The locks of love, part #4

You might remember from previous posts that I’ve got a little bit of a thing for the modern tradition of love locks; that is, people declaring their love for each other on a padlock, and locking it to (usually) a bridge in a public place. You can read more about love locks I’ve found before in these posts: part #1 (Brooklyn Bridge, New York), part #2 (Hungerford bridge & Tower Bridge in London), and part #3 (Shoreditch, London).

Now I’m back with part #4, because this weekend I visited the British Heart Foundation Love Installation at Covent Garden.

Love locks in Covent Garden

For a suggested donation of £3, Joe Public and his adoring girlfriend/wife/lover have been able to declare their undying love for each other on a red padlock this week, and lock it to a giant installation reading ‘LOVE’. Actually, looking at the love locks, it hasn’t just been romantic love that has been declared – there have also been friendships, family love, love for places, and memorials to loved ones.

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

I visited the installation on Friday night, but it was too dark to get good pictures. I went back on Saturday, but it was too crowded. So, not wanting to miss out, I decided to go  into town again this morning before the shops opened and get some more photos. I was really moved by some of the declarations I read, and even left one of my own (see if you can spot it).

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

The installation (and a similar one at Camden Lock) were in aid of National Heart Month (February).

Visit Flickr for my full collection.

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The Big Egg Hunt 2013

Last year I enjoyed taking part in the Big Egg Hunt and finding 209 eggs hidden all over London (see 2012’s post), so I was delighted to hear that the Big Egg Hunt was back this year. On a slightly smaller scale, this year there are only 101 eggs to find (plus the mascot, Eggbert), and this time the eggs are only scattered around Covent Garden, not the whole of London. Most of the eggs are really easy to find, and it only took me last night and an hour or so today to snap them all.

All of the eggs in The Big Egg Hunt are decorated and designed by different artists, painters, sculptors and ceramicists, and some of them are really creative and original. The headline artists are Sam Taylor-Johnson (formerly Taylor-Wood), Billy Childish, Alexis Harding and Michael Petry.

One of the best things about the Big Egg Hunt is the great atmosphere it produces. Suddenly everyone is on the same mission, and complete strangers happily chat to each other in the streets. I met this lovely chap today who made the effort to call out to me when he saw me again later and offer me helping in finding Eggbert, who was hiding. Usually in London people don’t look at each other, let along speak to each other, so it make a really nice change to discover that there are in fact some friendly people out there. The Eggsperts hovering around Covent Garden selling books and giving out chocolate were also lovely!

The Big Egg Hunt is sponsored by Lindt chocolate and in support of Action for Children, a charity committed to helping the most vulnerable and neglected children in the UK. The Big Egg Hunt will be in London until Sunday 17th February, before it moves off to Birmingham (19th – 25th February), Liverpool (27th February – 5th March), Manchester (7th – 13th March), Glasgow (15th – 20th March) and then finally back to London for Easter (22nd March – 1st April).

Find out more at thebigegghunk.co.uk.

The Big Egg Hunt

The Big Egg Hunt

A giant Lindt chocolate bunny

A giant Lindt chocolate bunny


My 2012 in review

2012 has been a busy year for me. I started a new job in August, which has kept me out of trouble, and I’ve been working hard outside of the day-job too, trying to get more freelance writing work and make more connections in the UK-Japan community in London and also with street artists in the UK. I haven’t written on AliMuskett.com as much as I would have liked to, but have been busy with Haikugirl’s Japan and Picturing England, my two main blogs.

Still, I’ve managed to post 54 times on AliMuskett.com and have received 15,487 views in total this year, which is wonderful! My top 5 posts in terms of views this year were:

1. Brainwashed in London (August 2012) – 932 views

Mr Brainwash

2. An interview with graffiti artist Paul “DON” Smith (April 2012) – 766 views

Street Art & Graffiti in Shoreditch - Don

3. Sex & the City? Do it yourself! (February 2012) – 312 views

Bleeker St

4. The locks of love…  (January 2012) – 233 views

Locks on the Brooklyn Bridge

5. Rave Art: Mr Brainwash & David Guetta know how to party (August 2012) – 213 views

David Guetta, The Queen, Prince Philip & Mr Brainwash!

As you can see, it’s been quite a year! I’ve really got into the street art scene in the UK, and hope to be able to meet up with some more artists next year and conduct a few more interviews. I’d also like to write more about London, because it really is an amazing place to live and there’s an awful lot going on here.

I’ve been looking at the handy annual report WordPress.com has produced for me, and was very interested to see that most of my readers this year have been from the UK, but that the US and Mexico (?!) are in second and third places, closely followed by Japan in fourth place and Spain and Canada in joint fifth place. It seems my blog is more international that I imagined, and I’m delighted to know that people all over the world are stopping by.

Wondering how people are finding my blog, I looked at the popular search terms which lead people to AliMuskett.com. The top five this year were all to do with the Big Egg Hunt, and yet my Big Egg Hunt post featuring photos of the 209 eggs I found hidden around London earlier this year didn’t quite make it into the top five posts (it was sixth, actually, with 178 views).

Anyway, enough of these statistics! Anyone who is following me on Twitter is probably wondering what’s got into this girl who used to hate stats so much at school, as this will be my third ‘2012 review’ post this afternoon! Thank you all for reading, whoever you are, and please do keep reading in 2013! Leave me some comments, introduce yourselves, suggest things you’d like to read about, and do get in touch if you’d like to discuss a review or interview, or some freelance writing work.

Happy New Year! See you in 2013!


Exhibition: Pablo Delgado at Pure Evil Gallery

Every time I’ve come across a piece of Pablo Delgado’s art on the streets I’ve felt excited, because it’s like discovering secrets. His work is tiny, and so easy to miss, which is such a contrast to a lot of street art which seems to be about being bigger and better than the last piece. When I heard that Pablo Delgado was going to be having an exhibition at the Pure Evil Gallery on Leonard Street I wasn’t sure if it would work. I like his art because I have to discover it, so I wondered if having it presented to me in a gallery would take away some of the magic.

I needn’t have worried.

Pablo Delgado’s exhibition is wonderful. In the ground level part of the gallery the work is nicely presented and fun to look at – I love these monkeys:

Pablo Delgado

And the display in the window is pretty cool:

Pablo Delgado

There are cardboard boxes scattered around the exhibition – make sure you look inside them!

Pablo Delgado

But it’s not until you step downstairs into the basement that the fun really begins.

Pablo Delgado

It’s like stepping into a magical world where little people really exist, and they’re everywhere.

Pablo Delgado

Pablo Delgado

A lot of the work retains the feeling of being on the streets, but there are also pieces in different styles, which work perfectly in a gallery. Like these people in vases of water:

Pablo Delgado

Pablo Delgado

And these wonderful reflection pieces:

Pablo Delgado

Pablo Delgado

I was quite fascinated by this dark room containing people in illuminated jars, too:

Pablo Delgado

Pablo Delgado

Delgado has used the gallery space really well, playing to the rough, urban style of the small space and its exposed brickwork. This isn’t an exhibition that would necessarily work in a big, shiny gallery like the Tate Modern, but it seems perfect for the space it’s in.

Pablo Delgado

Pablo Delgado is at Pure Evil Gallery, 108 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4XS until 28th October. For more information visit: pureevilclothing.com. It’s so good, I might go back for seconds…


Something New Every Day Challenge: Day #6

This evening was spent doing something I have certainly never done before, so today’s new thing was…

Watching guys get their legs waxed for charity!

My company decided to have a sponsored leg wax for the Spitalfields Crypt Trust, and four of the lads stepped up to sacrifice their hairy legs all in the name of a good cause. Amazingly, no one screamed or cried, but there were a couple of whimpers.

Well done guys!

If you’re feeling generous and would like to sponsor them, there’s a JustGiving page right here.

(Image source)


Something New Every Day Challenge: Day #5

Today’s ‘something new’ was something which I’m sure a lot of people find very easy, but it’s something I find very hard:

Spontaneity!

I like plans and organisation, and I’m really bad at being spontaneous, as all of my friends will testify. When I wake up in the morning, I like to have a fair idea of how my day will go and what time it will end. I like to know if I’m dressed appropriately for the activities that might crop up, and have planned my meals and the contents of my handbag accordingly. I know that might all sound very boring, but I just don’t gel with spontaneity.

Now, to some, what I did today might not seem all that spontaneous, but believe me it was…

At lunch time today I suddenly decided it would be nice to meet my mum after work and treat her to a coffee. It’s my first full pay day of my new job, and I wanted to mark the occasion. My mum was working in London today, so it seemed like a good chance for a catch up. A few short emails later and it was arranged.

When it came to leaving work on time to go and meet her, naturally, sudden issues came up and I was delayed. Then I had to wait ages for a Circle Line train to come at Liverpool Street Station, but in the end I got to Embankment and we went to Starbucks for a chai latte and a bit of cake.

It was really nice. 🙂

Eating cake with silver edible stars on it was also something new!


Something New Every Day Challenge: Day #4

Today’s ‘something new’ was easy to find as it was waiting for me on an empty Tube seat:

Yes, from today, Time Out London magazine has become a free publication, handed out at train stations during the daily commute. I have, of course, read Time Out before, but it’s a new initiative to make the magazine free. I suppose sales must have been down due to the large amount of content available on their website, and also because of the other free publications which are available in London.

I have to admit though, I’ve never really liked the format of Time Out magazine. I quite like their website, and love the weekly emails highlighting free things to do in London and advertising competitions, but I’ve always found the magazine a bit of a waste of money. So, does being free make it any better? For me, no. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I’m prone to a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out), so adding another free publication advertising things to do in London to my already growing pile is actually a really bad thing for me. Every day I can pick up the Metro and Evening Standard, and then once a week I find Stylist and Shortlist thrust into my hands. Sometimes other free magazines like aMuse Magazine pop up too. All of them have online versions as well as paper versions, and all of them are bursting with far too much information and more “things to do” than any human could ever possibly fit in. It’s exhausting!

So, after flicking through my new, free copy of Time Out, I recycled it, and decided not to bother picking it up again. Along with all of these…

My other new thing today is to try to put myself first a bit more. I was supposed to go to a talk tonight, which no doubt would have been interesting, but I wasn’t feeling great and I wanted to go home, eat something warming (veggie sausages, homemade oven chips and Baked Beans!) and blog, so I did. I need to learn that I and only I make my decisions, and I mustn’t feel like I’m under any obligation to do things if I decide I don’t want to do them.

The ‘Something New Every Day Challenge’ is going well so far. I’ve decided to try to keep it up for 7 days, and then after that it will just be as and when I can, as it will become too much to post every day (especially with November and NaNoWriMo coming up…). So, 3 days to go…