Sunday, 19 April 2009

The right place at the right time

The outside of the pub as seen from the men's urinal. © Magnus Andersson

I went to catch up with my friend Sara in a quiet pub the other night, close to where she works in Farringdon. Neither of us had been there before, we just happened to chance upon it; the evening was nice so we had a beer outside.

Solo song from the brilliant guitarist/singer top left-ish. © Magnus Andersson

Soon though, musician after musician started turning up, one after the other with their instrument cases. After about 10 of them had arrived I had to ask what was going on.

Beginners to experts, all were welcome. © Magnus Andersson

It turns out that every first Monday of the month they are gathering there for a session in Greek, Cypriot and Byzantine music, and we were in the right place at the right time. Everyone was welcome, and it was free.

More musicians than spectators. © Magnus Andersson

For most of the night there were more musicians than there were people in the audience, with lots of musicians popping in and out of the session. We met some really nice people who explained the songs to us and I was invited to bring my own guitar for the next session so that I could start playing these songs myself.

Some traditional Greek dancing. © Magnus Andersson

Bouzoukis of all sizes were most prominently featured, but there were also guitars, violins and cellos, along with some percussion and an accordion and of course lots of voices singing, and towards the end, some Zorba style dancing too. It was quite incredible to hear 20+ musicians playing and singing the same song. I cant remember the name of the pub, will update here once I get the facts.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Bank holiday bliss

Tower Bridge this morning, no traffic at all. © Magnus Andersson

I'm sat at work not doing much, waiting for the subs to put the paper to bed. In total there are eight of us in the office today; two editors, two subs, one journo and two on the sports desk, plus me. Nice and quiet, no jobs booked in, lots of time for eBay, facebook, blogs, etc. And the traffic is a dream!
Regardless of whether you happen to celebrate the heathen witches (like me) or choose to believe in the greatest illusionist of all time, who apparently pulled off an amazing feat this weekend, some 2000 years ago; Happy Easter!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Yes & yes!

230-strong police operation on Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, going after known drug dealers on the street after a 3-month surveillance operation. A suspected dealer is arrested and searched. © Magnus Andersson

Just got back from a police crackdown on crack dealers in Brixton and its way beyond midnight now, but earlier today I got some brilliant news; my colleagues Rob and Hannah along with myself are all shortlisted for 'Photographer of the Year' in the Regional Press Awards 2009! All three of us!

And what's more, I'm also up for 'Sports photographer of the year'. More to come in a later post, but here's the full list. Got to get some sleep now.

Friday, 3 April 2009

My new best friend - pt II

My new best friend showing his/her gratitude... © Magnus Andersson

So here's the conclusion!

If you didn't notice already, right at the end of the clip - after I have hand-fed this little bucktoothed bird - she (I'm pretty sure it is a she now, even possibly migrated from northern Ireland) tries to shit on my hand as a thank you. That's how I tend to get repaid at the moment...

As another sign of how good things are going for me at the moment, today it took me three hours to drive home from work. I was bursting for a piss! It's an 8.8 mile (14km) journey from the office to my place, but the G20 protests threw a BIG spanner in the works. Here's hoping for a better future.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

G20 (updated)

Anti capitalist and climate change activists demonstrate in the City of London on April 1, 2009 in London, England. Protesters marched through London demanding action on poverty, climate change and jobs, as World leaders arrived in London ahead of the G20 summit. Getty Images / Jeff J. Mitchell

The G20 meeting is in town and so are the protesters. Much as I would have loved to cover these events, two things prevented me; 1) my newspaper only cover events south of the river Thames (all protests are to the north of it) and 2) yesterday I was incapacitated in bed with a migraine (bohoo), watching it all unfold via BBC News 24 on my laptop. Looked like fun though. And while it dominated front pages for one or two newspapers here in the UK today, The Sacramento Bee in the US has the best photographic coverage! Shame on the UK press for disregarding good photojournalism to this extent.

An injured policeman, second from right, is helped by colleagues during clashes with protestors near the Bank of England, in London, on April 1, 2009. Leaders wrangled Wednesday on how a G20 London summit could fix the global economy as demonstrators attacked a bank in an anti-capitalist riot in the British capital's main financial district. AFP/ Getty Images / AFP Carl De Souza

Update: BTW, an Anonymous reader informed me of this, following on from this. Good stuff, keep it coming.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

My new best friend - pt I

Starling on my rear view mirror earlier today. © Magnus Andersson

Today I made a new and unexpected friend: meet Mr (or possibly Mrs) Starling, on my rear view mirror! Now I don't deny being a bit of a birdwatcher, no siree, but this was quite incredible to have this wonderfully responsive creature so close to me.

Initially I only took a couple of still pictures, just to preserve the moment, but then the bird didn't seem bothered at all, so I switched to wont guess what happened next though.

Part II to follow!