Tag Archives: London

You’ll find me in Whitechapel

EN

The doors of the overground carriage shut loudly, isolating me from the still slightly crowded platform at Whitechapel station.

It was already late and I just wanted to go home and sleep.

I was trying to shake off my growing, unexpected uneasiness by staring at my phone and I nearly didn’t notice something was wrong until an emotionless voice stated for the whole train’s benefit: “Stepney Green”.

Wait… That wasn’t the line or even the direction I was supposed to take. I wondered how I could have jumped on the wrong train, but I guessed I hadn’t paid enough attention. I had to go back.

Chuckling inwardly to reassure myself, acknowledging that these things happen, that this was just the harmless result of my lack of sleep, I walked down a few badly lit corridors and waited for a train on a shady platform full of drunk teenagers. I was back to Whitechapel in no time. The platform looked pretty much the same as ten minutes earlier, albeit less crowded.

This time I triple checked I was entering the right overground, a weed-smelling train heading north west. I cautiously took my e-reader from my bag and started to read a nonfiction collection by Neil Gaiman. I let the stations flow past in a blur, losing track of the world around me until Neil Gaiman asked the readers to look around them and observe their surroundings. I lowered my e-reader and looked. That’s when I noticed I was going back to Whitechapel.

Not again? What had happened? Dejected and slightly frightened, with a headache looming over, I got off hastily at Whitechapel and tried to figure out what my options were. It was now too late to take another train. Was the ghost of Jack the Ripper haunting this station? I surfaced under a cloudy night, wanted to call for an Uber, but my battery was out and I couldn’t see any taxis on Mile End.

I took a perpendicular street, which looked older and more unkempt than its neighbour. It was a quaint little thing, cobbled and deserted apart from a quiet stray fox. Nothing there seemed to have been built after 1901 and some window sills were holding drying laundry. Utterly fascinated, I immersed myself in this unusual gas lit atmosphere and followed the fox for a while, until I noticed a decrepit sign adorning what looked like stables: “Sights and Stallions”. Interesting… But I couldn’t think about going home on horseback, could I?

I had mounted a pony once when I was eight and a camel when I was twelve. That was hardly impressive. But did I have any choice? Wasn’t it the time to be bold and daring? I had to try something and didn’t feel like walking home yet.

I knocked at a shabby looking door leading to the brick horse stalls. A tall, bearded man with a top hat opened.

“What do you want, miss?” he asked in what sounded to me as a cliché, Oliver Twist cockney accent.

“Hm, do you, by any chance, provide carriages or horses? I appear to be, ha, stuck here in Whitechapel.”

His genuine laughter, devoid of malice, filled the empty street.

“Sure thing, Belzy will bring you home. Don’t you worry about him, he’ll come back here on his own. And the first mount is free!”

“Thanks a lot! But I…”

“Don’t trouble yourself, he is very kind with everyone.”

This was all very surreal – the stallion was, I could swear, looking at me with a hint of amusement and everything was so out of place. I mounted the horse with indeed very few difficulties and Belzy – was that short for Belzebuth? – seemed to know instinctively where I was going, for he headed almost immediately North West.

After a while though he started to recede, his stride less confident, and he finally turned around. Nothing I could think of doing was working and the horse left me right in front of Whitechapel station.

Again.

Would I ever go away?

My heart racing in a panic, I just ran as far as I could, people looking at me weirdly. I stopped to catch my breath, panting, and found myself back to where I started.

*****

I’m writing this on a notebook waiting for the morning train, hoping that this time I’ll manage to get out. I’ll leave this on a train seat and perhaps if I don’t make it, someone else will read it and find me. I’ll be waiting for you in Whitechapel station.

Canal of Consciousness

EN

This is an “automatic” text, using the same stream of consciousness method I used here, for instance.

I wrote it in August/September 2015, when I was looking for a job in the London area, and thinking about living in Camden – I do now!

***

Flickering lights over all those bricks, I trick and play while I rent for mercy and delightfully stumble upon a dark material made of black rubber and velvet. I wish I could stay in those daydreams where I wander aimlessly along wide canals and shallow waters, full of dirty roads when the mind just goes blank.

I foresee the cast of an Iron Will, when I just can go everywhere and throw away anything that I ever made in Paris, where I wish to retain only a portion of what was left after you. Curly, long fingertips brush on silky skin while a shark takes its toll on a giant road full of stacks.

Be careful, my dear, for you are losing any hope you ever had of retaining a semblance of normalcy. Chaos, chaos everywhere, and it leads to a darker shade under the willow tree, the bridge where dreams and reality meet.

You stand proudly on a derelict path, waiting for your destiny to unfurl. Faithful to the last newcomer, you dwell in the suburbs full of hate and shame until you just can’t breathe anymore, your lungs full of crime and blame. Raise your anger my friend, see the red light broadening your way, guiding you to the place among the places, the one you were avoiding and craving for at the same time.

Happy New Year 2015! Bonne année 2015 !

EN(In French below)

Dear All,

The Potential Airship and I wish you a wonderful New Year!

I want to thank all my followers and readers, I really enjoyed working on OuZePo in 2014 and will try to write some more in 2015.

I’ve decided to try to take care of my Internet garden, so I’ve groomed my Youtube channel. There’s not much yet, but I’ve created a playlist dedicated to the videos I’ve shared on OuZePo and another one for my professional presentations. I’ve also created a Twitter account to share my posts and interesting finds.

In 2014, I also had the opportunity to travel a lot, for business trips and holidays, and I managed to tick some boxes on my “to see/to do/to visit” wish list. Here are some highlights:

fr-airshipChers tous,

Le Zeppelin Potentiel et moi vous souhaitons une excellente nouvelle année !

Je tiens à remercier toutes les personnes qui me suivent et qui me lisent. J’ai beaucoup aimé écrire pour OuZePo en 2014 et j’espère continuer ainsi en 2015.

J’ai décidé de prendre soin de mon jardin en ligne, donc j’ai commencé par remanier ma chaîne Youtube. Il n’y a certes pas grand chose encore, mais j’ai créé une playlist afin de répertorier les vidéos partagées sur OuZePo et une autre avec mes présentations professionnelles. J’ai aussi ouvert un compte Twitter pour partager mes articles et mes découvertes.

En 2014, j’ai eu l’opportunité de voyager, professionnellement et personnellement, ce qui m’a permis de réaliser quelques rêves. Voici un petit calendrier visuel :

Continue reading Happy New Year 2015! Bonne année 2015 !

Graveyard World Tour: Highgate Cemetery (West), United Kingdom

EN
(En français ici)

Next on my list of amazing cemeteries I’ve visited: Highgate Cemetery, near London (First cemetery of the tour: Okunoin, Japan). I’ve managed to visit it twice so far: 3 years ago on Halloween, and this summer in August. Most pictures in this article won’t be mine – I couldn’t manage to take enough decent photographs with my damaged phone!

Highgate Cemetery is composed of two parts: the East Cemetery, which is the most recent part, and is quite easily accessible, and the West Cemetery, the oldest part, whose tours are regulated and should be booked in advance – it’s really worth it if you happen to be near London.

For some explanations, I’m indepted to the booklet I bought in Highgate Cemetery in August.

Continue reading Graveyard World Tour: Highgate Cemetery (West), United Kingdom

Tour du Monde des Cimetières : Cimetière de Highgate (Ouest), Royaume-Uni

fr-airship
(In English here)

Voici le cimetière suivant de ce tour du monde, après l’Okuno-in au Japon : le cimetière de Highgate, près de Londres. Jusqu’ici j’ai eu la chance de le visiter deux fois : à Halloween en 2011, et cet été en août. La plupart des photographies présentées ici ne seront pas les miennes – je n’ai pas réussi à en prendre de suffisamment correctes avec mon téléphone agonisant.

Le cimetière de Highgate est composé de deux parties : le cimetière Est, le plus récent et facilement accessible, et le cimetière Ouest, le plus vieux, dont la visite doit être réservée à l’avance. Si vous allez à Londres, je vous conseille de réserver, cette visite restera sans doute inoubliable !

Je dois certaines précisions et commentaires ici au livret acheté dans le cimetière lors de ma visite estivale.

Continue reading Tour du Monde des Cimetières : Cimetière de Highgate (Ouest), Royaume-Uni

Fantastic Feasts and Where To Find Them

ENSometimes, your favorite Fantasy heroes take a break from truly un-yummy battles and endeavours to savour the most luscious dishes.

While your mouth is watering uncontrollably as you’re reading the tasty descriptions, you might wish you could taste those recipes in real life and experience the same feasts your heroes do.

Here is a small guide to help you fulfill your culinary wishes.

Game of Thrones A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook

four-stars-and-half

Description

The official Game of Thrones cookbook and cooking blog!
Fans and amateur chefs Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer have recreated a wild range of dishes from across the Seven Kingdoms and beyond.

Continue reading Fantastic Feasts and Where To Find Them

Maps and Imagination

EN

Maps in the belfry

Maps are fascinating. I remember spending so much time as a child designing imaginary maps, mazes or floor plans, folding and unfolding maps, scrutinising globes, seeing continents in a crumbling ceiling, memorising fictional maps in books, and trying to create some out of my favorite fictional places when they didn’t exist. I clearly remember trying to map the family house of some children comic books and being very disappointed when I noticed I couldn’t manage it, because the author didn’t have a clear map in his head and there were some discrepancies in the panels – the kitchen was sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right…

I still am interested in maps, mazes and architecture, and I know some of my co-workers in computer science share my interest. It can also be a Special Interest for some people with Aspergers.

How real is a map?

Are maps trying to depict real data “real” too?

Continue reading Maps and Imagination

Winter Wonderlands

English

Winter is coming!

Here is a gallery of 10 Winter related artworks:

Continue reading Winter Wonderlands

Praha 31, photograph by Viona Ielegems: http://www.viona-art.com/

Graveyards and the City

English

When I was a child, I was afraid of graveyards – and skeletons. They reminded me too much of death. I thought that if I liked something related to death, death would become more meaningful and I did want to negate it.

I avoided graveyards as much as I could, for instance I looked in the other direction each time I had to walk past one, and felt really uncomfortable when I had to enter a cemetary.

However as I grew up, I got more and more inclined towards darker styles, and felt a strange fascination with graveyard scenes in books, then graveyards themselves. I guess trying to embrace such symbols is a way of coping with mortality for me, better than shunning it. It doesn’t work that much, but I have discovered a lot of amazing artworks and places!

When I was a student, my English teacher asked us to make presentations related to the city. I did one on cemeteries.

I began my presentation with a riddle: “There is one in nearly each city. It’s a place full of history, art, architecture, inspiration, nature and crowded with famous people. Guess what I am talking about!”

Nobody guessed. Then I spoke about the London Magnificent Seven, the Tophet in Carthage, Jewish cemeteries, San Michele in Venice, I told them about wildlife and nature in abandoned cemeteries and I shew them some paintings with cemeteries.

More articles to come! The next one: The Graveyard Scene!

(image: Olsany Cemetery, Prague. Praha 31, photograph by Viona Ielegems: http://www.viona-art.com/)