Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve travel info from Transport For London

Click here to down TFL's New Years Eve travel information leaflet.

here to download TFL's New Year's Eve information leaflet - cover.

Daily Photo - Finished

Photograph by
Tiki Chris © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Daily Photo - December was a blur

December was a blur
Photograph by
Tiki Chris © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Daily Photo - December night at Exmouth Market

December night at Exmouth Market
Photograph by
Tiki Chris © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Daily Photo - Fairy Lights

Fairy Lights
Photograph by
Tiki Chris © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Daily Photo - We Three King

We Three King
Photograph by
Tiki Chris © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Daily Photo - Santa's day off

Santa's day off
Photograph by
Tiki Chris © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Christmas from ontoLondon

Christmas at Spitalfields
Photograph by
Tiki Chris © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Daily Photo - Xmas Bazaar

Xmas Bazaar
Photograph by
Tiki Chris © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Daily Photo - And a partridge in a peartree?

And a partridge in a peartree?

Photograph by
Tiki Chris © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Daily Photo - Spitalfields Nativity

Spitalfields Nativity
Photograph by
Tiki Chris © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Daily Photo - Crib Service at Our Most Holy Redeemer

Crib Service at Our Most Holy Redeemer
Photograph by
Tiki Chris © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

London's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Fairy Tale of London
Posted by Emiana
Thursday, December 21, 2006

How do you know it’s the Christmas season in London? Other than the calendar and the lights on Oxford Street, there are a few telltale signs. I want to share the most important ones with you.

Photograph by Emiana © 2006

here for complete post.

Legendary record shop to close - scavengers take note

Record collectors' shop faces the music
After more than 30 years in business, Europe's biggest second-hand record shop is in the throes of a huge closing-down sale.
By Robert Plummer, Business reporter
BBC News
Published: 2006/12/20 23:19:11 GMT

Beanos, in the south London suburb of Croydon, sent shockwaves through the world of music collecting when it announced in July that it was no longer profitable and would have to shut.

here for complete article.

Londonist post sums up "radioactive saga"

Wednesday Night at the London Polonium
Posted by
December 20, 2006

The radioactive saga continues with news bouncing all over the Internet this evening, but none of it seeming to get us any closer to who done it.

here for complete post.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

ontoLondon Weekly Photo to be Daily Photo!

Recently, I've been having a problem with ontoLondon's Weekly Photo - Too many photographs from which to choose! So starting tomorrow, the Weekly Photo will be the Daily Photo. You can expect the same standard of photography, just now on a daily basis.

And as with the Weekly Photo, I welcome reader contributions. If interested in submitting a photograph of London to this blog, click
here for details.

Thank you,
Tiki Chris

Monday, December 18, 2006

How was the Pogues concert?

Last night's Pogues concert - the first of three nights at London's Brixton Academy - was good fun. The band was tight and at ease. The audience, a jolly lot of drunks. Shane MacGowan, toddling and mumbling between songs, delivered as heartfelt and gritty a performance as only he could.

Honestly, the sound was terrible. But, no one seemed to mind as virtually everyone in the sold-out venue knew all the lyrics. Of goosebumpy noteworthiness was the crowd's sing-along drowning out the band during "Dirty Old Town," a song which (along with "Fairytale of New York") I have been whistling and humming all groggy morning.

here for information about Brixton Academy and the Pogues tour.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Viet Hoa: authentic Vietnamese food in Hoxton

I recently had dinner at one of my all-time London faves - Viet Hoa on Kingsland Road in Hoxton.

When I lived in London from 2001-2003, I visited Viet Hoa quite often, even though I lived on the other side of this sprawling town. Now, that I live a short bus ride away, it's taken me half a year to get back. Much of the reason it's taken so long is that there's a perfectly adequate Vietnamese place near my flat (I'll save it for another review).

Despite having a great local, I'm nevertheless shocked it took me so long to make my way back. Viet Hoa is an exceptional restaurant and well worth a trip of nearly any length. Of particular note are their yummy spring rolls. Generally, I'm not a big fan of springrolls, but these deep-fried morsels really hit the spot with Viet Hoa's distinct and subtle mix of flavours. Their sizzling pork dish is a winner too!

Viet Hoa is a huge but very humble restaurant. Service is adequate but nothing special. It should also be noted that Viet Hoa gets packed to the rafters practically every night - rather amazing considering the abundance of Vietnamese restaurants within earshot on Kingsland Road. Still, I must recommend Viet Hoa even if there's a wait involved; some time back in '02 or '03, I tried one of the nearby competitors, an act which left me feeling like a traitor and regretting that I had eaten a sub-excellent meal when I was so close to phenomenal Viet Hoa. Also, many of the regulars are night prowling Hoxton hipsters. So if you go on the early side of the evening (note: they close after lunch and open again around 5:30pm), you might have the place to yourself.

Old Street is the nearest tube stop, but it's still a hike. However, there's a bus stop right outside Viet Hoa, providing quick and easy access from Old Street and Liverpool Street stations.

Viet Hoa
74 Kingsland Road
E2 8DP
Phone: 020 7729 8293
Fax: 020 7729 8293

Saturday, December 16, 2006

How was the Frost Fair?

Emiana and I took a stroll through the Frost Fair last night, had mulled wine, heard some nice tunes. Nothing extraordinary but with all the fairy lights and festive atmosphere it was kind of nice.

Here are some pics:

Photography by Emiana © 2006

Which way to Brick Lane?

Bid to name Tube stop Brick Lane
Aldgate East Tube station should be renamed Brick Lane, a local councillor has said.
BBC News
Published: 2006/12/15 15:50:28 GMT

"It would be a fitting tribute to one of the most recognised landmarks in Britain ... a haven for immigrant communities, from the French Huguenots to Jewish people to today's mainly Bangladeshi community."

here for complete article.

Making some cash [on Brick Lane]
Photograph by
Emiana © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
for details.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Frost Fair 2006

This weekend's Frost Fair - London’s largest free winter event - will be held outside the Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe. This will be Southwark Council’s fourth Frost Fair along the Thames.

Festivities include:
Husky Dog Sledding
Thames Cutters Boat procession
Adult and children workshops in Mongolian yurts

Other attractions include ice sculpting, a winter market with 40 stalls selling food and gifts, street entertainment, bands and choirs singing favourite Christmas tunes, and a beer tent selling festive food and drink, such as roasted chestnuts and mulled wine.

Opening Times:
Friday 15 Dec 4pm - 9pm
Saturday 16 Dec 10am - 9pm
Sunday 17 Dec 10am - 6pm

Click here for more details.

Weekly Photo (14 December 2006)

Tis the Season
Photograph by
Tiki Chris © 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

Beyond Covent Garden

Outer London 'needs more tourism'
More should be done to attract tourists to places outside central London, a London Assembly report has said.
BBC News
Published: 2006/12/14 08:26:38 GMT

"Outer London is home to a range of attractions that are less obvious but just as worth a visit as those that central London has to offer. If the outer London boroughs are promoted, visitors will come."

here for complete article.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Mandatory reading for London's expat community!

Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox is mandatory reading for any non-English residents of England - or anyone who plans to be here for an extended stay. I wish I'd read this years ago!

Really I don't see why anthropologists feel they have to travel to remote corners of the world and get dysentery and malaria in order to study strange tribal cultures with bizarre beliefs and mysterious customs, when the weirdest, most puzzling tribe of all is right here on our doorstep.
- Kate Fox

Wave and pay with Barclays

Barclays eyes Oyster credit card
A new contactless credit card combined with a London transport Oyster card, is to be launched by Barclays.
BBC News
Published: 2006/12/13 14:46:53 GMT

The idea is that users will be able to use the "wave and pay" card to in shops with special new card readers, such as newsagents, pubs, and coffee bars, as well as car parks and vending machines.

here for complete article.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

How was the Velasquez exhibition?

Fantastic ... except for the large crowd of other admirers with the same idea to see the first UK exhibition that traces "the career of one of the very greatest painters - Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660)."

For 10:30am on a Sunday, I was overwhelmed by the number of people crammed into the four large rooms featuring 46 paintings f
rom Velázquez's beginnings in Seville, to his move to Madrid and appointment as court painter to Philip IV, to his two trips to Italy, and to his final days and knighthood. Of course, it's good to see people eager to view great art and, honestly, negotiating the maze of humanity was a small price to pay to see these works under one roof.

Thumbs up!

Click here for more information from the National Gallery's Velázquez webpage.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Weeeeeeeeeeeeee at the Tate Modern

Finally made it over to the Tate Modern to give Carsten Höller's slides a whirl. Too much fun and totally worth queueing up for.

Photography by Emiana © 2006

Click here for more info on the Tate Modern website.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Naughty Santa sacked from Harrods

Father Christmas sacked over offensive remarks
HARRODS sacked a Father Christmas for his offensive remarks, the world-famous London department store said.
From correspondents in London
December 07, 2006 12:00am

He had asked one family of South Asian origin whether they should be shopping at a less prestigious supermarket instead ... He also asked in a lewd fashion whether their teenage daughter fancied staying and sitting on his knee.

Click here to read the complete article.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Liquid doughnut in a can

Last week, I mentioned how a visit to Clark's Pie and Mash confirmed that I seem to be adapting well to local ways. Well this week, I must confess that full acculturation is still not imminent.

Most times that I've been to Clark's, there's been someone ordering a cream soda with his meal (and it is invariably a his sort of thing). And more than a couple of times, I've overheard nostalgic conversations about growing up and going to the local pie and mash and having a cream soda.

So, during my last visit to Clark's, I requested a cream soda with my large pie and mash. What I got was a twelve-ounce can of Ben Shaws'. I popped it open and took a sip. To my recollection, I don't think that I had ever tasted such a concentration of sugar - especially in liquid form. Ben Shaws' Cream Soda tastes like a cream-filled doughnut.

Now, before you start with Homer Simpson-style drooling at the thought of a liquid doughnut, allow me to state that it's not as appetizing as it may sound. Something about that taste paired with that texture really threw me off and, at least to my inexperienced taste buds, did not complement my savoury pie and mash at all. Oh well, I gave it a try.
Next time at Clark's, I'll stick with having a cup of tea.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Weekly Photo (7 December 2006)

Naughty Winter Wonderland
Photograph by Emiana
© 2006
Interested in contributing a photograph of London to this blog? Click
here for details.

Tornado in Northwest London

Six hurt as tornado hits street
Six people were injured and about 100 houses were damaged when a tornado swept through a London street leaving a trail of destruction.
BBC News
Published: 2006/12/07 14:28:08 GMT

Rooftops were ripped off and cars were badly damaged as the freak weather hit Kensal Rise in north-west London.

here for complete article.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Artistic Vandals II at Sartorial Contemporary Art

Artist Vandals II ...
Curated by James Jessop
Sartorial Contemporary Art
December 12-23, 2006 and January 16-20, 2007
Open Monday to Saturday 1:30pm-6:30pm

The work of these artists is rooted, to some degree, in their common motivation: graffiti. It’s also bound by the vision of Jessop himself, a graffiti artist with Saatchi credentials. But Artistic Vandals isn’t a genre show, or a political show, or a cult show. It could be said it’s a show unified by its very diversity. Whatever it is, it’s very definitely a show of work that’s energy is carrying it to new places.

here for more information.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How was the Morricone concert?

Saturday's second and final night of Ennio Morricone's rare appearances at Hammersmith Apollo Theatre was brilliant! Lots of flare. Plenty of encores. Standing ovations from a full house of appreciative fans (many of whom were Italian and ecstatic).

Although his music is so closely associated with the films he scored (more than 300!), his pieces stood on their own without a cinematic backdrop and allowed this listener's mind to roam a range of moods from solemn circumspection to impending doom to raw courage.

Conducting the ninety-plus member Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra and the seventy-plus Crouch End Festival Chorus, which featured soprano Susanna Rigacci and pianist Gilda Buttà, Morricone was in full command and appeared fit as a fiddle at his 78 years of age.

Trafalgar Square Christmas tree to be lit 7 December

HRH The Crown Princess of Norway to light Norwegian Christmas tree in London
The 60th Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square will be lit on Thursday 7 December by HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. The Mayor of Oslo and HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway will also be present at the ceremony.
Norway (the official site of Norway in the UK)
Viewed on December 5, 2006

The ceremony, which starts at 5.45pm, will include carols sung by the Choir of St Martin-in-the-Fields and renowned Norwegian boys choir Sølvguttene (Boys of Silver). The tree will be lit by HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway in the presence of HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, the Mayor of Oslo and the Lord Mayor of Westminster.

here for more details.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Box Bears

Just in time for the holidays ...

At the Clerkenwell Green Association's recent Made in Clerkenwell event, I met Sharon McCormack and her little creations - the Box Bears, which seem like sweet gifts to consider for newborns and collectors.

All Box Bears are original designs and made od the finest English or Schulte Mohair with English glass eyes, wood wool, poly-fibre, and pre-bagged steel shot and either cotter pins or nuts and bolt joints. Each is named after a city, town or place in the UK and comes with a “box bears” label sewn in and a swing tag with the bear’s name and edition number, signed by McCornack and contained in a lovely wooden gift box.

Box Bears are not suitable for children under 14 years.

Visit for more details and more photos

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas Food Festival at Whitecross Street Market

Christmas Food Festival
Whitecross Street Market
7-9 December

Click here for more details.

Very ... Nearly ... Almost ... #2

The second issue of Very ... Nearly ... Almost is now out and available.
here for more info.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Local Pie and Mash

I've gotten in the occasional habit of grabbing lunch at a nearby restaurant called Clark's, where ordering the standard fare of one large pie and two mash covered in liquor (a non-alcoholic clear sauce with parsley) is one of the most filling and homey ways I've found to spend £2.85. In addition to the foodie satisfaction, it's worth paying such a small price just to sit in Clark's austere tiled setting, which some long-time Londoner friends have confirmed is a real deal, old school pie and mash establishment (I'd love to take my camera to Clark's but the place is so Englishly quiet and reserved that I really don't want to make a scene and disturb the owners or their clientele, but one of these days I'll muster the courage).

Last time round, I was asked by the kind lady behind the counter (Mrs. Clark?) if I wanted "sauce" with my pie and mash - I guess she figured that, with my American accent, I wouldn't know what she meant by liquor. My response - 'Oh yes, and plenty of it' - took her a bit off guard. She lifted her head with a slight look of alarm and declared, "You're starting to sound like a local!"

All I could say was "thank you" as she handed me my plate nearly overflowing with liquor. Finding an empty bench, I sat down and doused my lunch in ample vinnie ... and savoured every bite.

46 Exmouth Market
London EC1R 4QE
See on a map
Telephone 020 7837 1974
Open Monday-Friday 10:30am to 5:30pm
Saturdays 10:30am to 5:00pm