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London
By Justin Barnwell
29 July 2010





It's hot and I'm in London. I woke early to the sound of rubbish trucks collecting garbage on the streets below Gary's third level apartment in London's East. With cool creeping into the East for the last ten years or so its a melting pot of creative types all out doing each other in their flamboyant uniqueness. Today the melting pot was in full swing with a balmy 28 degrees predicted. I donned my shorts, grabbed my sunnies and hit the street in search of coffee. Gary had mentioned a place called the FoodHall on Old Street that is a foodies paradise with freshly baked bread, gourmet snacks and good coffee. Two muffins and a large flat white later, it didn't disappoint.



Tube map in hand, a must for anyone including Londoner's, with London's tube system being a complex maze of colored lines of underground tunnels connecting the 8 million people or so using the world's oldest underground railway network. I took the Piccadilly line down to South Kensington then strolled my way up Cromwell road past the V&A gallery and Natural History museum then darted up to Hyde Park. I was en-route to the Serpentine Gallery, a 1930's converted tea house in a prime position by the lake. Celebrating it's 40th anniversary they were showing the work of the 2003 Turner Prize winner Wolfgang Tillmans. The show was an interesting insight into the German artists/Photographer's conceptual life and figurative expressions. Once again I was cultured in London, a re-occurring theme.

 

With the sun beating down on such a beautiful day i took a seat lakeside and ordered myself a ham sandwich and a tumbler of pimms. Now thats pretty English yeah? I sat and observed young lovers in row boats, ducks scavenging for food, school groups buying ice creams and swimmers enjoying a dip in the fenced off bathing area of the Serpentine overlooking the bridge that splits Hyde park and Kensington Gardens. It took me another hour or so to make my way out of the 350 acre greener-age and back down the tunnel into the airless underground of London's tube.







I met up with a good friend Dawn in Brick Lane, just a short walk from where i was staying in Shoreditch. Brick Lane is cool, with it's name coming from the former brick and tile manufacturing that the area was first known for. Now it's a hub of young party people meeting for a drink in the various pubs and bars that are dotted in and around the Indian restaurants and they're employees promising you that that will look after you with a 20% discount…mmm not too sure about that. Dawn took me to her favorite place in the Brick Lane area, 1001 in Dray Walk, a private road off Brick Lane. With a handful of bars, shops and restaurants in the lane being packed with people enjoying the balmy weather they even had bouncers or security guards on entry of the lane. 1001 has a lot to offer being a coffee shop, dj bar, food hall and general hang out place for people in the know. Being such a great day the majority of the people had ditched the comfy sofas littered upstairs over looking the open planned space and filtered out into the lane way below if unlucky enough not to snatch a spot on one of the communal picnic benches.



Dawn and I talked photography as we sipped our Desperados on ice, a tequila infused beer that has a little more strength than the average lager. She talked of how the rage of people photography, Satorialist style was overwhelming in the East with every second person wanting to document the differing character styles that make up this creative community. I then asked if I could take her portrait…



 

Not feeling like Indian cuisine Dawn recommended we head to Kingsland Road for some Vietnamese. Still having fond memories of my asian cuisine from Thailand I was well up for the idea. Kingsland road is littered with good food. Many Vietnamese restaurants as well as the standard kebab and fried chicken late night options that are EVERYWHERE in London. We chose a place a called Viet Grill with it's newly renovated French colonial look and scatted tables around a communal bench. After a plate of fresh spring rolls with Viet Grill dipping sauce to start we shared a sizzling garlic beef dish and garlic prawn bowl with rice and will again recommend this bustling Vietnamese restaurant to others.





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Keywords: Din, Enjoying, Fresh, Hot, Love, Lucky, London


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