Posts Tagged With: Culture

Moroccan Bazaar

Moroccan-Condiments  Moroccan-Dish Moroccan-Blankets  Moroccan-Bowls

There was a sudden splash of dazzling colour in St Anne’s Square in Manchester. Under the stubborn grey shroud of the Pennine Cloud Blanket was a buzzing Moroccan market. As I wandered through the lamps and rugs, I tried to recall my haggling skills which I learnt in the Canary islands, and practised in Dubai. I soon found out that my negotiation drive had disengaged long ago, returning to the default setting which is Polite English. ‘What’s your best price,’ is a great start but you have to follow it up with some quick thinking if you want to nail a bargain and I failed spectacularly. Twice. And all this while sneaking these pictures.  The market is in St. Anne’s Square until Saturday evening (May 5th.)

Moroccan-Kaftan  Moroccan-Curtains  Moroccan-Vase

It’s funny how I don’t carry my digital camera any more, now that I can Instagram my flat grey iPhone pictures to look like I spent hours developing them in a studio in Hoxton. Click on any image to enlarge them.

Moroccan-Bags  Moroccan-Rug

Anna Madrigal Olympia Dukakis

Tales of the City

http://www.themoroccanmarketofhandicraft.co.uk/Manchester-moroccan-market

If you missed my previous post, The Vibes has been visited by a famous author! Click on the image on the right to find out more…

Categories: Photography, Random, Travel, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 159 Comments

Gaudi Wonderland – Park Güell, Barcelona

Gaudi Park Guell Barcelona

‘A fool or a genius, time will tell,’ said Antoni Gaudi’s tutors as they handed him his degree. Spain’s greatest architect is famous for his gothic psychedelic style which predates the colourful extravagance of the sixties by decades. Park Güell, so named because it was based on the English Garden City Movement, was definitely a work of genius: an undulating pleasure garden of vibrant colour and form.

Gaudi Fountain Park Guell

Gaudi Mosaic Roof Park Guell Spain
Park Guell Barcelona Spain

Gaudi's Sala Hipóstila Park GuellGaudi Turret Park GuellWe stayed in Sitges on the coast, just outside Barcelona, and ventured into the city for a Gaudi expedition and shopping at Desigual. You have to take two escalators up a mountainside until you reach the summit which boasts sweeping views of the city, with the Sagrada Familia just a toy on the horizon.

Speaking of toys, Park Güell is like falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. A panorama of spiritual symbolism and gingerbread houses create the ideal environment to relax and enjoy the view. I listened to a busking violin as craftsmen repaired broken tiles, which betrayed the real age of the place.

After the tourists have gone and the sun starts to set, the park starts to feel magical, and you can almost see through Gaudi’s eyes. Influenced by Moorish architecture, Gaudi was a visionary, a Modernista with perhaps a penchant for mushroom tea…

Palm Trees Park GuelI was fascinated to see how Gaudi recycled unwanted ceramics, or trencadis amongst his mosaics and made something beautiful out of damaged and discarded materials. It’s incredible to think this place is a century old.

gaudi mosaic collage

Gaudi actually lived here in the park in this house which was intended to be a show home: Park Güell was originally supposed to be a housing development for rich aristocrats! I wonder if their names were Dougal, Florence and Zebedee?
Gaudi's House Park Guell Spain

Gaudi Tunnel Park Guell
Sala Hipóstila Roof Mosaic Park Guell Spain Gaudi

To see Gaudi’s work first hand is to be immersed in the colour of Spanish culture, joyful, flamboyant and bursting with energy.

Up next: Barcelona – The Sagrada Familia.

Categories: Design, Photography, Random, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Aurora Borealis Sandwich

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy character The Audience

‘It’s insane,’ said a friend of mine after watching Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy.

That’s the ultimate accolade for a show which has been described as biting into an aurora borealis sandwich. Known for the phenomenally successful Mighty Boosh, Fielding has created a colourful world of bizarre characters in psychedelic settings which boggle the mind. It’s a kaleidoscope of lysergic humour, which takes in Sgt.Pepper, the most dazzling extremes of glam rock and more than a large dollop of The Banana Splits. Remember them? Andy Warhol features as Noel’s cleaner, with a voice like Stephen Hawking and a laugh that comes as tickets. It’s a hugely entertaining visual wonderland, with artistic and cultural splashes on a canvas of indefinable humour.

It’s about to end it’s first run, so grab the final episode on Thursday 8 March on Channel Four (UK, sorry about that – emigrate) or watch the series on 4 OD but hurry because the episodes are  expiring in order.

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Edward Hopper – The Great American Realist

Edward-Hopper-The-Long-LegI want you to meet my favourite painter! He died in 1967, the year I was born. He was off my radar too, until a TV producer friend of mine dragged me to the Edward Hopper exhibition in London at the Hayward Gallery in 1981. I was 14, developing a casual interest in painting and drawing to the extent that people would shove paintbrushes in my hand or position canvases in my path.

Horribly distracted by hormones, I sleepwalked through my audience with the Great Master and acquired a few postcards and a ‘so what?’ attitude on the way out. How I…want to slap my younger self.

Edward-Hopper-sketch-for-nightwindows

Picture by Charles Ritchie

Within a few years I tuned into the quiet magic of Hopper and my fascination with his realist style led me to study him for my Art A-Level (un-slapped.) I tried to paint in his style, aping Hockney’s early photo-realistic paintings but all the while aiming for the monumental stillness of Hopper’s human subjects, which were often dwarfed by the faded grandeur of his architecture.

Edward Hopper Chop Suey

It could have been his rugged, windswept landscapes or the stark and beautiful light of New England but I was spellbound by some undefined, elusive quality. There is a sense of desolation, a profound loneliness to much of his work. It makes me think that for all our sound and fury, there is an emptiness to our existence. Hopper didn’t discriminate between an extravagant Painted Lady or the bold functionality of a light house. He saw beauty in geometry, and he loved the way sunlight paints those shapes, completing them.

Edward-Hopper_Lighthouse-Hill

Edward-Hopper-Room-in-Brooklyn-1932

His study of dereliction or vacancy is equal to his celebration of our grand achievements. The fanciful facade of a 19th Century theatre is rendered with the same wonder as a simple tenement window glowing at night. But it was the pause for breath backstage which preoccupied Hopper, the noises off. The people in his paintings are very much still-life: quiet, reflective characters captured in oils. If Film Noir had been a colour medium, it would have looked like a Hopper painting.

Edward Hopper Night Windows

The great drama of Edward Hopper’s figurative work lies in the mystery of what happened before the moment captured – or what happened after. Although his execution of the human form comes second to his masterful landscapes, the enigma lies in their sense of ennui. Each one seems to be slightly uncomfortable, anticipating something.

Edward-Hopper-Cape-Cod-Morning

Hopper found majesty in our surroundings, exploring the way we impose ourselves on the landscape. We build boxes and we put ourselves in them.

Edward-Hopper-Early-Sunday-Morning

Edward-Hopper-Highland-Lighthouse

Edward-Hopper-Cape-Cod-Afternoon

Edward-Hopper-Captain-Uptons-House

Categories: Art, Photography, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A Tour of The Northern Quarter – Part 3

 

Neon Sculpture Manchestervintage type writer keyPeter Freeman’s ‘Toy Boy’ is a beacon sculpture which was commissioned for the Northern Quarter in 1998 to draw attention away from the corporate main drag of Market Street and attract people to the independent retail of Affleck’s Palace and beyond. The wonderfully-named neon tower is currently unloved by the City Council, who left it derelict for years. It still flashes it’s animated message to skateboarders and clubbers alike, and I used some of my artistic license to repair it for this post (it’s falling apart in reality.)

frank sidebottom mural manchester

Frank Sidebottom's mural

From Oldham Street you can see the graffiti murals of Stevenson’s Square, but my favourite is this one of Frank Sidebottom, the Bontempi Entertainer of Timperley, who bought joy to millions with his unique brand of cabaret and papier-mâché head. Not to mention Little Frank. Sadly Frank Sidebottom and his creator Chris Sievey have passed away, but his TV show is still running on Channel M… after three, now: ‘it really is!’

street sculpture manchester

Street sculpture in Manchester's Northern Quarter

bird mural manchester

mural manchester

This mural is...smoking. If you get my drift.

That’s all from Bohemia for now. No more tiles from Tib Street. I’ve shown you the nicer side of Manchester, hope you liked it! Check out the other posts below.

A Tour of the Northern Quarter – Part 1

A Tour of the Northern Quarter – Part 2

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

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