This is Izzy Young and I was lucky to meet him today at my friend's place on my street. A while back Bob Dylan wrote him two songs (Izzy has the handwritten lyrics hanging on his wall at home in Sweden) and Dylan even dedciated a chapter to him in his book, even though it was four decades after he first said he would do it. When I said I was Norwegian he got excited and told me had once been interviewed by the Klassekampen paper.
I have given myself a challenge: to go out every day to take a portrait of someone I
don’t know. Click One Portrait a Day to visit the blog.
"It doesn't matter how slowly you go as long as you don't stop", someone said. Norwegian artist Pushwagner has been through some hard times in his life, but he has never stopped. He makes Keith Richard look like a Catholic boy. Today he opened his first UK show in Milton Keynes, and for anyone who knows a little bit about Milton Keynes and Pushwagner's work, they quite suite each other.
What I liked most about the TV series Treme was the music performed in the streets of New Oreans. I am skinned and can't afford to go to New Oreans, but luckily for me my street seem to be a meeting point for really good music performed live for no money - by people with passion and love for what they do. AG (photographed today) from London Fields ventured up to Chatsworth Road with his crew Sweet Combination and played some wonderful songs.
I might have touched the subject before, but it's worth repeating. Most British guys do not to wash their hands after being to the toilet. So, next time you meet a Brit, think about how long it is since he washed his hands and what he has been holding for the last few hours when you shake his hands. Then, the few who wash their hands, most of them only sprinkle some water on one hand for a couple of seconds. Anyway. Water is more than hygiene. In Munich by Haus der Kunst there is a river with an eternal wave which attracts surfers every day. Einar lives in Munich and has been coming here most weekends and holidays to surf for the last five years. In Europe he prefers the beaches in Portugal and he wants to go to Indonesia. Nias, perhaps?
Susanne told me she has worked at Ommerborn Klause (pub) in Bergisch-Gladbach forever. Pop by for a glass of Gaffel Kölsch if you ever happen to be in the area. You can even smoke there. If you haven't got a lighter, she will give you one with a torch. A very handy tool when you are coming back from the pub late at night and need to see the keyhole on your door...
Victoria and Jacob on Chatsworth Road in east London. They are celebrating my 300th portrait on this blog.
It has always annoyed me how some people complain how expensive certain fruits are - specially the exotic ones that have travelled far or familiar fruits grown the organic way - but then buys a pricey cake or plenty of drinks in a bar without raising an eyelid. Today in Tropiganica, run by Frankie (in the photo) and her brother, a guy came in and thought 70 pence was too much for an Ugli. He left empty handed and some vitamins poorer.
Man is most happy when hunting an animal or making things grow in land that belongs to him. It is wonderful to sew a seed, look after the soil, watch it grow, harvest and eat it. Unfortunately not many people get to experience this activity in this day and age. After the industrial revolution and before computers many had physical jobs to replace the farming and hunting activities. Then everyone got job titles without any meaning and went to the gym to replace the farming and hunting activities. Some people use this spare energy to fight against the system on MayDay/Labour Day. Ibrahim is a proud supporter of Labour Day and fought hard for labourers rights when he was younger. He is also a Cypriot and he has lived in London for 54 years.
Many people go to private views to drink free alcohol and talk non sense. Sometimes the level of sense equals what the politicians talk about in the Parliament on a normal day - talking talking talking for the reason of having an opinion. In my opinion a piece of art is not very good if I have to read a page of text explaining what the art is about. It gets even worse if they quote someone like Roland Barthes , Jean Baudrillard or Susan Sontag because they feel it adds credibility. I just want to experience the art and I want to enjoy looking at it. This is exactly what I will do tonight at the exhibition Shura (in photo) is working on in The Dentist on Chatsworth Road in Clapton. From what I saw it looks promising!
Pedro Boxing Club in Clapton seems to appeal to celebrities of many sorts. Elizabeth Taylor supported it, David Cameron probably read about it in the 'how to stay street-wise'-page in the Eton Allumni Paper before he visited in 2010, Millionaire Ben Way made a good appearance in the Secret Millionaire and now Brian Paddick is trying to make up for all the kids he arrested during the 30 years he served in the London police force by lauching his manifesto in the run to become the next London Mayor. Do you think he will remember Pedro's need for funding if he gets elected?
In England parents give their kids crisps for lunch, and sometimes for breakfast too judging by what I have seen. In Norway when I grew up the teacher would send me home if I brought crisps in to school. An apple on the other hand was a very common sight. In England kids are not encouraged to play outdoors in a nursery, and climbing in trees is strictly forbidden. They don't even have trees. In Norway kids are encouraged to climb trees and icy rocks. The Norwegian nursery teacher I saw in a programme yesterday said it is healthy for kids to fall over and even get hurt sometimes. Here is a video I wish British politicians and nursery teachers would see. The problem is that I don't think they will understand it, and I don't understand the average Brits attitude towards weather and outdoor activities. Timur Karakas (left) is the owner of M.F.R. - a fruit and veg shop - on Chatsworth Road in London. He is having a well-deserved break outside his shop with Ayer Ozyureki from the drycleaner across the road.
In Hackney, London, there are coffee bars popping every week. One more hip than the other, and God forbid if you don't know what flat white is when you order or if you order an americano instead of long black. I llke my coffee black and strong, and to be honest I make a pretty good one using my AeroPress. It was very exciting today when I discovered Camden Coffee Shop run by George, who is originally form Cypres. He has been running the Camden Coffee Shop for 34 years, using the same equipment that someone gave to him as a gift. He drinks his coffee the real way; strong espresso and no sugar. George told me the origin of coffee is Djima in Ethiopia, which I bought half a kilo of. He was also slagging off the coffee chains' mocca. Not the real thing, he said.
I recently discovered an amazing short-film by the streetartist Blu. The animation painted on public walls blew my mind. Now, I am pretty excited to see the end result of Jo Peel's new project on the wall outside my office, Village Underground, in London. She is making an animated short-film using the famous brick-wall as canvas. In total she will be spending three weeks on the lift up and down, spraying, painting and photographing.
Mr Singh with his grandchildren outside his shop H&Son on Chatsworth Road, where he has been living for the last 38 years.
Sorry for the lack of portraits lately! Some of you have been asking me about them. Even the biggest writer has experienced writing blocks, your favourite musicians have done shit albums and I have experinced photography block due to lack of confidence lately. It happens to all of us. I don't think Simon the painter has any problems focusing on his art. He told me to hurry up so he could back to painting.
In the old days benches were designed with only one usage in mind; to sit on it. Over the last decade or so they have also been designed to keep people away. My favourite bench is the German beer garden benches like the one Lynn and Claire are sitting on. Lynn is a weaver and Claire is her intern.
Libby is a lovely lady living close to me. I met her today to look at some old photographs of the area I am doing a project on. It was inspiring to meet a great grandmother who talked about photoshop and which camera was the best out of Canon G10 and G12.
The days of computer geeks as rock stars are numbered. For the last decade or so they have been riding on a wave bigger they could even have dreamed of. I predict the new rock star over the next decade or so will be people with old fashioned craft skills. Now people want to slow down, learn, appreciate skills and enjoy quality. Brian Walker (in the photo) is the local signwriter on my street and he was just finishing of Lucky News when I walked past today.
Pink seems to be a colour that people have a strong opinion of. My wife was once told off by a woman in the street for dressing our son in pink, in certain places some men seem awkward when they talk to me if I wear a pink jumper and today a guy came in and said my portraits are great but he could not understand why I had chosen a pink backdrop. It was not good he said. Black or grey is much better I was told. I think I will stick to pink even more now, so I can have some more stories to tell in the future. This is T.D.O. Flaherty. He parked his electric wheelchair outside my pop-up studio and came in for a portrait today.