Planes, trains and mobiles

My mobile phone’s an accumulator of moving-image junk. But string’em together, speed them up, upload them to Flickr and you’ve got something like a “day in the life” in 90 seconds. Add some punchy music and you have a home-made rush. Turn it up and click on the arrow in the middle of the pic below:

Planes, trains and automobiles
(All clips taken with my mobile phone on, above or below London’s public surfaces.)

In order: Blackwall Tunnel, Oxford Street tube station, Tower Bridge from a plane coming in to land at London City Airport, Baker Street (Bakerloo Line platform), Canary Wharf from above, Jubilee Line arriving at Kingsbury Station, The O2 from above Docklands, exiting the barriers at Kingsbury tube station, Ms.79 making fresh roti (chappati), driving around Francis Road in Leyton, East London.

Music is Aag (fire) by Ms Scandalous and the Punjabi Hit Squad featuring Alyssia. Ignore (and please try to forgive) the desperately cheesy rap, it’s the headbangingly, leg-twitchingly, addictive beat that gets you, plus of course the audio cameo of Alyssia’s beautiful singing voice. If you have the excellent Spotify player (the best music app on Planet Earth at the moment) then simply click here. If you haven’t got Spotify then GET IT NOW! It’s ace. (Apologies in advance; Spotify might only be available to some European users only.)

Like starting over

The train took far too long to arrive. So please accept our apologies for the delay. In return for the long wait turn up the volume really loud and click on the green button below:

Enjoy (Just Like) Starting Over by John Lennon, released October 1980.

Picture taken with my cameraphone on the Jubilee Line southbound/eastbound towards Docklands early one morning in March 2009. Yes, it’s rather depressing sometimes to realise how much “work” can eat into the limited and precious time we have left to spend with friends and family. People tell me that we should be lucky we have a job, but I often wonder …

12 mins

This is what happens when you forget to pick up a Metro on your way into the tube station at 6.30 in the morning.

Waiting a long time for a train to arrive
(Taken with my cameraphone at Kingsbury Station; Southbound Jubilee Line platform.)

In case you hadn’t been drawn to it automatically, click on the green button in the picture and turn up the volume. (Music is extract from The Lonely Shepherd by Gheorghe Zamfir. Remember the ending of the movie Kill Bill Vol 1?)

Moment in time

I did exactly 4175 cameraphone web-uploads in 2008. By far the majority are mundane in subject, and mediocre in quality. But every one of them tells a story. Especially if you stare at them hard enough. I didn’t know with which one to close out the year, so I chose the one that sits closest in time to the the middle-most point of the year:

Every picture tells a story if you stare at it hard enough.
(Taken with my cameraphone at almost the exact mid-point of 2008.)

Wishing everyone who lands here all the best for the New Year!


Waiting around in the DARK, WET and COLD – waiting for the 79 to turn up. I guess I should be grateful for the quality thinking time that I get to myself. But I can dream about being elsewhere. If you stare at the approaching 79 bus in the picture below hard enough I’m sure we can elevate ourselves into the same plane of thought ….

Wishing I were somewhere else
(Taken with my cameraphone whilst waiting for a Route 79 bus home at Alperton, West London.)


A collection of some of my favourite images from over the last few months. Click on the green button below. Music is a dance number called Galang, by MIA (Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam) – A sometimes-controversial West London-born, Sri Lankan artist. (You can watch the video of this track at YouTube if you click here.)

Photo slide-show: Click on green button to load, and to step through pics.
(All pictures taken in London – and with my cameraphone of course.)

City of London

Returned from a weekend away in the outer Western suburbs of London earlier this week. Although Vancouver is a very pleasant place, and Los Angeles International Airport is a humdrum of a place to connect, neither accept Oystercards yet. For my return bus journey I like to get an “F” seat, as most flights on final approach into Heathrow approach from the East, and if you’re lucky to have a cloud-free sky, you’ll get a great view of the Docklands, The City and West End as the plane tracks the river westwards.

Unfortunately for me this time I could only get an “A” seat, which means a great view of South London’s .. er .. suburbs and … er … Croydon. And it was cloudy. But, my luck was in when as my plane undertook some manoeuvre that involved descending by heading South-Eastwards over the city first, and there it was as we popped out from just under a cloud:

A rare Eastward view over the City of London.
(Taken with my cameraphone aboard a 777 coming in to London Heathrow.)

You can clearly see St.Paul’s Cathedral, The Barbican, Tower 42, Swiss Re, Tower Bridge, and more. Fascinating. You can explore the original-size view of this pic here. And there is another shot I took a moment later where Docklands comes into distant view.

Happy Diwali

The rapidly darkening evenings tells us that it’s that time of year again. For all those celebrating a little light, hope and optimism: a very happy Diwali!

Happy Diwali 2008 from London’s Trafalgar Square.
(Pictures taken with my cameraphone at the Mayor of London’s “Diwali in the Square” event.)

In these forever uncertain times, wishing peace, good health and good karma to all those who click-through to here from wherever you come from.


I love that word, it’s so descriptive. Almost onomatopoeic.

(Taken with my cameraphone at Liverpool Street tube station Eastbound platform.)

Yet more waiting. Central Line Westbound at Liverpool Street. Although I am told that in Mumbai it could it be worse. A part of me finds that hard to believe. I waited for three trains to pass before I managed to (only just) squeeze on. Silly me; should’ve known that most of the East End heading west would not necessarily get off at Liverpool Street during the morning rush hour. A face full of hair-gel later I was at my destination in the City. It would’ve been faster to walk it, but something willed me to persist in the quest to squeeze in, get on, and get there.


I find myself doing it a lot lately.

Waiting for a train.
(Taken with my cameraphone.)

Whilst waiting for a southbound Metropolitan Line train at Wembley Park, I find myself wondering how much time in our lives we spend waiting. For something. Or something to happen.

London free newspapers

London has been blighted with free newspapers in the last few years. At first it was Metro, a free morning newspaper that is left in huge piles at the entrance to most tube stations and often found in smaller piles for you to help yourself to in the bulky-luggage spaces on-board London’s buses. And then, a few years later (a couple of years ago), the Metro was joined by another couple of free-sheets called The London Lite and The London Paper, which are normally distributed by (seemingly) foriegn-student hander-outers standing outside Central London tube stations and busy thoroughfares.

And so, with a glut of free newspapers being distributed and handed-out to commuting Londoners, there is little excuse for not having something to read on the way to work and on the way home. However, in my humble opinion, these free-sheets are slightly irritating. They carry “disposable” news, and they are disposed of indiscriminately all over the transport systems, causing unsightly mess and feeding the public’s brains with sensation, doom and celebrity-gossip. And therefore very little in terms of literary or journalistic value. Still, the majority of the travelling public seem to love’em so one can’t be too critical I suppose.

Anyway, one thing that I’ve noticed is the intensity of competition between London Lite and London Paper in the evenings: as I said, they employ “hander-outers” who have an extremely assertive manner of handing out the free papers to passers by on the streets outside train/tube stations and “high-human-traffic” pavements. Not only do they thrust these papers in your way as you walk by, hoping you’ll take one, but they also seem to cause major human congestion as they occupy considerable space standing there with arms outstretched. But you can’t help but admire their persistence in doing so; often chanting in weird-accented fashion, the name of the paper.

The other day I noticed one of the hander-outers undertaking some kind of strange “slapping” ritual whilst handing out his papers:

A quirky, free paper hander-outer in Central London.
(Taken with my cameraphone outside Tottenham Court Road tube station near Centre Point.)

London by Monet

Just about an hour by train southbound from London’s King’s Cross St Pancras station you will find an outer suburb of London called Lille, which happens to fall within French jurisdiction. One of the best things about this town, actually: THE BEST thing about this town is an art gallery called The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, which houses the most important collection of fine art in France after the The Louvre in Paris.

Personally, I like the Palais des Beaux Arts far more than Louvre, because a) it’s do-able in one afternoon, and b) the building and galleries are full of magnificent sights to behold. It’s exactly what you expect an art gallery to be like: vast spaces, wondrous paintings and sculptures, and most important of all; a sense of solitude that is the very antithesis of the tourist-packed Louvre. No being shuffled fast and furiously past paintings of the great masters here; you can hang around as long as you like and contemplate at some amazing works by Delacroix, David, Goya, Rodin, Van Dyck, Reubens etc.

But bestest of all is a particular painting that warrants a pilgrimage on its own …

Le Parlement de Londres by Claude Monet
(Taken with my cameraphone at Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille.)

From a distance of a few metres, the object in the painting is recognisable to us Londoners in pin-sharp instantaneousness. But from a few centimetres away it looks like a hodge-podge mess of oil-paint randomness. That’s the wonder of impressionism. That’s Claude Monet. And that’s what makes Lille a “must visit” place.

(In the picture above you can see some French art students reproducing this painting. On the afternoon of my visit, at no other painting in the entire gallery was anyone else doing this.)

Moroccan Chicken

Haven’t put up a recipe for ages. So how about chicken in a slightly different style. Not Indian style per se, but can be put together in any kitchen equipped and stocked for Indian cooking. It makes a great change and focusses on the wonderful combination of chickpeas and chicken. This combo is popular in the Mediterranean regions of Europe and North Africa, where the chickpeas are used liberally in meaty stews as well as salads. Contrast this with the use of chickpeas in South Asian and Indian cuisines, where chickpeas are used as a “centrepiece” rather than an ingredient – e.g. in chole bhatura or channa masala etc. Anyway, this recipe is a Moroccan style one, so plenty of use of chillie, turmeric, cumin and coriander, but with a really fresh Mediterranean edge through the use of olives, lemon, parsley and chickpeas.

Moroccan style chicken bake with salad
(Pictures taken with my cameraphone)

Click here to learn how to prepare this tasty dish. Best eaten al fresco in your back garden whilst a semblance of summer remains.

Word Cloud

You know how you go to “Web 2.0” presentations in really swanky Covent Garden venues where “cool” people talk to their Powerpoint slides about endless mashup opportunities that arise from the wisdom of crowds and the power of the web as a platform for market disruptions and exciting user-experiences etc. etc. etc. ? Well, there’s always one slide they always throw up; one that such a presentation would not be complete without: the Word Cloud. So I was staring at a blank Powerpoint slide thinking I’d like to make a Word Cloud slide too. Click on the image below to see it build up:

A Word Cloud generated from this blog’s web-feed.
(Video of Wordle Creation taken with my cameraphone of course.)

Thanks to Paul Golding who showed me the way to this rather neat app.