Saturday, 29 September 2007

Rain rain don't go away

5:45 this morning I got up to take pictures of the city before the sun set its eyes on it. But, as I waited and felt the shower water slowly leaving my hair, the rain created a persistent pattern across the sky. But what a morning and what a rain - so gray, serene, and permanent it almost makes you want to be in the rain just to experience the permanence of gravity.

Over these years in London I've come to draw a certain balance of emotion between the sleep I need to give up on in order to watch the city as it sleeps. This also why getting on those painfully early flights can be so strangely satisfying. The people you see have defined lines, usually either passing, sullen, or simply asleep. And oh, the cigarette smokers and coffee choked addicts you get. It's a strange moment to look and be, as though you shouldn't be there, as though it's a false start, an intrusion on this public moment of privacy.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Freewheeling London

This Sunday 9 miles around the river will be closed to traffic and open to the two-wheel community! There will be a big festival going on in St. James' Park, food, open air, and happy cyclists, what else could you ask for? I'm organising a group to join the festivities around London Bridge. Email if you're interested!

More details at:

Sunday, 16 September 2007


Coming to London, I really had only a few major objectives. Among the top priority ones were registering for courses, finding a flat, finding a job, and finding a bicycle. Yes, recently the last but not least important element clicked together with the other pieces - the bicycle dream came true. We found each other one morning and we are one. A love at first sight. I've been thinking about a name for her as we were gliding between the buildings and rolling off hills, and as I was leaving her after a day full of adventure, it finally came to me. Beauty. Yes, we glide together. I'm filled with the laughter of people having their picnics, the sounds of trees, and the sun pouring into my eyes. For a brief moment it all becomes one image mixed with the racing wind as in a picture with the exposure left for a little too long.

Yes, London is becoming more and more bicycle friendly these days. Before cycling I never bothered to look at the roads, but now that I am on the road, I notice a lot of bicycle lanes. Getting around is quite smooth, even if spotted by whirlwinds of traffic. The city seems to condense and I become a part of it, like a cell traveling up and down its arteries. Most of all, I like cycling in the evening after the day is gone. The streets are empty, except for the few couples who lost their sense of time, and you can really just sit there and sail through the streets. The only thing you notice is the constant whisper of the bicycle and the lights of the city whizzing by. Let's start a two-wheel revolution!

Friday, 14 September 2007


I saw Prince last night! Brilliant, playful, and sensual. If you're in London, check into the 3121 tour and try to get some tickets while you can (some left on gumtree, I believe). The visuals together with his dress were reminiscent of a different era. The entire show was carried out extremely professionally considering the presentation of dancers, the light effects, and the stage operations. And then there was Prince, the magnet of the crowds. What a night.

Yesterday proved again that the best moments come unexpected. Before the night excitements of Prince I took a walk through an entirely new to me area of London (from Greenwich to the Millenium Dome). The contrast of an industrial wasteland on one side of the river and the world's most dynamic financial centre on the other was truly stunning. The railway passes, sunken ships, and the refineries combined with skycrapers and the Millenium Dome created a skyline like nowhere else I've seen before. What a day.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

A Wider Angle

Yesterday I spent the entire day walking through London. My friend let me use his 10-22mm lens and I was happy as a clown all day. My mind kept flipping through memorized images I never captured before. I ran along the river to catch the light and felt a thrill every time I turned the corner. Yes, when it comes to photography, I don't need that much to keep me happy. I'll try to compose an album of my new images and upload it to my webpage soon!

Monday, 10 September 2007

A Mass Produced Reality

I've spent the past week living with a friend in London. We live in a marvellous space overlooking a square that changes its character with every minute as the sun, the clouds, and the day moves on. We've come to appreciate our little morning routine of sitting on the balcony, eating pain au chocolates, discussing life, and sneering at the people below. I'll miss these mornings, and it almost makes me want to resist the inescapable arrival of the next little routines I'll develop in place of this one.

Looking over a square with people on their way to work, wearing their suits and carrying their briefcases, we wondered about the uniformity of modern life and the human longing for uniqueness and creativity. Most of what we eat, furnish our homes with, and wear today, is mass-produced. The human touch on these things has decreased to a bare minimum. We live in a world of mass produced homes, objects, even experiences. It's like with the suits and the working hours - the rough lines of the daily flow leaves little room for independent creativity and feeling of being in control. It's as though we all hopped onto a big assembly line and now can't really afford to get off.

This is not to say that the quality of the mass produced objects is necessarily lower than those produced in limited numbers. Often great design stands behind the assembly lines and though it's hard to admit, if not for them, we probably wouldn't have it as good as we do. Unfortunately, personalised design and limited numbers usually mean higher shelf prices, which raises the red flag for most. However, there seems to be an increasingly vibrant market populated by people searching for foods that taste good and clothes that don't appear in every town of the developed world. The strive for individualism, tactility of design, and texture is increasing and more and more people supply these objects and experiences. The uniqueness and the closer interaction with the source of a given object somehow give people more contact with themselves, even if all they can determine is what their table or t-shirt looks like. It gives them a feeling of control and uniqueness, not to mention the style.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The Unexpected Pleasures of Being Human

I'm not sure what percentage of the world's population lives in urban environments today (you can check out Google, just remember not to be evil), but I'm pretty sure that it's not only the majority, but that's it's still rising. We live in an increasingly crowded and anonymous world where others become like white noise, like the background you wouldn't really care to inspect. We're given more and more choice of how to design our social networks and more social tolerance with the way we do so. Our connections are becoming ever more intricate through the development of urban life, the internet, and the wide-spread ease of travel.

Amongst ordinary days, when one really is just a passing grain of the overall texture, there sometimes happen wondrous moments when we discover other people. There is something deeply satisfying about finding a mutual connection with another, a new person. Despite the understood facts of how much we all share though our minds' wiring, emotions, goals, and troubles, for some reason the discovery of another and the unexpected intimacy of minds can be a delight. The other person becomes real and from that point you can review the background noise of surrounding people as a brain-like buzzing network of internal complexities with mutually reinforcing, snapping connections. In our rather closed-in networks of friends, colleagues, and fellow-students, these unexpected pleasures can let us refresh and rediscover our connection to the rest of the world.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

London, England

I'm back, breathing its air again. I don't know what it is about coming back to London, but whenever I do, I feel like I'm coming home. I'm always on a train, always happy, always there and not wanting to be anywhere else. I see the people sitting side by side and taking this journey for god knows which time in their life, but when I come back, the journey is mine. I watch their moves and feel as though they are all long-lost friends and that the city brushing past is reaching out to see me.
Beyond the happiness, some creeps of stress are here as well. The search for a place to live, starting school, finding a job, all these are approaching with every hour now. My hair can sense it too now. It's not just bad hair days now, my hair is frazzled and impatient, and looking around in all directions like those little prairie dogs when they sense some sort of danger. Yes, London is here with all its tricks and treats and I can't wait for all the pain and pleasure it's bound to bring.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

A Sunday Kind of Love

I'm in Krakow. It's a Sunday morning slowly melting into an afternoon before my eyes. There's something I can't ever grasp about the Sunday mornings here. The light seems different, and the people seem more calm and just happy. They all wear their Sunday clothes with pleated dresses and white slippers, as though they were all expecting to rendezvous with the Lord today. I pass the park around the centre and it bursts with families eating ice-cream and chasing their dogs. Even the couples seem different today - from the craziness of Saturday night they've moved to strolls, holding hands, and dreams of future families and perfect homes. The market in front of the cafe I'm writing from is buzzing today. Lots of jackets in indescribable colours and local people trying to bargain for another toy for their kid. Oh Sundays. It always feels like you don't need to be anywhere or with anyone to feel at ease.

Sunday more than any other day is also good for accidental people here. These are random individuals in Krakow I know from somewhere, but never sure from where. This morning as I was approaching the tram stop to get into town I passed a guy, about my age, huge, tattooed from head to toe, and with a pit bull on a ornate leash. 'Matt'? I asked. Sure enough, we went to primary school together. I attempted to compliment on his dog, but as he tried to snap off my hand, I decided to change the subject. We didn't end up having that much to talk about as he escorted me to the tram, but nevertheless enjoyed the Sunday exchange of meaningless questions and answers. On a final note, with a sort of a worry in his voice, he confirmed that I wasn't dating a black man, nodded, and sailed back to his life. Oh Sunday, the things you make us do.

Anyway, I'm here and leaving again in a couple of days. I'm sorting though piles of clothes, electricity converters, letters and photographs. Soon all my folded goods will become my home base with a timer set to unfold in London.