Chance Gallery: Little City Observationist exhibition

The little things in London, often missed by tourists, are a treat when viewed through the eyes – or, lens – of Stephanie Sadler. Her best photos (18 of them) make up her first solo exhibition ‘Little City Observations’ at The Chance Gallery, 123 Sydney Street, Kensington.

See it now until 17 November!

Photo by Vanessa Fergus

Photo by Vanessa Fergus



Stephanie is the Little City Observationist. The exhibition features photos from her blog Little London Observationistwith some photos from abroad too. A New Yorker artist and blogger, she’s called London her home since 2007 and been on a mission to seek out ‘the little things’ on her travels around the world, for her photography and her award-winning (Top Expat Blog Great Britain via Internations, Top Blog England via Go Overseas, one of the World’s Best Travel Blogs via Travel Onion, etc) blog. She’s started a new one recently to capture other cities, too.

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The launch party on Monday was wonderful. The balance of black and white, and colour, photography is laid out with optimum space for appreciation and mingling in the bright little gallery, and the photos themselves have a distinctive style. Consistent with the focus of the blog, I got a real sense of the limitless possibilities of art, street art, blogging, fashion and design across the divides of London.

I caught Stephanie amid mingling and she was a lovely ray of sunshine as a host, and her love for London and art is clear.

Stephanie on the left

Stephanie on the left


Two interesting things strike me about the exhibition.

First, it’s an original and inspired exhibition of the quirks and unusual spots in London, and she has a distinctive style. The consistent blogging has led to a self-made success story purely through dedication, love of Londoners, and she’s a lovely person.

Second, she is clearly genuinely inspired by the city around her and the blog, and the exhibition, gives a real sense of the random mix jumbled together in this vast and varied city. Like her post of 35 Londoners.

It helped me remember why I love it here so much, despite getting caught up in the struggles of life, as we often do, since I came back from New Zealand in 2009.

Have a look and it’ll make you see London in a new way.


Two glasses of wine - and LLO cupcakes!

Two glasses of wine – and LLO cupcakes!

Exhibition was funded via Kickstarter.




The Lost Lectures & Ectetera Theatre, November 2013

The Lost Lectures: Big Fight Live

Price: £27-50.

7pm, Friday, 22 Nov + Saturday, 23 Nov

The Lost Lectures 2013’s finale ‘Big Fight Live’

In 1920s boxing spectacle style, see six cultural heavyweights fight for their ideas in The Lost Lectures 2013’s season finale. This culmination of ‘Enchanting Talks from Secret Locations’ – taking lectures out of corporate halls and into secret, incredible spaces – features an immersive experience of inspiring talks, live music and a BIG fight (with a twist: beat boxing or chess boxing). The first night features Hadyn Parry, James Freedman, Caroline Criado-Perez, Susie Lau (aka Susie Bubble), Jasper Gibson and Reeps One, the beat boxer extraordinaire. The second night features Ruby Wax, Lauren Pears, Simon Baron-Cohen, Paul Steele, a mystery Lost Speaker (submit your idea by 7 Nov and you could be that speaker!) and Tim Woolgar, who will host the Chess Boxing. Live-streamed for the first time, with rap battles from top UK hip hop artists, rambunctious art installations and colourful characters, this finale will be an unforgettable fight.

General Admission.

Secret Location – announced to ticket holders

Night, A Wall, Two Men

Price: £12 (£10 conc.).

9:30pm, Tuesday – Saturday, 19-23 Nov

8:30pm, Sunday, 24 Nov

9:30pm, Tuesday – Saturday, 26-30 Nov

8:30pm, Sunday, 1 Dec

Homeless and nameless; bleak and funny play at Etcetera Theatre

Two nameless, homeless men (played by Donal Cox and John Eastman) are companions who meet at a wall out of habit, but as the hour-long stage play unfolds it becomes clear there are other walls between them. Their bickering and reminiscing reveals their two very different and potentially irreconcilable attitudes to their harsh reality. Multi-ward-winning playwright Daniel Keene highlights the surprising dignity and humanity found in two men living on the edge, with a production that is bleakly funny, sometimes uncomfortable but always gives truthful, spot-on social commentary relevant to the current issues of austerity and survival.

General Admission. Over 16s only.

Etcetera Theatre

The Argus & why it annoyed me

Picked up The Argus on Wed, Oct 30, 2013. I know it’s an easy target, but here’s my scoff:

The Argus: News, Sport, Brighton and Hove Albion and Entertainment for Brighton, Hove and Sussex.

= News, Sport, Brighton and Hove Albion and Entertainment for Brighton, Hove and Sussex.

The front page news? The weather.

The storm that wasn’t. Also, green spaces under threat. There’s no story on the front to be continued, just two headlines that don’t say anything newsworthy. Maybe there’s no news today…

… Except, it’s the day before Halloween.

I just walked down the road and found Brighton, the UK’s top arts and culture city (besides London?), is holding Halloween parties, themes and do’s of some sort in every single venue, pub, and anything else. With a bit of active research, I could come up with at least three distinctive local-daily-news stories related to the exciting night ahead, pictures of Brighton’s streets and décor, interviews with venues, hosts, and chuck in a scary local resident. To be lazy, I could also wax lyrical on Breaking Bad via the inevitable proliferation of Breaking Bad themed Halloween parties.

The front page headline is not even a news piece about the weather; it’s the opinion piece about the weather.

An opinion writer – the last of a dying species of opinion writers actually still paid to fill the endangered territory of a local newspaper double spread – has used his space to write that the weather was not worth the writing. Nihilistic and self-defeating dribble about journalism itself that got his opinion onto the front page: “These feelings of unease were made worse by newspapers such as the Express, which delight in doom-laden weather predictions.”

So where is the breaking news, the daily news, the local news? Page 2 is a national story about the Royal Mail where the only connection seems to be the fact there’s a post office in Brighton; well done. Page 3 seems to be a game of how many fish-related puns – haddock-enough? – can fit into one plaice (sorry) in a story about a fish-and-chip owner who retired. A month ago.

Page 4-5 is ‘Your News’. I’m sure this is a much-cherished feature of The Argus but in practice it means the first actual up-to-date news the local newspaper reader comes across is written by residents, not journalists.

And then: The prominent feature about Kickstarter.

In which, three local projects are cited, fair enough; but these projects aren’t the mainstay of the article. Nothing, absolutely nothing, pertains to anything local until at least two thirds of the way into a double page feature in a local newspaper. The first two thirds give the impression that desperate, confused journalists just Googled their way through and cobbled together a quick collection of speculation and figures without any interested, specialist knowledge – or the inclination to interview anyone to obtain some. This is evident from their cited example of the games console Ouya as a ‘notable success’ on Kickstarter but this project has actually been a catastrophe in every sense of the word.

The Argus has a Twitter feed but they didn’t use it, despite Twitter being the prominent social media used to promote Kickstarter projects.But I can think a couple of Brighton projects off the top of my head I have passively seen via my Twitter feed, despite the fact my feed is based in London. (Reason: Brighton is an arts hub. Does The Argus know that?).

I just found three Brighton projects that are worth much more than a squashed mention at the end of the feature, via a 5 second Twitter search (clue: ‘Kickstarter’ + ‘Brighton’): Playing With Fear, Kollektiv’s First Ever Gallery, and CAT SKIN. These three have something unique about them which I could ascertain from just an interested glimpse.