The masticated artworks by street artist Ben Wilson, who paints pictures on to bits of chewing gum that people have spat on the floor, are firm favourites amongst people who come on my walks. I would perhaps venture as far as to say, they are often, the highlight. I posted last year in May, mentioning that Wilson had been busy painting gum in Shoreditch (east London), and for a short while, my walks in the area were significantly improved. After only a few weeks though, someone came and stole them all.
I've noticed recently some really lovely, detailed chewing gum paintings that Wilson has completed, so have included a few here. Most are approximately the size of a 10 pence piece, a few, more like a fifty pence piece.
This one is a night scene on Rivington Street (Shoreditch) where the gum is situated.
I happened to be cycling along Kingsland Road one day and spotted Ben Wilson lying on the pavement painting. The next time I passed, I stopped to see what he had created. It was the above painting showing the view from where he was lying.
A handful of lovely landscapes have appeared on the walkway on the south end of the Millennium Bridge (Wilson's favourite spot) depicting St Paul's cathedral, the bridge and pedestrians.
A night scene, with St Paul's cathedral.
This one I think reads 'Rolo on the Millennium Bridge'.
'Tent Man'. I'm assuming Mr. Wilson knows the significance of this.
On Saturday morning I had the pleasure of meeting Victor and Arancha from Spain. It turned out that after a few cancellations, it was just the two of them for the walk from Trafalgar Square to St Paul's cathedral. It was Victor's first ever visit to London so in a way was quite nice they got to have their own private tour. Here they are outside Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, having just passed by Dr Johnson's House.
In the afternoon, Viv, Sue and Karen came along for the St Paul's to Monument walk. I've mentioned a guy called Ben Wilson before, who paints on to discarded pieces of chewing gum and we found him on the Millennium Bridge, where he is currently painting a series of tiny previously masticated pictures. Funnily enough, I had spoken to him the previous day and he said that he has about 60 miniature works of art on the bridge at the moment. Here he is at work, and also a view of St Paul's cathedral with people walking across the bridge, painted on to a bit of squished chewing gum.
Having crossed the river, we then made our way along Bankside to Borough Market, where I took the below photo of Saturday afternoon's walkers.
For Sunday's east London walk there was a rather larger contingent, bolstered by a group of friends from Coventry, Flora and Andras from Hungary, Samantha from New York, and Erin and Susan from Australia. It was in fact, Erin's third walk with me, so she is a veritable Bowl Of Chalk veteran. Here they all are in Shoreditch, standing in front of street artist Eine's 'Scary' bridge on Rivington Street.
Most Spanish - Victor & Arancha
Best moustache - No winners
Smallest - Samantha
Most Londony - Viv & Sue
Most flowery name - Flora
We were a day late for Sir Paul McCartney's impromptu-ish gig in Covent Garden, but there were still the usual street performers, musicians and general hub-bub as we passed through on our way from Trafalgar Square to St Paul's cathedral. There were 8 in the group, including Jane and Peter who'd previously joined my Sunday walk, and also Jean and Andy who were using one of the Bowl Of Chalk Christmas vouchers from last year. Here they all are standing on the Strand outside the Royal Courts of Justice, with Temple Bar just behind them.
Temple Bar of course, used to be one of the City gates and can now be found next to St Paul's cathedral.
In the afternoon there were a few more people who were back for their second walk with me. Cordula and CJ brought with them Klaus and Ute over from Germany, and Archie, who had also done the Sunday walk previously brought along Phoebe from the States. They were all joined by Dean and Maria, and here they are standing on the Millennium Bridge in the Shadows of the Tate Modern, with the dome of St Paul's cathedral in the distance behind them.
Now ... as we were nearing the end of the walk, we passed over London Bridge and I mentioned the fact that the second London Bridge (we're on the third) was bought by an American called Robert P. McCullough, who had it shipped back home and rebuilt over Lake Havasu in Arizona. This fact usually ignites the question as to whether Mr McCullough thought he was buying Tower Bridge and in fact bought the wrong bridge, something that Londoner's would like to think is true. Saturday was no exception and a short while later, we finished the walk and after everyone except Phoebe and Archie had left, Phoebe said she had something to tell me, which was, that Robert P. McCullough was her Great Uncle.
On Sunday, there were just three people to join me on the wander around east London; Nancy from L.A and Niki and Gabriella, originally from Arkansas. Here they are standing in front of one of the few remaining and still visible Banksy's in east London, which is nestling inside the beer garden of Cargo. The artist himself has been in the news a great deal recently, due to his self imposed 'residency' on the streets of New York.
Best hat - Klaus
A BIG joint award for coming on their 2nd walk - Jane, Peter, Cordula, CJ & Archie
Most likely to have a Great Uncle who bought London Bridge - Phoebe
Best moustache - No Winners
Most camouflaged bag - Nancy
Most likely to take photographs - Dan
Weekend Roundup - 21st/22nd April '12
I'm being particularly quick out of the blocks this weekend, rounding up the two London walks that took place, and the weekend hasn't even finished yet. There's not even a marathon runner in sight.
St Paul's to Monument
For Saturday afternoon's walk I was joined by a group of five people near to St Paul's cathedral. As it had rained on and off (more on than off) for the whole week, I had braced myself for a similar fate this weekend, but by a stroke of luck, we were blessed with sunshine and only a smattering of clouds on both walks.
Incase you are unaware, the Saturday afternoon walk takes in the area around St Paul's, a quick stroll over the Millennium Bridge to Bankside, then a stop off at Borough Market, followed by a mooch around Southwark before heading back over London Bridge to finish at the Monument. Here are Genia, Janki, Tamsin and Duncan standing beside the Thames, between the Tate Modern (currently showing the Damien Hirst retrospective) and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, with Christopher Wren's masterpiece, St Paul's cathedral in the background.
But you said there were five in the group? I hear you say. Indeed I did. There was also Rowan, but he decided he'd rather not be in the photo, which is fair enough. I don't much like being in photos myself.
I should also mention that over the next six weeks, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre have organised an incredibly ambitious and exciting event, whereby all thirty seven of Shakespeare's known plays are being staged in thirty seven different languages by theatre companies from all over the globe ... literally. Not surprisingly they have called this international Shakespeare extravaganza Globe To Globe. Two of the organisers have even come on a Bowl Of Chalk walk with me in recent months, and although they haven't asked me to mention it (they seem to be marketing it quite well themselves) I'd heartily recommend checking it out.
My neck of the woods - Sunday east end wander
Sunday morning was another sunny window in an otherwise predominantly grey week, and I was joined by a suitably robust group of nine people ready to explore the east end, including Della and Elise who had come on the Saturday afternoon walk the previous week. The following photo might not excite too many people, but a few weeks ago, I discovered that in 'my neck of the woods' there lies what is apparently the only stretch of a wood paved street in London. It looks like this.
I know it's not the most exciting photo I've ever taken, but wooden paving was the work of those industrious Victorians, as it dampened the sound of metal rimmed wheels that normally clattered over cobble stones. It's easy to forget just how noisy they would have been.
Anyway, enough about wooden streets. Here are Sunday's group in Hoxton Square. They were a pretty international bunch, hailing from America, Australia, Serbia and two people who were so well travelled they couldn't quite remember where they were from, although Tamara said that if pushed, she'd say Denmark. There were a couple of English people as well, just for good measure.
I hope I have everyone's name correct, but from left to right, they are Elise, Anja, Della, Gary, Tamara, Regina, Melinda, Amy and Ed. A few of the group took the opportunity to buy some flowers from Columbia Road Flower Market, which let's face it, is quite a good place to buy flowers, and then we wandered past the top end of Brick Lane, eventually ending up in the heart of Spitalfields.
Thanks to everyone who joined me this weekend for the walks. I really enjoyed it.
Oldest friend from home - Duncan (came down from Cambridge - thanks Dunc)
Repeat Offenders - Della and Elise
Longest hysterical laughing fit - Tamsin
Best moustache - No winners
Most prolonged hat wearers - Ed and Gary (joint winners)
Most digital savvy walk digitiser using digital technology - Tamara
Most Serbian - Anja
Most strikingly similar coats in both style and colour - Genia and Janki
Bowl Of Chalk
Bowl Of Chalk based shenanigans.