Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Dalston Mill at Dalston Lane…

Here are some photos of the Dalston Mill, which is open for a short time on an empty block of land just opposite the massive Barratts housing development. You can admire the wheat field, buy drinks, lounge around in deck chairs and bake bread, plus there are a number of community events taking place. And it’s open until 10pm. Drop in while you can – it’s only around until August 9.P1010973 

And visit the Barbican’s website for more information about what’s happening there over the next week or so..



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Opening party of the East London Design Bureau in Clapton

outsidePoor old architects were hit rather hard by the slump, and many a London circle of friends has thrown a gloomy going-away party  as a result. For those with citizenship elsewhere it’s often meant simply packing up a few crates and shipping out – and bypassing the old ‘when do I leave London?’ question altogether. Nothing like a redundancy letter and a dwindling bank account to focus the mind. Continue reading

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First of all, cramming onto a packed train from Highbury & Islington to Dalston Kingsland and someone muttering ‘About 12 people on this train probably have swine flu‘.

Really not a nice  though when your head is stuffed into someone’s armpit. 

And  walking through London Fields, a vexed-looking man in a puffer jacket on his mobile saying: “Yeah the party was alright. Oh, Max was there, wearing a dress. I didn’t end up saying hello to him. I just thought, well, what kind of conversation can you have?”

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Tony’s juice stall on Broadway Market

P1000938If you’re heading to Broadway Market today, my personal tip is a fresh juice from Tony’s stall. Tony Platia ran Francesca’s Cafe for some 30  years until his shop was sold to a developer (along with a number of other properties), and he was evicted in July 2007. The local community, and his many regulars, were outraged at seeing him losing the business he had built up over so many years.

The building was occupied in December 2005 and I remember going in and talking to the squatters, who were rugged up in beanies and thick jackets, drinking tea and answering questions.

They’ll kick us out,’ said one. ‘I know that. We won’t win. But we’re making a point.’

A few days later there was a dawn raid, the squatters were evicted and the shop has been boarded up ever since; the luxury apartments yet to materialise.

Anyway, Tony picked himself up and now works at Broadway Market every Saturday selling freshly blended juices. They’re packed with oranges and ginger and all sorts of good things, and will knock any hayfever or colds or swine flu (well, maybe not that, but it can’t hurt) on the head and give you a decent hit of vitamins for the weekend. He even lets you have a taste before you buy.

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Currents of Time exhibition at Rivington Place

Shipwreck series, Zineb SediraAnyone longing for the sea in this humidity will benefit from a visit to the darkened gallery at Rivington Place in Shoreditch. French Algerian artist Zineb Sedira uses photography and video installations to depict the ships’ graveyard on the coast of Mauritiana, the departure point for many north Africans trying to reach Europe. Here, ‘floating coffins’, in the form of abandoned ships, are left to slowly crumble in the heat, and the artist’s recordings of bird calls and the rhythmic sounds of the waves emphasise the loneliness of the place. There are more than 300 ships abandoned here from a time when local officials would accept cash from international companies looking to cheaply offload unwanted vessels.

Floating Coffins still 1

As well as the still images, which are vividly illuminated on lightboxes, there is video footage of a man carefully paddling out to one of the rusty ships, which provide loot for locals. As the artist says: “Floating Coffins is a space where life, death, loss, escape, abandoned and shipwrecked journeys meet. It’s both a toxic graveyard and a source of survival and hope.”

On at Rivington Place in Shoreditch until July 27. Tel 7749 1240

.Floating Coffins 4-1The Lovers

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