Friday, September 28, 2012

London nights pt. 2

Some of the things that I loved about the gay nightlife scene in London is that it's diverse and plentiful. Yes the usual dramas are there (who's avoiding who? Where can we get drugs? did you know he's sleeping with so and so? He's so cute, I see him everywhere, he doesn't know I exist....) but the Montreal club scene has gotten so small in comparison it was refreshing to attend so many parties in all its potential, trashy, glittering, hot-mess glory.
Some quick observations: Just because you're a Bear and are into Bears it doesn't mean your club needs to look like a dungeon or that you can't like Britney Spears remixes. Amazing London DJs are approachable: I was so happy to meet Superchumbo (the one and only Tom Stephan) and also reconnect with Larry Tee at his party at East Bloc.
Good Music and big beats can be played in small venues: pumping DnB coming from a dark bar on Brick Lane at three in the afternoon, Garage at a Deli in East London, East Bloc looking more New York with its Keith Haring decor than, well, New York...who says a small lounge can only play lounge beats? DJs f*ck up and (gasp!) no one cares!: We saw Honey Dijon spin at Summer Rites when her CDJ suddenly stopped working. Horse Meat Disco killed our buzz with its classic, vintage disco, Larry Tee mixed electro and electro hip-hop, two DJs played the same track at Fire Afterhours and one of them failed to match his beats in one transition. It all made me realize that maybe in North America we take this DJ job way too seriously. Maybe I take this DJ job too seriously. Does it really matter if you play the same track as someone else in one night or if you screw up a mix or your equipment messes up? Why do some people feel it's important to make you feel like less of a DJ if you don't use Vinyl when all these superstars are on their usb keys or laptops, syncing beats and making people dance? How come I doubt my musical taste when I DJ here only to find that half the tracks I bought on beatport are being played out and loud across the pond? Thanks London for making me feel like maybe I can really be a DJ after all.

Monday, September 24, 2012

London Nights pt 1

Perhaps it's a good thing that I don't have a lot of pictures to document all the shenanigans that happened at night in London. One thing I can say for certain is that London has a thriving nightlife. That's one of the joys (and pitfalls, I suppose) of living in such a dense and diverse city. There's something for everyone and something is always going on. Nightlife has always fascinated me. People let their guard down. They make mistakes, make messes, get drunk. People bare their souls at night and get dressed up. They become fully expressed. There is something magical about nighttime. Anything can happen. My limited budget meant that I couldn't party in Ibiza, but just as well. London has many interested hotspots and Ben and Arthur were determined that I get a good sense of what London nightlife had to offer. Arthur took us to a members only club in the West End that looked a bit like multiple floors of a chic hotel Lobby bar. Members only clubs seem to be important in a big City such as this one where too many tourists or unwanted guests can drastically determine how fun your night can be. Memberships can mean writing an essay, having an interview and having the right referrals. It's terribly snooty and exclusive but does feel quite nice when you're invited behind the velvet ropes. It's part of the allure of night life. People want to feel special.
Ben and Arthur
City lights, city nights. If it's part of a City's culture to start drinking as early as two in the afternoon what is the definition of an alcoholic? Are you a drug addict if you're a Professional Doctor during the week and a party boy on the weekends? What's too much? What's excessive? Another night we headed to Vauxhall in the very trendy East London area. Nightjar won't allow people in if they're at capacity (it's a small drinking hole that has live Jazz and the decor has a bit of an art deco feel) There's no standing room at Nightjar and every group needs to be seated at tables.
The service was exquisite and the drinks were creative elixirs made by bartenders who took their jobs very seriously and performed the making of each martini like a choreographed dance or precision voguing. Our group was made up of a select group of Lion King performers after a night show and we couldn't help and gawk at the couple at the next table who seemed to be on a very hot and heavy third date. They're sloppy make out session turned out to be the highlight of our night.
Things were looking dire after leaving Nightjar around two in the morning trying to find the 'next spot' for our night adventure. Our hunger beat out our will to dance so we ended up at a chic hotel that served all night meals which we gladly ate between shared laughter about embarrassing dance stories. Five in the morning and Ben, Arthur and I were in a cab heading home. We left a few people at the Hotel who decided to have one more drink. It was nearly six. Arthur received a text from one of the Lion King girls that read "It's 6am and I am drunk and hung over at the same time."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What the eye sees.....

I love walking around big cities. It's a feast for the eyes. Ever since I was a little boy growing up in Toronto I always felt inspired just by walking around and looking at people, buildings and street art. There's so much beauty in London. I love the blend and contrast of the old with the new. In New York there are moments where I feel the building feel oppressive in their magnitude. London feels majestic but also quaint. At night the city came alive with new energy, but I never felt in danger.
where skateboards go to die
Ben and Arthur on Brick Lane

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

London Days

I can't believe I only have two more days left in this beautiful city. Coming here I had no idea what to expect or what I was even doing here. It certainly wasn't a destination chosen for rest and relaxation. I was sort of comparing what I knew of big city life to New York but London does have a different vibe. It does have the hustle and bustle (in fact I saw the paramedics aiding a fallen business man during evening rush hour as I followed the current of people towards my train) but the sense of urgency seems to be a little more even-keeled than in New York. London is vast and dense but it doesn't seem to have the heaviness I often get when I am in New York. Certainly I am a bit fatigued but no more so than when I am having a full day in Montreal. I have often thought I would go back to New York if I ever wanted big city life again. But I think it could be London.
Royal Albert Hall
Victoria and Albert Museum (Museums are always great to go to because they're free though full of tourists. On this occasion two exhibits that were going on were a Ballgown exhibit and a Design exhibit
Arthur admitted that in all his years of living in London he'd never really walked through Hyde Park. Having me around was a great excuse to do the tourist stuff in his own city
french boys playing football in the park
Arthur getting the shot for some tourists
inside the Tate Modern

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

London 2012

I can't say I'm singing in the rain per say but I thought this was pretty fitting considering it's quite rainy and grey here. I left Montreal in the middle of a heat wave so it feels like I've jump started my Fall by being here. Thankfully I brought my umbrella but there is a bit of chill in my bones. I am slightly under dressed. So far my goal is to conquer this jet lag. Arthur and Ben live in Brockley which is only a few stops from the heart of the City's West End. Last night I surprised myself by pushing through the London rush hour to see Sweeney Todd. I read an amazing review about Imelda Staunton's performance in the NY Times (she was brilliant) and I was particularly happy to see Michael Ball in the lead role since I have been a fan of his since he was the original Marius in Les Miserable. The show was strong and dynamic with exceptional performances overall. Great way to cut through my fatigue. Grey and rain are great for Gallery walks but brain still lacks the clarity to soak in anything in a meaningful way. Despite my lack of direction (what am I doing here?) I have to admit it's refreshing to be away from my normal surroundings even though it's not a very relaxing choice. The pace of this place means the trip will go fast. Already by tomorrow I will have just a week left and my days are slowly taking some structure with possible club dates, shows and Zumba class(!)
I'm determined to fight the urge to do what I know and eat and shop at the same places I would in Montreal in order to feel safe and comfortable. It's a bit difficult now that every major city is starting to look the same. It was cool to have a coffee at The Crypt at St. Martin's. But my Starbuck addiction continues to be my anchor.
London Fashion outside the Lyceum
"because sometimes the first thing that needs doing on a trip to London is dirty laundry"
my flatmate