Monday, 7 July 2014

London vs Berlin! And the ugly truth is....?

The other day I was talking to a dear friend of mine about how much I envy her life and how much I want to move to Berlin.
In terms of envying her a way because she is in a stable relationship, although I am perfectly happy not being in a stable relationship...and I feel she lives the life what she deserves and I think sometimes I would deserve a different life too...

Maybe this was the reason; I wanted a different life....for leaving everything behind in Hungary and try building up everything from scratch here in London!
New friends, new education, new place to live and work, new relationships, new activities etc etc....

But ever since I landed in Germany...actually in Berlin in 2009, I am longing to go back there!
Of course Udo has added a lot to this desire to move there...but quite rightly this dear friend of mine has asked a crucial question...But what if Udo got married by the time you move there? Would you still want to go there so much?

My answer might not have been the answer what she was really expecting, but to be honest the real truth is...if we were meant to be for each other, then somehow, somewhere at one point it will happen...and if he really gets married by then, then I will truly be happy for him finding someone great!

Anyway...why I started being so fed up with London or rather England was triggered by my rental flat's refurbishment work in the kitchen and bathroom. It really went astray in every possible ways...and by mid time...I was just laughing at the 'competence' and 'proficiency' of these builders. (Part 1 is coming soon)

1. Quality standards: may well be my first point at this moment. The things happened throughout the refurbishment and the quality work that was carried out, not to mention their negligent project manager/supervisor, were things that are not up to Hungarian standards let alone German standards.
Quality standard stamped
Quality standards from here.
Brits are still sarcastic and proud in the same time when it's about English quality standards. :)

2. Money matters:I also mentioned that in the end even though the taxation is higher in Germany, more money would stay in my pockets, as life is much cheaper there! €195 for a room in a cool area, or €450 for a one bed flat in the coolest area is cheap compared to London prices where if you are lucky you pay around £650 for a room only. Food and eating out there are also cheaper! Parties are cheaper too!
Pile of coins in increasing order
Money Matters from here.

3. Renting and owning a place:Probably, even if I earned as much money there as I earn here, I would be able to buy my own flat much sooner and much easier in a great area than here in London. And being a Hungarian plus coming from a family where even my 21 year old cousin+boyfriend have their own 3 bedroom house...I think I am entitled to say that I want my own place as well! I want to be independent and not be always afraid when my landlord will decide to not letting out this flat anymore.

Green, Blue townhouses in Notting Hill
Colourful houses in Notting Hill, London

4. Education:Well everyone knows I want to do my own education here in the UK and then go to Germany, but education there is not only free as opposed to the hefty fee I hopefully will pay to my postgraduate study this year...but their system and methods are impeccable too!

Graduation Ceremony everyone ready to throw the hat
Education from here.

5. Healthcare:Fair enough...I still don't fully trust anyone in the UK Healthcare other than my very own GP and couple of more doctors that I had the opportunity to get to know through my work. The Guardian recently might have published an article stating that the NHS was the best healthcare system among 11 countries...the system is great, because if you do have a problem or accident and whatever, you will be treated...though the quality again is sometimes questionable unfortunately. This is why I have a private insurance as well, and this is why my manager pays huge sums of money to go to a private GP and this is why a friend of mine going to the A&E 4 times on 4 consecutive days with explicit symptoms yet it was not picked up she had had cholera.

Healthcare Stetoscope

6. Cleanliness: it is said that perfume was invented to mask the smell of the dirty elite in France...then it is also said that Brits like to showers  every other day...well luckily I have not had any experience to get to know this, even though this might just be an urban myth, sadly it is true and noticed by many friends visiting London...the streets are way dirtier than in other cities.
Rubbish bags and boxes turned into human like figures with faces and limbs
Rubbish monsters on London streets by Francisco de Pajara. For more image check out Citylab.

7. Pests: I never heard of anyone in Berlin talking about the issue of rodents, especially Mickey Mouse being a common pest in houses. Or I have never even heard of the existence of bedbugs before I came to London...when people talked about them I never really understood what it is, until I finally checked them on the internet...
Stencil Mouse/Rat with an umbrella and suitcase on the wall
Banksy's mouse (rat) from here.
Lastly,because Germans are not cold:Although it is kind of common sense that Germans are cold people and will not accept an outsider in their circle of friends...well I think this is total bullshit...or whoever said this had a strange personality and was not accepted. I love that when I am there I feel free...and I feel I am braver to approach people in general because I will most probably have some positive feedback :) This is the case in London too...but I just wanted to disagree with the well-known fact that Germans would be cold.

But of course there are good things here in London too!!!! :)

1. The weather!!!! Which is an extremely important factor for me. I think the weather here is wonderful! Sunny most of the time, except when we have a summer of rain for 60 days (2012). The temperature never really goes below 0C or go over 25C, so this is really ideal :) No snow in winter! No heat-waves in summer! Perfect!!
Rainbow above London Bridge Lond Weather.jpg
Rainbow above London Bridge

2. I love London with its own issues!Yes, even though I have the above list why I would prefer Berlin, I really love London too! I love that I see the Thames everyday! Being a water starsign...I think I have some kind of attachment to water!

River Thames with HMS Belfast, behind Tower Bridge
River Thames
I love the 'morning fight' for a good seat in the Tube :) or just being able to shine through and get smiles back on my way to work!
Fox sits on underground seat circle line
Fight for a good seat with a cute fox in London underground from Digitalspy.

I love that going to the theatre could only cost you as much as you would pay for a drink in a bar!

Concrete Balconies of National Theatre, London, Southbank
National Theatre, London, Southbank

I love the new developments going on in the city! Always get to know what the actual newly planned buildings are at Store street, when you visit NLA - New London Architecture.

Thames in the middle new model skyscrapers
New buildings and developments in London from NLA.

I love that the grass is really green!
Crochet Tree Green Grass
Crochet Tree Green Grass

I love that.....London! You are so multiculti!

I love that even on a usual Monday evening, if I wanted to, I could find some interesting thing to do!

I also love that most companies ship to London, no matter where they are based :)

Lastly check out these 2 rather cool articles about London and Berlin, why they change your life forever and why they steal a piece from your heart.

So all in all I love you London with all the flaws you have...but at the moment I still love Berlin more! Although I fear whether I would be cool enough for Berlin...

Sunday, 6 July 2014

My first published nothing less than in an ART MAGAZINE!!!

You might remember back in March I saw an interesting contemporary art exhibition just off Bricklane. Then I went to the opening night of the 2nd part in Espacio Gallery at the other end of Bricklane.

In the meantime their curator and beloved 'mother' of all artists: Shizico Yi, had proposed me the idea of writing an article about the art scene in Bricklane or about taxidermy,  if I had time and felt like to do so.
Of course I said yes! It is an honour for me from her acknowledging my blog and myself. Trusting me that I was able to provide an article on the subject that would fulfil requirements for being published in a new art magazine.

The magazine is free and it is distributed among the patrons of the 'no Barking art' family or if you write them requesting a copy they could send you one. It is also being published and printed not only in London but in Taipei, Sydney, Hong Kong and New York City!

Although I already had vast knowledge about taxidermy, since I am very much interested in it. I still went on a mission to find places where I could find evidence of their existence these days and what it represents nowadays.

So on the 22nd of April...when I was still in Sweden...the magazine was released!!!! It was happening! The feeling, that your article is published in English in England in a magazine which you already knew would mean so much to you, was some kind of mixture of unparalleled, incomprehensible and unutterable sensation of happiness.

You can read the online version here. pp18-21.

Sonja's adventures in Taxidermy article and photos
No Barking Art Magazine Issue #1 Taxidermy Article part 1
Sonja's adventure in taxidermy article and photos
No Barking Art Magazine Issue #1 Taxidermy Article part 2

I was so excited, yet had to be calm, because I was not in London. When will the printed version come out? When can I touch it it? Smell it? See it?

After Royal Mail had lost the first package, finally last week I received 3 copies!! So having the hard copies as tangible evidence of the magazine's existence allowed me to write about them and post some pictures with one of them!
The magazine cover in front of a mews
no Barking art Issue 1 
Tha magazine cover in front of a Hydrangea bush
no Barking art Issue 1 

no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
Shizico Yi - Material World Special Feature
no Barking art Issue 1 
Lawrence Mathias - Sound art 
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking aRt Dog
no Barking art Issue 1 
Noemi Szabo - Body Exploration
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
Aster Reem David & Jassie Alamwala - Female photographers now
no Barking art Issue 1 
Brian Green & Pascale Pollier-Green - Double acts
no Barking art Issue 1 
Make us human
no Barking art Issue 1 
Sonja Pena - Sonja's adventures in taxidermy
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
Imogen Eveson - Digital art and illustration

no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
no Barking art Issue 1 
Magazine cover laid on a table in front of a cup
no Barking art Issue 1 copy is going to Hungary, so my mom can have one...I will keep one for myself over here in England and well...the last one is in the office, as some of my colleagues wanted to read it.
Many of my friends have also said they would have liked one copy, but that is not I may give it to my dad? or Udo? or will organise a raffle among my friends :) and will have one winner who could have it! Haha!

And now I started to work on the 2nd article...I can't tell you anything at the moment, but my visit yesterday to the exhibition The Human Factor in the Hayward Gallery had something to do with it...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

BookBenches around London! The new collecting craze!

Illustrated BookBenches have arrived to London over the weekend!

Do you remember the Elephant? Eggs? Or Wenlock and Mandeville from the London Olympics? These figures were spread all over London and it was fun to find them all around town! :)

Eggs in order
Faberge Eggs around London (source Guardian)
Wenlock statue in front of Big Ben London
Wenlock and Mandeville took over town (source DailyMail)
Baby Elephant Statues on trafalgar square's stairs
Baby Elephant Statues around London (source Telegraph)
This year forget about all of the aforementioned things! This year benches took over London...well we have many benches around town, where one can sit down to relax, or enjoy the sun, maybe to read...but these benches are special, thus they are called Book-Benches.

Under the National Literacy Trust's (NLT) and Wild in Art 's Books About Town project, 50 open-book shaped benches were distributed around London in specific places! They all depict wellknown books, that has some kind of connection to London or England.
For example Paddington Bear is on one of them.

Book shaped Bench in London painted with Paddington Bear figure on it.
Paddington Bear Book Bench London
Besides Paddington Bear, there are different themes like; Dr Seuss (pictured below), James Bond, The Gruffalo, Dickens, Bridget Jones' Diary, Great Expectations and of course Sherlock Holmes amongst other famous books.

Book shaped bench in London with Dr Seuss being painted on it
Dr Seuss Book Bench London
They will be with us for the whole summer, so get your shoes on and go check them all out!
There are 4 main designated areas where you can find them all. They are Greenwich, City, Riverside and Bloomsbury. If you are a bit of the lazy ones and prefer to have everything on a map, instead of finding them through exploring the area, then not to worry either! NLT has created maps for each location, just click above on the part of London you are interested.

Have fun finding these beautifully illustrated BookBenches! :)


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