I’ve had a trip to London planned for a while with tickets to see Gavin Degraw perform at Kentish Town Forum. I made a weekend out of it and spent some time walking around some of my favourite places in London…
I spent the afternoon on Saturday at Camden Market. Camden Market used to be my go to place when visiting London, I’ve always loved how eclectic it is. I could browse the stalls for hours, but the past couple of times I haven't been as impressed. All the stalls are starting to sell generic stuff you can get anywhere and every other stall sells the same stuff. I went into the market this weekend expecting the same this time but I was pleasantly surprised by a little stall in the stables selling limited edition prints and clothing. I spoke to the guys for a while and they told me how they are all hand drawn by Toby Brunsdon, Tobias Illustrations. The black and white illustrations of animals were intricate and carefully designed, they must have been incredibly time consuming to illustrate. I would have loved a sweatshirt (I may have to do a cheeky online order) but I sensibly came away with 3 small very reasonably priced prints to add to my shelves in the studio instead. See photos below.
My trip coincided with Halloween so after researching ‘Top things to do in London on Halloween’ I booked The Medieval Banquet on the 31st. It was right by the tower bridge which looked incredible lit up at night - Especially when there’s ghosts and goals walking along the street which was a very surreal sight! The medieval banquet was Halloween themed for the weekend, the venue was perfect for a spooky scene - Each banquet table was in an old brick alcove. The food wasn’t the best and being shoulder to shoulder with the other diners was an odd experience, but luckily the entertainment outweighed the negatives. The entertainment was brilliant, including a guy standing on his head while juggling, acrobats in suspended hoops, sword fights and more. If you can go with a big group and get a table to yourselves I think it would be great fun! If you value your personal space, I’d probably suggest booking elsewhere. Spending Halloween in London was really fun, we took the tube back to Camden after the banquet and the tube was full of tipsy party goers covered in blood and gore!
On Sunday, I visited my favourite area of London, Covent Garden… It’s an oldie but a goody. Similar to Camden Market, it’s become the tourist place to go and they cater for that, but I love it. I love the street performers and the hustle and bustle of people gathering around them. It’s such simple and raw entertainment… No screens… No huge production budgets… Just a person and their talent. I can’t imagine the guts it takes to stand there and perform and hope that your talent is captivating enough to make people to stop in their tracks.
Sunday night was the reason we made the trip down to London, to see Gavin Degraw perform at O2 Forum Kentish Town. I’ve seen him once before in Birmingham and being an American artist he doesn’t come over to England very often. I’ve got quite mixed feelings about the gig, we came out with a few grumbles about a few things. You can’t deny his voice is on point live, he’s an incredible singer and puts so much passion into his songs. This tour was advertised as an acoustic tour, and for the most part it was Gavin, his piano, a drummer and a guitarist, which is all good. The parts which he lost me (and I’m guessing a lot of the crowd by the disconnected response) was when the guitarist performed 5 minute solos on an electric guitar. I get the feeling that in America the audience would have gone mad for it, but it didn’t seem to fit. The solos didn’t follow the songs they were just massively long riffs that to be honest were over the top and showy. Gavin watched him in awe with his back to the crowd and it seemed like it wasn’t even his show anymore. I understand giving the other musicians on stage a few minutes to shine but I think this happened about 3 times throughout the show. My mind wondered every time! I’ll always love seeing and hearing Gavin Degraw perform, it’s just good wholesome, feel good music. However, the whole gig would have been 100% times with some aircon, people were dropping like flies from the heat!
I went on a little adventure on Monday to an area of London I haven’t been to before. I went over to Kensington to have a look around Portobello road. There wasn’t much of the market on a Monday but the houses around that area are beautiful. Rows of tall white terraces with little steps leading up with grand door ways. We took an wonder around for an hour or so on a lovely Autumnal afternoon - It was a nice change to the chaos of Central London. The difference within a 20 minute tube ride is surprising. After Kensington we headed back to Oxford Circus and walked to Carnaby Street. Again, somewhere I’d never been before and I don’t know why. I’ve heard of Carnaby Street numerous times but never realised it was literally behind Oxford Street. It’s an interesting area with some amazing looking restaurants and peering through the office windows as we walked back to Oxford street you could see trendy interiors of the open plan studios. It seems like the area around Carnaby Street is where a lot of the design studios and creative agencies are located - Maybe Headdesk will be there one day!
We completely failed on food all weekend! Every time we were hungry the only places we could find were sandwich shops and generic places you can go to anywhere. Then after filling up on fast food we would turn around a corner and find incredible looking restaurants. Definitely need to do more research next time!