Saturday, 31 October 2009

Quoc op....

....Although this was a couple of weeks ago, I've only got around to posting it now. Quoc finally went under the knife for his long awaited knee surgery. Good news that the problem is now solved, but bad news that TBC have a missing member for several months to come. God speed you!

A New Romance....

...Joss is in a group show just off Broadway Market and I managed to get a look in before it closes tomorrow.

An exhibition of work borne out of an 'original and instinctive perspective', Joss displayed a print from his series, 'The Moonlit Rooms' and a new taxidermied piece that I hadn't seen before. Typically dark. Typically Joss. Lovely!

Clem takes a back seat....

....but she still seems a little uncertain about the imminent voyage!

Ed's tattoo....

....Lorenzo illustrated this fantastic picture of Ed's late mum a while back. It was drawn with the intention of replicating it as a tattoo - which Ed has finally done. Looks fantastic.

TBC uncaged....

....With bikes left at home, TBC went out en masse last night. Beginning at the Smithfield Tavern, (where you must try the scotch eggs!), we then hit the Birdcage, where it was busier & noisier than ever. Great night chaps.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Dinner with Chris....

....Ed, Liam, Doug and I went to Chris' house in Primrose Hill for a fantastic dinner. Beef Wellington was casually served, which at any time, never mind a Tuesday, would have blown us all away. Needless to say this did.



Roy, Doug, Chris, Liam, Ed

After dinner, we walked round the corner, wine glasses in hand, to the top of Primrose Hill. The late night illumination of London's skyline was incredible.


....featuring Roy.

Monday, 26 October 2009


....My studies in and ongoing passion for photography made this exhibition a must whilst I was in Newcastle. I own Martin Parr books and enjoy his unique take on (mostly) British society, but I would never say I am a lover of his work. But this show is more than that.

Spread over two floors, the first is entitled, 'Luxury', showcasing 40 recent works. Here, Parr is in familiar territory, capturing humour, even greed & the grotesque, in the unaware. Ruthlessly edited, with minimal descriptions, we can form our own opinions of the photographic subjects. And when some of those are attending the 'Millionaire Fair', particularly in such an economic climate, the sense of grotesque excess is only inflated.

The second half of the exhibition is a room full of photographs, books and other ephemera that belong to Parr. He is an obsessive collector and his photography collection amounts to one of the best photographic shows I have seen in some time. It showcases his influences, Lee Friedlander and Chris Killip through to contemporaries in Richard Billingham and Paul Graham. Essentially, it is also a collection of my favourite artists all in one room.

Surrounding all this are display cases of old and rare photographic books and catalogues, alongside even more random ephemera, such as a Saddam Hussein watch collection and a Maggie Thatcher teapot set.

Insanely bizarre, but compellingly brilliant. Very Martin Parr. I loved it.

A weekend in Newcastle....

....I managed to cram a lot in. On Saturday morning, I met Sarah, Tom and Evie, (who is fast approaching her 1st birthday).

Evie Dixon

Sarah & Tom

Wrapping up

That evening, Andrew, Tom, Mark and I went round to Nick's house for curry & poker. As I write that, it sounds incredibly laddish, but it was in fact a fantastic evening of good banter, food & poker. I managed to win, by staying awake for the full game, much to the annoyance of Andrew!

On Sunday I met Oli and his girlfriend Charlotte at Tynemouth Market, before going on in to town to meet Kate for a coffee at Tyneside Cinema, then on to the Baltic.

Oli & Charlotte


Maureen is 60....

....Mrs. Brannen, or Auntie Maureen as I used to call her, turned 60 last week. She celebrated with a party at Crusoe's in Tynemouth on Friday. Jolly good.

Blog on the Tyne....

........Pulling in to Newcastle on Friday, for once it wasn't the Tyne or Millenium bridges that caught my eye. Evening sky drama over a grey, grey scene.

Dinner with Amy & Sam....

....The girls invited me round to dinner, along with Laura. Fantastic food & company as I was guest at yet another dinner party. Thank you.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

BBC Electric Proms....

....I've been pretty good at ignoring this since it's inception in 2006. No reason really. But this year I've caught a few acts via iPlayer and some of them have blown me away. Here are my highlights.

Doves & London Bulgarian Choir: Kingdom of Rust

Dizzee Rascal: Bonkers (Country style!)

Robbie Williams: Starstruck (Song from new album)

Please note that Robbie was included because I think it's a great song. Richard Hawley and Florence + The Machine are only excluded due to the lack of single track highlights on the 'net. Shirley Bassey excluded due to outright ageism!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

CSM10 reunion party....

....There had been talk for a while that, as it was 10 years since our Foundation Course at Central St. Martins, we should have some kind of celebration. I took up the mantle of reunion party organiser and hijacked Doug's FaceBook to do so. Rooz studios was the location and despite a few initial (technical) hitches, the night went off brilliantly. It was great to see old faces and realise that, actually, not a great deal has changed in the last 10 years! Thanks to all for coming.

Photos from the college years.

Photos from the reunion party.

The dance floor in full swing

Mark's balloon dance.

TBC Macaframa premiere....

....This week TBC gathered for the premiere of Macaframa. We've been anticipating this DVD for some time, so the Audio Suite at work was the perfect place to watch it.

We then hit the local church yard for some much more average messing about on our bikes.

TBC church yard sessions from Roy Barker on Vimeo.

Dinner with Alice and Ed's arrival.....

....Alice, Doug and I met up for dinner on Thursday, before Ed joined us after arriving from Paris.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Mum & Dad and Ruth & Andy's London weekend....

....The family were in town this weekend and it was great. On Saturday morning, mum & dad finally got the opportunity to meet Clem Ardagh as she nears her 1st birthday. We met her, Richie & Anne at Trattoria Sapori on Newington Green for a lovely Italian breakfast.

Clem feigns interest in her new book from mum!

Mum looks on as Clem pushes the book aside

Dad intervenes with the mobile phone waggle

A day of (horrendous) Saturday shopping followed, for the sole purpose of buying Dad his 60th birthday present. We achieved our goal, as he walked away with a dapper pair of purple suede shoes. In the evening I had booked us a table at Bistrotheque, where we had an incredible dinner.

Ruth & Andy

Mum & Dad

Me & Dad

Mum & Ruth

There was also a choice piece of graffiti in the gents, that appears to have a pop at mum:

I can safely say, she hasn't.

Today, Sunday, the family met up with James & Theresa, Ian & Susie and Jess & David, over lunch at Annie's. It is a fantastic spot where we could indulge in a continuing theme of the weekend - eating.

Ruth, Jess & David

Mum & James

The full cast

And with that, the weekend was over and everyone went there separate ways, but a truely great weekend was had.

Dinner with Ian & Susie....

....The newly married couple invited me round to their beautiful wee flat in Islington.

Susie, me and Ian

After dinner, the hosts indulged me in some free gear from Puma, (contacts contacts), so a mini fashion show ensued.

But Ian saved the best til last, trumping everyone with his zip-up-hoody-frog-man-top-thingy, that is, as you can see, utter genius.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Coffee on the Close....

....What does some decent Monmouth coffee, a new cafetiere and a milk frother make? Some top drawer cappuccinos that mean we don't need to pay stupid money from our local. Heck, we should open as a cafe.




Liam's barista service is available exclusively at 69 Goldman Close.