Carnaby Street and Kingly Court, London/UK.
The famous cheesecake @ Cakes & Bubbles, Café Royal.
There’s this “pool” in front of the hotel which is actually an art installation called “Silence” (by Tadao Ando). Two trees sit in a raised granite-edged pool while atomisers hidden at the base of the trees create clouds of water vapour for fifteen seconds every fifteen minutes. The glass lenses below the surface of the water contain fibre optics that illuminate the basin by night.
The feature was jointly commissioned by Grosvenor and the Connaught hotel. The street improvements are based on the understanding that the space between buildings is as important as the buildings themselves. Ever-increasing traffic volume, and a mass of unnecessary signage and other ‘clutter’, have diminished the quality of London’s streets. The works aim to enhance the experience for all those who live, work and visit, particularly pedestrians.
“he left no time to regret
kept his dick wet with his same old safe bet
me and my head high
and my tears dry, get on without my guy
you went back to what you know
so far removed from all that we went through
and I tread a troubled track
my odds are stacked, I’ll go back to black
We only said goodbye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her and I go back to
I go back to black”
Last month saw my first foray into zone 1 since march; four months only going out to hunt for toilet paper and alcohol 70%. Non essential shops had received the green light to open but most people were still working from home. The streets were empty enough to give a desolate, post-apocalyptic vibe to one of the most populated supercities on the planet. Had my first coffee out of the house and it was good. The tart was a mistake; I am always falling for the most flashy sweet trap. Should have gone for a croissant instead.
It was nice to be able to prance about not bumping into people or dodging pushchairs, take pictures free of white vans and not to feel overwhelmed and rushed by the crowds. But the city needs workers, shoppers and tourists to thrive; without people breathing life into its crowded arteries, it withers and die.
Sometimes a whole day’s worth of photos is lost because the lighting wasn’t right and I try to save them with filters/editing only to make everything look even worse. Some of them are occasionally dumped on Instagram stories, but most just take up space on the hard drive until I finally press delete.
But sometimes I give these pictures a last glance before consigning them to the bin and I’m transported to the day they were taken. Coming home from a rare face-to-face work meeting (they always make me terribly anxious) and looking up to take in the contrasting architecture around Liverpool Street station. The beautiful vapor trails left in the sky by planes leaving London City airport. The inviting lights in the cafes, tempting offers of a couple moments holding a hot flat white on a late autumn afternoon.
Using new boots as a means of transport to walk around town, Scritti Politti on the mp3 player, going to check out a new tearoom (or rather, the tearoom cake). Admiring old painted signs, leftovers from businesses that no longer exist (here they are called “ghost signs” and I find it poetic). A Saturday afternoon in London Bridge tasting artisan pasta + Italian beer and then going for cookies at Borough Market. A Sunday afternoon in Shoreditch, December’s colorful lights twinkling in the east and doing Christmas shopping in Spitalfields: Uniqlo coats and Deciem skincare, after several helpings of potato chips @ Flat Iron.
I’ve been missing my boring little life. Simple yet precious days, my favorite places with my favorite people at my favorite city, registered in bad photos that I’ll keep anyway because someday they might be the only reminders of the mundane things that used to make me happy.