most striking piece in the Tate. Crackling with spontaneous wit, he is an unpredictable splash of colour, the painted shaker of pedestals.

Mark Wallis and David Hoyle at The Tate

David Hoyle can be found on Facebook.

Categories: Art, Photography, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mount Olympus: Origin of the Olympic Ideal

greek statue close up museum mount olympus the vibes

Home of the gods and the origin of the Olympic ideal. Mount Olympus was the seat of Zeus, and the games were held in his honour at Olympia. A permanent crown of angry clouds reign above the peaks, ample inspiration for legends and myth.

clouds above mount olympus greece
I’ve stood at the foot of this mountain gazing in awe, wondering if Spielberg was inspired by such an imposing view. You can imagine how the ancient Greeks saw gods in these clouds.

ancient greek carving museum mount olympus the vibes
Exploring the mountain itself is an adventure: wild boar bigger than cars, shrines, snakes and giant waterfalls.

mount olympus greece view from olympic beach the vibes

In the shadow of the mountain is a museum, containing art, jewellery and sculpture so sophisticated you would think it was crafted in modern times. Walking round with my mouth open, I was amazed at how advanced ancient Greek culture was. It’s easy to see how this was the cradle of modern civilisation.

ancient greek statue museum mount olympus the vibes

ancient greek earthenware pot museum mount olympus the vibes

ancient greek mosaic greece mount olympus museum the vibes
Greek culture is rich and colourful, and wandering from Mount Olympus down to Olympic Beach you can see how a different kind of deity dominates. The churches have brightly decorated interiors, adorned with icons, murals and relics.

greek church mural katerini greece
If there isn’t a church to hand, there are shrines everywhere. Even on the beach!

shrine olympic beach greece the vibes

shrine interior olympic beach the vibes

Beach Bar, Olympic Beach greece the vibes
We finally found some holy wine…(don’t run, Panos!)

tyre flower displays olympic beach the vibes

beach sports olympic beach greece the vibes
Angela Merkel was spotted swimming in the sea…

Sea life, Olympic beach greece the vibes
Greece is a wonderful country which I’ve visited many times. Unfortunately Germany is hell-bent on destroying this proud nation, imposing draconian sanctions on the people, causing widespread poverty and suffering. For some bizarre reason, the western media portrays the Greek people as deserving of punishment, and nothing could be more wrong. The people unfairly pay the price of their corrupt government (Spain and Italy seem exempt from similar penalties: I mean, really. Italy!) As Sea Monster Merkel spies oil in the Greek sea, you can rest assured she will make the nation a slave to her appetites.

Despite the economic upheaval, tourism is alive and well, and you can support the Greek people by taking your vacation there. Take a look at my trip to idyllic Santorini here.

Categories: Art, Photography, Travel, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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