A walk down Brick Lane and Shoreditch

You get out of the Shoreditch High Street station, only to be met with street art to the likes of Berlin’s graffitied utopia.

You wander around the streets, to find yourself drawn towards a parking lot.  No, not just any parking lot.  This one has two cars stacked above shipping containers, flanked with colorful furniture and industrial bins that looked like it was added there thoughtfully to add a block of color.  One of the cafes is pumping out music, you’re not sure of the genre but it sounds pretty cool and laid back.   A CRYPTOPARTY LDN catches your eye, you wander through a door thinking that it was an art gallery only to realize it was an office space.

People are staring at you.  But, they’re not really people though.

You stop for a moment to adjust your backpack.  You look behind you and notice a shop.  The colorful art and black clothes draws you in.  You go inside and admire a giant, leather hoodie dress that was handmade by the artist.  A man wearing a black collar and paper crows smiles as he explains the designer’s work.  You meander down the stairs to find yourself in an art gallery space filled with the most profane things ever drawn.

Leaving the stores behind, you cross the street.  Up ahead, a figure in graffitied and clad in gold.  You are not sure if this figure is a real person standing very still or a sculpture.  You stare unable to look away, looking for signs of life.  This was not a real person.

Shoreditch is both a creative and also a tech hub.  An ominous warning by the tech gods is posted on the walls.

Welcome to Shoreditch!

A visit back in London after 3.5 years

First impressions

It has been 3.5 years since I last left London.  I was really excited to see what the city was like after living there for two years.

So much memories have come back to me, prompted by the little things.

I remember the first time I walked up the stairs of Kings Cross St. Pancras – it was the first time going ‘above ground’ after braving the Underground for the first time wearing heels and lugging two pieces of luggage with me.  I was both tired from my long flight from Australia and delirious that I had finally made it in London. After a bit of wandering around, I stayed at a nearby hotel, had breakfast and I remember my first jetlagged ‘night’ waking up at midnight.

When I walked down familiar paths, I remember thinking that the image I had kept in my memory was different to the real thing.  I remember the first time walking to work at Regent’s Park after my first night in an apartment in St John’s Wood, with the sun shining through, giving the nearby apartments this dreamy, creamy colour.  And yet, as I traced what would have been my usual path from my old workplace back to my old apartment in St John’s Wood the reality of it had changed. There was the traffic to contend with, the walk was longer than I thought going past blocks of apartments and there was none of that dreamy, morning light as it was late in the afternoon.

My visit to London felt like it was just a visit, as if it had not been that long since I left.  There were some new sights, but nothing much has changed.  I think that the major changes have all happened within me.  The way I experienced London on my recent visit was just so different to how I first experienced the city nearly six years ago.

My visit in London was pretty low key.  I didn’t really have any particular agenda but I was pretty happy that I was able to see the city again after a few years being away.

Would I move back to London again?

I wouldn’t cancel moving back to London entirely out of my mind, but I am not really in a rush to go back.  The situation in the city today is completely different to what it was like when I lived there.  The biggest one being Brexit.  I’d rather just wait and see to see how things play out.  One thing that has changed is that since I was renting an apartment in Notting Hill, catching public transport and not really doing a lot of ‘tourist’ things I got an idea of what it would have been like to go back and live there again.

Frieze Art Fair 2017 and sculptures in the park

Unfortunately, I arrived on the last day so I was not able to experience Frieze London and Frieze Masters again. However, I saw in the programme that they now have sculptures in Regent’s Park which was an excellent way for more members of the public to view the works.

Day trip to Oxford

I missed out on visiting Oxford so decided to go again. You can easily catch the GWR which is part of the National Rail network and walk to Oxford Castle and the various colleges that are part of Oxford University.

Restaurants and Clubs of London – the Highlights! (2012-2014)

Sketch, Mayfair

Searcy’s Private Club and Restaurant, St Mary’s Axe

Hutong, the Shard

Aqua Shard, the Shard

Searcy’s Champagne Bar

Home House Private Member’s Club

Carluccio’s, St John’s Wood

Rivea London, Bvlgari Hotel, Knightsbridge

Inside a Michelin restaurant in Bethnal Green (though can’t remember the name)

Hélène Darroze, The Connaught Hotel

A dining hall, Brixton

My six month anniversary with…London

It’s odd.  I bought a return flight from London to Brisbane and was set to go back at the end of September to get my dose of Australiana before I could head back.  After weighing up the pros and cons of spending a fortnight in Brisbane (mainly Toowoomba) in September vs holding off the flight in exchange for small getaways around Europe (already booked Nice, Monaco and Morroco!), I decided to go for the latter so it looks like it will be a while until I go down under.

Continue reading My six month anniversary with…London

Generation Y Expat Q and A with Rhys Cooper

Tell us about yourself…

What can I say… I left Australia about a year ago to see where the wind would take me. And so far it’s brought me to London. I’m a photographer so I’m travelling the world to see what I can capture through my lens.

I sold/gave away everything before I left so I have no proper home and thats exactly how I want things to be.

Continue reading Generation Y Expat Q and A with Rhys Cooper

Generation Y Expat Q and A with James R.C. Smith

How did you land your first international gig?

During my university degree I took part in an international student exchange program, which took me to Kansas City, Missouri for 11 months and I absolutely loved it. The long period abroad really opened my eyes to a life away from the UK. After graduating, I took an admin assistant position in a finance office, which I was instantly bored with. I applied for all the jobs that took my fancy, including a cruise ship Videographer position. They called me in for an interview and meeting which went fantastically. A couple of weeks later, I was filming tour excursions in Acapulco.

Continue reading Generation Y Expat Q and A with James R.C. Smith

Social Media and The Shard

To be fair, The Shard did an excellent job at keeping fans and influencers interested via their Twitter and Facebook Page. The website is immaculately designed and a visual feast with its amazing photography, typography and layout. They also included a livestream attached to both the Facebook Page and the website. The one item that was not thought out too well, if at all, was the live event social media strategy.

Continue reading Social Media and The Shard

The London Book Fair: Personal Reflection

I spent the last few days at The London Book Fair as part of the press (possibly only one based in Australia?) – blogging for my own website and live tweeting under @briscreative. It was an amazing event to be a part of and definitely was not something that I expect.  I was actually thinking that it may be something like Macworld in San Francisco but with more of a focus on books and the publishing industry, but LBF went beyond and above that.  While Macworld had some repetition in their programme (apps, accessories), a deep US focused and lack of an international trade focus despite that fact that this was a tech event delving more into the lifestyle (rather than trade and industry) brand for global consumers.  From Russia to Romania, from the emerging markets of Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong, from high tech China m-publishing on smartphones to the large global publishing houses, The London Book Fair was a deep dive into the publishing, literary cultures and overall creative industries world-wide.  This year, the trade market focus was on China and I had an opportunity to properly look through what was on offer, talk to the representatives and even picked up a copy (which is, believe it or not, all about LED design manufacturing and packaging – something that I’ve been interesting in reading about due to my festival days).

There was something really personal to this event for me as well, something that was unexpected.  While I came in specifically to seek out digital solutions, innovative ways in the publishing industry and also seek out what the level of Australian involvement is, I have never realised until this event the major role that the publishing world has in my life.

There was a huge children’s section and it was amusing seeing the juxtaposition of men and women in suits discussing deals, rights and content distribution amidst the backdrop of colourful, even sparkly, children’s books titles.  I remember as part of a primary school project, having to make a children’s book which my mum has still kept and so I was having memories of the time when I did that project.

It seems as if the publishing world has played a major role in many stages of my life – from early to mid high school (Random House Publishing for their young adult series), university (McGraw Hill, Oxford University Press) and today (the App Zone run in partnership with Nook and the Wireless Industry Partnership, and all the digital and tech companies involved).

Another realisation that I had from LBF was that when it comes to content (such as published literary works or print to digital conversions), access is still a major player.  Access could be in the form of digital devices such as eReaders and smartphones vying for my attention, it could be the presence of other languages (for example, the Romanian Cultural Institute books in their native language), and other regions that are still yet to enter the mainstream such as those from the Arab world.

It wasn’t just the geographic reach, exhibitor companies as well.  It was the very presence of all these printed works.  Very obvious I know, but I remember moments late in high school and first year of university while I was doing designs set for print – seeing not just books but also seeing the presence of companies representing prepress, typography, speciality printing and more reminds me of the ‘time’ before I went all completely digital and social and when I spent quiet a bit of time fawning over art and design books.

Personally it was a great event to go to and I highly recommend attending this