The heart of London

Come back with me. Come back to the summer. To London.

An alien metropolis, heavy with feet. Sawdust, perfume, cooking, suncream, something citrus, the incense of youth is on the air. The breeze is humming with it. Like mitosis, a slow frenzy multiplies out from corners of unremarkable groves and lanes. Concrete trembles with the heat and deep sutures open into the grey belly of the city as its metamorphosis unfolds. Beneath flat steel and and geometric structure, colour is starting to show. For all its year long busy sins, a vibe is in the breeze, pulsating like a bass. The hot glow of the sun spreads a message as thick as treacle over towers and glass roofs: Summer.

London in full effect. The mouths of traders, slouchers, punters, tourists. A din of every sound you could never imagine mixed into a dizzying blend of colour. Mismatching socks, 2 day stubble, high-vis vests, sleeveless shirts, bronzing skin, hula-hoops, cracked skate decks, barefoot, old denim, a small dog, gossamer dresses, cups of cold juices. Limbs arranging and rearranging into infinite patterns of people. All the dull lines are warped in the heat, uniforms away. Top buttons are wide, neck ties forgotten. Cleaners stripped to the waist. Now a decorated push bike, now a grown man on a foot scooter, everyone making friends with everyone else’s dog. Great backdrops of mellow Embankment and a cacophonous Shoreditch. Infinite visual tricks, nothing sits still, not one ordinary thing is untouched by the glow.

And I can’t get enough. My eyes are trying to burn it all to memory on a sheet of colour negative film. And Behold! How foreign does it seem from our winter hive, like a land forgotten? A time machine from the photolab this week. How much I love my film, I cannot even begin. For the disorderly chaos of these images, they simply hold all the answers for me. Thinking of summer, with chin in and collar up I can only anticipate what lies in store in another 6 months.


Frame On! December

This month’s festive frame is so on two levels! I have no doubt you are already deeply admiring my Yuletide garnish ( i get but one chance a year after all. ) Seasonally attired as it is, this print is from an exhibition curated as part of an entirely separate festivity.

This year’s Spanish Film and Arts Festival took place over the last month with screenings in multiple venues throughout the city. In true Spanish fashion,  not content with just showing feature length films, the festival exposed its roots through short films, animation, live music, house-warmings, exhibitions, food and topped off with Goya nominated diamonds of cinema. And in true Spanish fashion, everything was everywhere at every time! What could complete the buzz better than running from flamenco, through a freezing Christmas thoroughfare, to arrive at a warm screening already in full swing.

This image of Omar Arráez is just about the full stop of a reflexive portrait of the artist! At once a sculptor, illustrator and painter, his portraits capture the most divinely detailed stories of unknown faces, and all on paper. By pressing, pinching and shading his page he quite literally writes his subject’s story from ceiling to floor. The process warps the paper and it curls from the wall bursting with physicality and embedded with wrinkles and lifelines and stories. For me I would love to see one out in the sun for a few years, to watch it age with its own grace as the subjects within do.

The exhibition is running for a few more weeks at the Axolotyl Gallery on Dundas Street, and also as a collaborative exhibition at the cosy FilmHouse Bar. Better step in out of the cold.



Continuing our winter round-up, here is a selection of some live music i have been shooting between here and Glasgow for the Skinny the last few months. 

Gruff Rhys @ The Bongo Club

Muscles of Joy @ Orán Mór

Gillian Welsh @ Clyde Auditorium

The Dirty Dozen with Clean George IV and Riley from Aberfeldy