Dia Art Foundation for Crack In The Road

My next piece for Crack In The Road is out! I had already written a little about one of the Dia sites (The New York Earth Room) a couple a posts ago and this piece expands on that exploring a few more Dia sites in New York City as well as their vast space at Beacon, which houses world-class conceptual and minimalist art, about a 2-hour train ride upstate along the Hudson River.

Dia CITH

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Junk Glorious Junk, The Finest Junk Shops In London

Returning from Berlin with a suitcase bursting with fabulous junk, I decided to visit two of my favourite London junk shops to see what new delights might have turned up. Although I often come home with a couple of purchases I mainly go with the view of meandering through these chasmic troves for inspiration and amusement.

Butler’s Furniture, 157 Martha Street, E1 2PG

Brian’s railway arch features a lot more that just furniture, most notably a collection of hand painted signs and mis-matched effigies, which presumably he made himself. The centrepiece is a butler-bull which if I had the space would certainly become a permanent fixture of my entrance hall. Be sure to mantain a keen eye as things often get tucked around corners or behind one of the many signs which range from abstract comedy to darker political commentaries.

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Des & Lorraine’s, Bacon Street, E2 6DY 

First things first you need to ask Des to show you his mummified mermaid. Then you can get to your browsing, and browsing it may be because amusingly lots of the stock isn’t for sale. I like to think of him as a professional hoarder, keeping a shop to justify his collections. The unspoken rule is anything you can reach you can buy, anything that is suspended or on a high shelf is off limits to customers. Multi-plugs, crockery, cameras, tins, tools, toys and furniture can be found among the innumerable oddities that grace this kingdom of junk.

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The Old Bailey

On my return to London, and following my visit to the Paris Catacombs, I decided to visit another un-tourist destination, that I have been meaning go to for a while.

The Central Criminal Court, or Old Bailey as it’s colloquially known, is open Monday to Friday 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm for members of the public to watch trials in session. You never know what you are going to get until you arrive, so this particular ‘attraction’ can be a little hit and miss, but makes for a unique and interesting stop off. The Old Bailey is one of the most famous criminal courts in the world with many historic cases taking place there. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be fascinating to watch the pomp and ceremony of the British law system, where white wigs are juxtaposed by white MacBooks which the legal teams tap away on. I will certainly be returning for further visits and very much enjoyed gaining some understanding of our legal system, be sure to arrive promptly as the public galleries fill up quickly, especially on more publicised cases.

Old Bailey sign

Old Bailey sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Worth noting: You cannot take mobile phones / large bags / food or other electronic equipment into the public galleries, and there is no where to store them within the court, so leave them at home if you can! Or a couple of the shops nearby will charge you (£2 – £5) to leave items with them.

More info here: http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/what-we-do/Pages/Central-Criminal-Court.aspx