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London Music: Rathbone Place And St. Pancras Improvisations

It’s sometimes difficult to find a reason to use the word “serendipity”, however the videos may well justify it. It’s when a great thing happens naturally, without you planning for it. First, in Rathbone Place a guy from Hobgoblin music shop and a cyclist across the road improvised a James Brown cover. Imagine sitting still, sipping your perfect Illy coffee in a cafe in the same street? I cannot, so I put my cup down and recorded the singer. And when I arrived from Paris I was greeted by a practising amateur pianist, whom I also decided to record. As they began to offer piano music as a free entertainment in one of Moscow’s railway terminals, I wondered if the guy was also being paid to play. No, he replied, but the piano is free to use, so he takes this as an opportunity to exercise.

I’m sad I cannot include an audio recording of Paul Dean’s magnificent organ recital at St. Paul’s Cathedral, but perhaps I’ll find the means to let you hear how good he is (and so is the organ music).

Over to you, guys 🙂

London 2013 – A Bookstore Shelf

London 2013, originally uploaded by loscuadernosdejulia.

This is a real bookshelf in a real bookstore in Holborn district of London. I was impressed by the range of titles: James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, Stief Larsson, John Fowles, Oscar Wilde, John Keats, William Blake, William Wordsworth and Geoffrey Chaucer (the latter five – on the bottom shelf), etc, etc. But little could be as grotesque as placing Fifty Shades Freed next to Joyce’s Ulysses, the former being criticised for the quality of prose, and the latter being praised for the exact same thing.

One may say that it is a strange sign of our times when novels, so different, can not only stand on the same shelf, but practically rub shoulders with one another.

Attending a Service On the Russian Easter In Aldgate


It’s amazing what you can find in London! I stumbled upon a lovely church in Aldgate and went in for a “look”. I ended up attending a church service that coincided with the Russian Easter. A mere hour and a half before that I had attended an organ recital by Paul Dean at St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was splendid.

At the church I was in for a few surprises. One, it was a Reformed Scottish church, and two, the service rested heavily on reading the Psalter and singing psalms. Last time I sang psalms was at the Advent service in Birmingham in 2008, where the text was projected on large screens. Here we each had a book of Psalms given before the sermon, and I had time to familiarise myself with the text of Psalm 122.
Along with several others, Psalm 122 constitutes the Book of Accents that pilgrims used to take with them, to read and sing during the pilgrimage. It is the story of joy of embracing Jerusalem and of dedication to praising it.
The preacher was one of a kind – slim, light ginger headed Scot, dressed in grey suit, accompanied with a tie with doggy print. I mean, on the tie dogs were printed. The manner was somewhat American, that coachy style of addressing the audience. I cannot say I disliked it, but my first question was if all Scottish Church preachers were like him. Apparently, he’s walking his own line in this.
Although I’m not religious as far as official church doctrines and rituals are concerned, I do like going into a church, either for a visit or even for a sermon. I must admit I prefer foreign churches for this, and as my experience here is by and large limited to Britain, British clergy and believers have always been very nice. They gladly break the ice and start a conversation. In a Russian church you sometimes feel like the building itself is making you a favour, not to mention people. As soon as the sermon finishes, the guards practically drive you out of the building. You will agree this is not the way to feel in what is supposed to be God’s home.
My childhood was marked by reading a book “The Bible for believers and non-believers”, written in late 1920s in the USSR and propagating the ideas, which gist you can easily imagine. In my youth I came across more books that questioned the Bible and various concepts relating to God. However, it was only in England that I began to reconsider certain ideas, and, as I said before, although I still remain outside a church or confession, I’m much more accommodating of an idea of the Higher Reason being involved in our lives. In doing so, I am more inclined to the Judaic concepts rather than Christian, insofar as the figure of God is concerned.  But as yet I don’t observe Saturday!
So, after the sermon I went for a walk around Islington, of which George Mikes wrote that all poor people migrated there and turned it into a fashionable district. I don’t know how “poor” Islington people are 50 years later, but the area is buzzing with building and development, so it certainly remains fashionable.
And near the church there was a fountain with some lovely inhabitants – see in the photo!




Kodak Is No More, But Photos Are Still There

The sad news about Kodak just shows how easy it is to get swept by “everything going fine” and not to notice that the world has changed and gone in a completely different direction. Anyway, the photos are there, and The Guardian called for our Kodak moments to share. Before 2007 all my photos were taken by Kodak and Konica cameras, and even today I still don’t own an SLC. I blogged some of the photos previously, but it’s such a good opportunity to remind myself – and you – about the times when I had to wait before the photos were printed and then I had to scan them. It was a pain, but knowing it’s no more is sad.

Rastorguevo 51. Rastorguevo 6

Rastorguevo is, strictly speaking, a small village that people pass as they travel by Aeroexpress on their way to the Domodedovo Airport. It’s only 10 minutes of train travel away from where I live, and 2000s saw the reconstruction of the monastery and the church. My mother and I used to go there on weekends when I was a little girl, we’d usually visit two shops, one that sold everything, from stationery through clothes to furniture; and another that was a village-format version of B&Q.

View a full Rastorguevo set.

2. Dubrovsky

Dubrovsky 9Dubrovsky is another small village easily accessible from my district by bus. The Gardening Institute is located there, and the river is quite popular. Naturally, people used to go there for swimming and sunbathing. Sadly, as our visit there in October 2010 showed, things have changed dramatically. The Institute has practically closed, and on the opposite bank of the river sprung a quasi-elite settlement, and cars are driving up and down the sloppy roads all the time.

View a full Dubrovsky set.


Big Ben: A Study
Big Ben
St Dunstan's Church
St. Dunstan’s Church


St Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Cleopatra's Needle
Cleopatra’s Needle


Bond St. A View from the Charing Cross Arcade
Bond St

4. My first visit to London occurred in April 2004, and I will never forget those two weeks. This isn’t the moment to recap how I felt and what I did. Maybe, had I visited London during my first ever visit to England, my attitude would be different. I look at these pictures, and I see they’re not the usual touristy type of photos. Apparently, the moments of living and walking in London in those April days, especially during Easter, are still very vivid. These are also the photos I’m glad to call mine because they are good – and given the technology that produced them, they certainly say something about me and my aptitude as a photographer.

View a full London 2004 set.


The View from the Millenium Bridge
London and the Thames from the Millenium Bridge

5.Last time I went to London with a Kodak camera was in March 2005. It looks like I didn’t scan all the photos, as there were definitely some from The Globe theatre. Anyway, during all my visits I rarely photographed the Thames, so this is a “rare” photo taken from the Millenium Bridge.

View a full London 2005 set.

6. And finally, the Lake District. I do actually miss England, and I’d happily go to visit Lakeland. There was a flying visit to Carlisle in 2010, and I visited Shap Wells in 2004, but in all my visits there (by car) I never went further than Windermere and Grasmere. I’d gladly go to Keswick.

View a full Lake District set.


Lake District 56

Lake District 6

Lake District 30

Lake District 48

Lake District 60

Lake District 26


Lake District 33

London Riots: Business Sense at Work

While reading my Twitter this morning, astounded by the scale of riots and lootings across the UK, I spotted a link to what turned out to be a London listing on Craiglist. Someone posting from East London was selling 40 Apple iPhone 4’s for £320 each.

The advert reads:

They have not been open from box all are on 02 and come with a years warranty. I can sort out a discount if more than 3 are purchased.

Although it can be a mere coincidence, chances are it is on Craiglist, Gumtree and various other online message boards, forums and classifieds that we will be finding objects that were looted from the shops in London, Manchester, Liverpool and other UK cities ransacked by thugs and yobs.

Also on Twitter, some have appealed to entrepreneurs to acknowledge the importance of getting the young people more involved in doing business. Arguably, it is the level of social exclusion that leads to people not being able to grab their chance in life.

One has to admit that it is not the opportunities for doing business that are particularly needed. Nor it is the business sense as such that should be communicated to youngsters. The London Craiglist posting suggests that business sense is sound, sorted, and actually works. However, every success in business depends on life skills, and it is these skills that are severely denied to the now rioting mob. Until the society and the Government acknowledge this and start promoting team work, discipline, and responsibility among young people, riots and any other form of antisocial behaviour are unlikely to stop.

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