Musical Doodles

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Some Weird and wonderfulls for you, some drawings I used to do in a mysterious mind whilst surrounded by a joss stick cloud under the affluence of incohole . This stage has passed but it was comfortably cool and missed now and again.

Maybe (3)

When Love Doesn’t work

Cat Creation (1)

Monsieur Cat and his Half Eyed Spies

 

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It’s That Time In France

Greece (2) small

Greece and Happy and Boozo

 

Quoting Midnight Reflection

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I found this in amongst notes I wrote when travelling around. I’m not sure when I wrote it, it may have been looking up at the stars whilst taking a breather from a party or it may have been when contemplating alone with a bottle of vin rouge, either way it seems to have meaning when reflecting on our legends upstairs.

 

“I could spend the night looking at the stars, but the cool people up there are saying, ‘Fuck us, go in for a drink and enjoy until we meet again!'”

Angouleme… Unassuming Great!

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Angouleme quite possibly the coolest unknown small city in Europe. The capital of the Charente in south-west France, home to one of Europe’s largest comic festivals and The Circuit des Ramparts motor racing event where classic cars race around the city entertaining the crowds. None of which I’ve been to just a bit of WikiBoum! for you.

Here’s why it ranks high.

I have stayed in Angouleme many times as a stop off before travelling to a family holiday home just 40 minutes from the city centre. This year I have been and stayed in some amazing towns and cities including Paris, Monaco, Avignon, Florence, Cinque Terre, Bern, Brussels, Edinburgh and a handful of others (It’s Been a good year!) and each time I return the same questions get asked, How was it, where does it rank, does it beat Angouleme? The answer always seems to be the same, ”Angouleme has still got the edge”. It’s hard to say why because Paris, Florence, Barcelona and others are bigger and better but something inside me says that Angouleme’s still the one.

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When first arriving at the TGV train station you get the impression that Angouleme is quite a harsh, dirty looking place with very square and industrial looking buildings, a nothing town on the way to Bordeaux. I think this is why it’s stayed so cool with its unassuming start and fantastic ending. From the station head up the steep weaving hill that always seems to go on for longer than the last time you did it. still wondering what you’re doing here you will all of a sudden get to the old town. A mini acropolis filled with café’s, restaurants, and the odd museum.

The narrow streets are quirky and filled with vibrant and meaningful street art. Being home to the comic Angouleme is etched with murals splashed across whole buildings, another little peculiarity of the city is its street signs which are made up from speech bubbles as another nod to comics.

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This typically French city Is alive with students, business people and visually enhancing eccentrics. Lunch time is laid back but important with narrow streets lined with tables set out for the ever necessary plate du jour. The night-time is abuzz, often with street music, most congregate at either the Chat Noir or Blues Rock Café (my personal choice) with people having a sneaky Pastis or sipping wine and having a good time, the atmosphere is chilled outers. After a few here wander the streets aimlessly, stopping at the personally created bars, some odd but always welcoming, once I’ve done my mooching and want to finish the night with a bang I head for Cafe Chaud where three streets meet and two café’s compete. A naturally well dressed crowd meet to drink and eat the night away, my French is quite non existent but the people in Angouleme always seem to help you out and adopt you into their conversations, sometimes silly, sometimes serious, sometimes racy. The owner seems to know me well after my many visits and on the last three occasions I’ve been persuading or should I say had no choice but to get up and do a rendition of New York New York! an everlasting memory followed by another, where it was the morning after Beaujolais day and was suffering red wine fatigueness, I walked into a boulangerie (L’Elysee, my favourite) ordered a pain au chocolate, bought a bottle of Beaujolais, and walked out with Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe playing from the speakers at street corners, it was like living in a film! BOUM!

When in Angouleme I stay in Hotel du Palais a colourful and traditional hotel where the rooms are clean and all designed individually, staff are very helpful and the location is perfect!

Photo Time…

 

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MOJO, I’ve Found It!

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Yo Jo!

Luckily by accident I got it, this copy of MOJO, from a local establishment. This is how.

”Can I buy this?”

”yes you can borrow it.” Said the barman.

”No, no, can I have it.. and keep it, I love the cover, I may frame it” I said.

He had a good look at it and said.

”Ooh it’s a gooden, but go on then, keep it!”

Perfectly simple, asking for something for nothing that’s worth paying for.

Thank you very much that barman and that establishment, Heroes !!

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The coolest cover I’ve ever seen, an old copy of MOJO from 1996 in the September issue, the month of my birthday. Not only is it the bestest cover, but it features two of my favourite bands, Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac. This issue focuses on the mysterious minds of Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. Both have heroic status and wonderful outer world stories, unstoppable forces only to be stopped by themselves!

Some P H O T O ‘ S

JuSt HeRe …

 

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Here and There in Cinque Terre

Blog, Cinque Terre
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Perfect Apartment View !!

 

Ciao, here’s some of my Cinque Terre best bits!

I Had never heard of Cinque Terre until finding it by accident on a top 10 places to visit in Europe poll. Once I had seen some of the photographs published online I immediately added it to my itinerary when travelling around Europe. Before arriving here I had spent some time in France and just about picked up some French words and phrases, which led me calling this place Sank Terre which left it sounding rather mundane, It was my first time in Italy and hardly knew any words apart from the usual things like Pizza and Peroni. Once asking and listening to the locals pronounce it, the place was immediately beautiful, as they would pronounce it Chiiiinqwaaa Teeeera! along with poetic hand expressions. I had arrived!

Once we hopped off the train at Cinque Terre after a scenic journey from southern France I could instantly see that this was a stunningly beautiful area. Cinque Terre is made up of Five small towns, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Each town can be easily reached by train, boat or hiking trails. I was staying in Riomaggiore for a week which is the southern most of the five towns.

Riomaggiore is absolutely gorgeous with its small high street full of cosy and traditional restaurants, shops and bars which leads down to a very pretty harbour. on my first night I was wankered….. Oops no I meant in heaven already, after a lovely meal where I had fish that had be caught that day just meters away from where I was sitting in restaurant La Lanterna. After the meal head up to bar La Conchiglia to watch a dazzling sunset with Chianti in hand and Italian music lulling away in the background, the perfect start. Boum!

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bar La Conchiglia

 

Wandering in Riomaggiore is easy, no museums, no sightseeing, no feeling of needing to do anything apart from be there. In the morning you should stop off for coffee in a cafe and relax whilst watching and listening to locals deep in conversation almost singing to each other or hanging laundry just about perfectly from balconies. In the afternoon stroll down (with supplies) to the harbour and make your way to the cove like, stoney beach. Find yourself a rock and listen and watch the waves lap up the beach, perfectly blue water framed by quite dramatic grey cliffs whilst supping on the drink of choice. BOUM! After a day on the beach head back to the village and take photos looking up the high street, it’s almost impossible to take a bad picture in Cinque Terre, even the tattier buildings look marvellous, like a scruffy friend who never looks out of place in a photograph. On your way back stop at bar Centrale to quench your thirst, a great bar at all times of the day or night, owned by locals and populated with people on their travels, fantastic atmosphere, just don’t get to involved on the home made Limoncello, dangerous but lovely stuff! Once leaving here we would often take a pizza back to the apartment and watch the evening drift in (all the pizza places are better than any you’ve tried before, Mamma Mia! pizza could top the bill though). On our trip we were staying at Appartament La Conchiglia by Clelia Apartments down a small and perfectly rustic lane just off the high street, with lemon trees touching distance from the apartment block. Apartment La Conchiglia is very fresh with a fully equipped kitchen, comfortable living space and a spacious bedroom. The views from every window in the apartment are mind blowingly beautiful and constantly mesmerising! If you can tear yourself away from watching the sunset at the kitchen head down to the town again and bar hop the night away, Bar CentraleBar O’Netto and the one opposite O’Netto were our favourite night spots, the locals really accept and make good conversation with tourists and before you know it red wines being sold by the bottle and not the glass! BOUM! Watching slightly fatigued (wobbly) people trying to walk up the hill doing one eighties and ending up where they started is a great time passer!

Rick Steves your views on Vernazza are perfect but for me it’s Riomaggiore all the way!

My Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola to come, watch this space…..

But for now here’s my Rio.

BOUM!

 

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Sunset Sipping

 

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Down To The Harbor!

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The Hills Of My Rio

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Sunset From The Apartment

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Blubering In Florence. BLUB!

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Florence your absolutely gorgeous with all that ol’ charm and stuff but sometimes places need to get a bit of a kick in the bollocks and try something new, I wouldn’t say this was an almighty kick but it’s a pretty groovy start. Whilst wandering the dawn coloured streets I couldn’t help noticing the subtle street art that’s stamped across the city. This Blub fellow was my pick of the best bunch, his pieces known as L’Arte Sa Nuotare (Art Knows How To Swim) are very clever, eye-catching, addictive and limitless. Quite simply famous and historic folk, predominately Italians with worthy non natives thrown in wearing scuba and swim wear. Very Yes!

 

Here’s some Photos I got, Boum! oops I mean BLUB!

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Paris

Blog, Paris

Paris, my Paris, fabulous Paris and almost knew It before I ever went there. For me personally I’ve always felt that if everything goes wrong I can always escape to Paris and everything will work out, it’s like my little back up plan. the first time I arrived here from London was a brief encounter of two hours, just enough time for a couple of beers and a baguette in Montparnasse, before heading off to Angouleme in the Charente. this was just a teaser and since then I have visited on several occasions and feel that I know my way round pretty well and feel comfortable around the Parisians. Get to love the Parisians arrogance, you’ll enjoy them so much more.

This time I rented an apartment for a week, a nice amount of time to feel like you can stay here without buzzing around like a blue arsed fly. I was staying in Rue Quincampoix a very cool road in Beaubourg, the 4th arrondissement of Paris. This road is perfect, full of small art galleries, independent shops, almost secret bars and nice restaurants. It’s a great central position right next to the Pompidou but is very quiet, not many tourist just the way I like it… Says the tourist.

On the first day it is almost impossible not to head down to the River. I mooch over Pont Saint-Michel take in and admire the views without a care in the world and stroll onto the left bank watching the people and listening to the saxophone man blasting out some tunes, one of my favourite things about Paris is the constant music surrounding the streets. I meander on to Rue Saint-Andre Des Art, another favourite road of mine, I love the lackadaisical hustle and bustle down here also the cool bars, I always seem to end up in Le Mazet bar, great atmosphere, good music and great for meeting locals and travelling folk alike, once a haunt of Jim Morrison for the Jimbo fans out there. it’s just lovely to take some of the turnings off this road and get lost among the smaller streets, shops, and ever so bohemian galleries. I remember once stumbling into an art gallery in which an artist was doing a painting to the music of a live jazz band whilst free champagne was given out to a handful of spectators, I obviously felt obliged to watch him finish and sup champagne all night long!

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Notre Dame and river boat and trees

Rue Saint-Andre Des Art is the perfect route to descend upon Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Although not as boho as some would like to think, it is still a must when in Pareee, I always seem to get slightly lost around here as I’m intrigued by the streets and go off in all sorts of tangents. it’s the best way! Refreshment time, plot up in La Palette for the drink of your choice, I love the sound of the clinking plates and short sharp service from the staff. It’s people watching heaven, from the eclectic customers to the colourful tourists, my favourite is watching the gorgeous French women walking past, mainly dressed in black giving me that arrogant stare that leaves me unsure and them all-powerful. This is a regular occurrence. After wandering aimlessly through Germain-des-Pres head to the river and take a look at the locals selling lovely looking old books, pieces of art and general unwanted tit tat, it’s quite intriguing and relaxing. For dinner head back across the Seine to a restaurant called Le Coude Fou, a great bistro style restaurant in le Marais decorated with ever so French humoured interior, the staff are really friendly and accommodating, the food gorgeous and well priced, what more could monsieur want!

Jazz Is Paris and Paris Is still certainly Jazz! When I think of Paris every now and always, I often go into a cosy red misted jazz trance and want to be there instantly. If you look closely it’s everywhere, from the musicians on the bridges to men randomly walking around with pull along trolleys playing their trumpets or walking through Pere Lachaise cemetery to the sounds of gentle violins and steady clarinets, it’s still alive and kicking. The Jazz clubs are still frequented regularly by young and old, I’ve visited a handful of clubs and never been disappointed. Every time I’m in Paris I always seem end up at Le Caveau de la Huchette in the Latin quarter, I know it’s the obvious jazz club to visit but I just love it, standing downstairs listening to the music with vin rouge in hand watching couples dance the night away whilst the local old hands pull up young observers to show them a step or two, Boum! The best club for newcomers to Paris. Just marvellous! For a cleaner more sharp venue I suggest Le Duc des Lombards on rue Des Lombards, this place has a great relaxed atmosphere and is more reserved than Le Huchette jazz club. Lombards is host to a great mix of local and international musicians. These are my favourites, but there all good, just give them a go, it’s gonna be jazz hot baby.

After a cafe and croissant in any of the cafes head to Belleville! The market here on Tuesdays and Fridays is just incredible, it’s the longest market in one straight line I’ve ever been or seen, I’m not a big eater of fruit, I hardly eat it at all but the produce on the market stalls is just so shiny and beautifully presented it’s too tempting, it got the better of me and so I picked up a few bits and pieces for my forthcoming wander. After the market (if you go on a market day) head to Rue Dénoyez and immerse yourself in the street art/graffiti, the colours are amazing, everything sprayed up as if the street has been wrapped up for a big occasion. It’s as spellbinding, if not more so than many of the main sights! whether you like graffiti or not it is certainly worth a visit, after leaving this rainbow street head up the hill to Belleville Parc for amazing views of Paris, have a flop on the benches and just take in the scenery with the excitement of knowing you that you can return to the city centre in a short time. Finish off with a Belleville rendezvous in one of the nearby cafes, I sat outside La Pétanque at Place Maurice Chevalier, a traditional out the way little cafe/bar, a great people watching spot, full of locals and good service, not the prettiest looking bar but I loved and enjoyed it thoroughly!

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Rue Dénoyez

From here meander on to Canal Saint Martin and take a look at the colourful shop fronts, picturesque waterways and bridges, apparently scenes from the film Amélie where shot around here, I haven’t seen it but I’ll take everyone’s word for it. walk alongside the water, choose a bridge and just stare at the canal, quite mesmerising! head back down and find a restaurant called La Marine, Fantastic vibe, full of the noises you dream of hearing before coming to Paris, plates, glasses, chinking cutlery, conversation, wonderful music and scribbling of orders. The food is a joy as is the wine! Allez Allez! I’ve not spent loads of time in this area but from what I’ve seen and heard, it should be on your list.

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Canal Saint Martin

New day, another bleary eyed cafe and pain au chocolat, head off to Montmartre, get the Metro to Pigalle and take a look at the Moulin Rouge, it feels and looks terrible through the day, but at least you know where to head for night-time redness and colourful photo snaps. spend 5 minutes here then head up the hill to Montmartre, take Rue Lepic near Blanche Metro station keep heading upwards onto Rue Thorloze, at the top of this road you’ll come across a cafe called Autour Du Moulin. Step in. This cafe is traditional and missed by the tour parties and crowds, Each time I am here the air is filled with the perfect potent smell of coffee, whilst frenchies indulge in there plat du jour with Charles Trenet softly playing in the background, step outside for a superb view of Paris in all of its loveliness. This is one of my favourite spots. BOUM! From hear do a right and head towards the centre of Montmartre and its crooked streets, art galleries and foodie stops. the main square is a lovely place to sit and watch the artists entice tourists with portraits of all kinds. It’s great up here, laid back yet bustling. all this and there’s still the Sacre Cour to see in all its glory. Its beautiful with yet more panoramic views of this great city.

Bastille at night-time or just before… Take a quick glance at the Place de la Bastille monument then dodge the traffic and head into the thick of things. go down Rue De La Roquette and do a right onto Rue De Lappe. A very cool little road with a diverse range of bars, I haven’t tried the restaurants around here, just the sipperty sip places, which it’s very good for. If you feel like you need a pub atmosphere head to the Yellow Mad Monkey, dark, good and woody! I’ve also stumbled into Le Bar à Nenettes on several occasions, which is a pretty laid back bar filled with eclectic customers and staff alike. very good whether busy or quite. I’ve been in a few other places around this area but had to good a time to get names and so on. Try it, I dare you!

I’m going to finish where I almost started, with Rue Quincampoix. This really has become my favourite street in Paris, I don’t think I realised how much I loved it until I started writing about the other areas. I thought I’d leave it until the end to explain why, so that the people who didn’t get this far would miss out and selfishly not make my road to busy. So well done you’ve persisted, struggled and made it! Rue Quincampoix, for starters the name itself is quite quirky and unique, not a clue what it means but it certainly stands shyly alone among the rest of the road names in Paris. A narrow road creeping through surrounding busyness, the art galleries are classically inventive, full of refreshing works set in beautifully strong buildings. It’s hard to walk at any sort of pace and is best tackled by lolloping along, being drawn into each building to see what’s going on, its full of independents, not a chain in sight! The cafes and bars are down to earth and retain local normality gracefully. I love walking Paris at night and knowing your coming back to this street is an absolute privilege, with its yellow lanterns casting shadows, the sound of infrequent heels clicking along the cobbles and dimly lit bars both suggestive and welcoming, this is exactly what I want from this city. This street alone is filled with some of my favourite haunts; l’imprévu Bar and L’Art Brut stick out for me with their candle lit feel and style with naturally good staff that emit unassuming coolness, both playing subtle music complimented by conversation from folk of all ages and faces. Also Brooklyn Bar run by a fly American guy has a great vibe and is filled with young locals and knowhow visitors. Finally  L’Acte 3, the owner’s fantastic, helpful and on the ball, great place for drinks and everything else, walking out of here with a watermelon among other things at the break of dawn was a definite highlight…. I Think.

That’s my Paris for now, use a few ideas and enjoy this city however you like. BOUM!

Paris In Pics…

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Petanque in Pareee

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Anyone for the Louvre

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Serge Gainsbourg House

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Jardin Luxembourg

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Not Sure ???

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Park Mooching

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Sacre Coeur

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All The Best Jim…

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Le Mmoulin Rradet near Montmartre

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Peaceful Easy Squeezing.

The Trip, Paris and so on.

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Hello, I’ve just returned from an 8 week tour of France, bits of Italy, a touch of Switzerland and a hint of Belgium. I travelled alone for most of the trip apart from meeting up with friends in Paris and was joined by my brother in Monaco and Cinque Terre. I hope to explain and elaborate on the scruffy/artistic notes I’ve taken along the way. Its two note books filled with cool times, great restaurants, groovy bars, strange happenings and delirious quotes. I love to go out with friends and family but sometimes you cant beat going for it on your own and being left to your own devices, go where you want take as much or little time as you like, sneak out of sticky situations and stumble upon fantastic times. In nearly every place I visit I’ll try and go to the best and worse areas, I love the contrast between the two and normally end up liking the less talked about supposedly worse, up and coming places (rebel, rebel). Give us a chance, read, read on.

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