Are you a Fan fan?

Yes, I meant that.

There is a little-known museum tucked away in Greenwich dedicated to Fans and thankfully not the sports ones…


The Fan Museum does what it says on the door – there are hundreds of fans, framed and encased. Featuring mother of pearl, tortoise shell and ivory handles; silk and paper; dating from 1600+; made in China, Japan and France…

What impressed me were: the buildings – two floors of display, complete with fan-shaped outside garden and orangery with hand painted walls. And also the ladies loos which had won an award for their fab-ness – fans on the wallpaper, chair, soap dish… great attention to detail…

See more pics here.

Worth a visit – even if it does cost £4 per person. And there is a exhibition that changes three times a year to keep you coming back for more – currently it is a sports fan exhibition…like what they did there?

Are you a Fan fan?

HMS Ocean

The massive aircraft carrier that the Government brought upriver to protect us during the Olympics was open to the public today – for the second and last time whilst on official duties in London.

HMS Ocean is a very impressive grey mass. It squeezed through the Thames Barrier (just) when it arrived back in May (check out the video here) and has been parked up rather fittingly near the Cutty Sark in Greenwich ever since.

The queues looked massive but we were reassured that it was about a half hour wait, including a quick bag search (for liquids?) and then a short boat trip and we would be let loose on board. And it was all free. Nice.


The ship is apparently the sixth one to be called HMS Ocean and has been travelling around the world quite a bit helping out various countries at war and in peace. We were allowed on top and could see the helicopters; and down below on the storage deck where they had laid out a magnificent array of kit and stands to showcase what the Navy and Marines get up to. A very good PR stunt. Made me proud to be a British tax payer. The guys are gals in their slightly ludicrous uniforms were polite and friendly and eager to talk.


What did I learn? 

Well, the marines are so cool they even have black rope! The Chefs have secondary jobs as first aiders and they cook 3,600 meals a day when out at sea…. There are 448 berths on the ship and 1200 people can sail on it. And the Lynx helicopter can fold up like a weird transformer toy…

See more pics here.

HMS Ocean

Mr Brainwash comes to town

If you like Street Art and nice graffitti then one of your heroes has to be Mr Brainwash – a Paris born, Los Angeles-based filmmaker and street artist called Thierry Guetta.


He’s currently got a rather interesting exhibition in a huge space formerly the Old Sorting Office just off Holborn. I took loads of pics – see them all here. And this is rather typical of the “large-scale installations, murals and stencils that largely appropriate iconic pop culture imagery”:


Monday to Sunday 1pm (not 11am as it says on their site) til 7pm. 21-31 New Oxford St, London WC1A 1AA.

You can also check out his website here.

Mr Brainwash comes to town


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At Kings Cross for the London 2012 Festival there’s a 10 metre long set of yellow and black balls, some of which make a tinkly noise when you turn them…

It’s called Songboard.

Apparently there are 3,000 balls can all be moved in half-turns to show either their black or yellow sides and when you flick the right ones around, they make a sound. According to Chloe Meineck, one of Songboard’s designers from Central St Martin’s College of the Arts:

Around 300 of the balls are musical; when turned, the ball sets off an individual section of music, it could be a recording of Big Ben or a musical note. Meaning that songs can also be made with a group of friends playing with the songboard.

Songboard is one of the Mayor of London’s Wonders, part of MoL Presents: A Summer Like No Other. Have you spotted any installations such as the Gifts from the Gods or the Universal Tea Machine at Victoria Park around town this summer? Let us know in the comments below


See more pics on flickr


Trip to the Thames Barrier

We chose the wettest day to take the longest bus trip (188 from Euston) out to North Greenwich. But the fact that the Thames Barrier exhibition was free meant it was worthwhile. I think.

If there had been somewhere suitable to hang out I could have watched the fork lightning over the barriers all afternoon, but actually torrential rain plus very loud clapping thunder made it pretty scary!


The exhibition is a little disappointing if the truth be known. I think the few people that braved the visit would probably only be satisfied if they got to go on one of the barriers…I know I would…

What did I learn? The Environment Agency employs 90 people to work on it full time; it has been raised over 100 times and three quarters of those times have been in the last 10 years. Apparently it is protecting millions of people, buildings and transport infrastructure places from potential disastrous flooding.

I actually enjoyed the walk back to the O2 more – there is a Tarmac site on our side, Tate and Lyle factory opposite and the cable car in the distance. The skies made for some fab colours and we even had a rainbow…aw, nice.

See all my pics from the trip on flickr.

Trip to the Thames Barrier

Oh I get it…who wants some ice cream?

We are used to random sculptures and exhibits appearing from nowhere one minute and disappearing the next, so decorated cows outside Kings Cross hardly made me blink an eye…


Except you do wonder what it is all about and whether you are going to spend every weekend wandering around London taking photos. So it’s always good to find out why – who etc…

This, it appears, is to herald an Ice Cream Festival! Yey! I’ve cleared my diary for 1st and 2nd September…


Oh I get it…who wants some ice cream?