near covent garden

The M.I.A. book foreword



I met Maya in 1998 at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. She joined the film degree program late, with no interview. She just blagged her way in on the phone and turned up halfway through the term.


We all dressed in dark colors and talked serious art theory. Maya wore skintight pink jeans and stilettos, she had pink lipstick and fingernails, and she couldn’t spell. Her accent was South London, but her grammar was always kind of off and she wasn’t very articulate, didn’t talk much in class (and 90 percent of the degree was talking because we didn’t have much equipment)

She wasn’t a stand-out student.

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anonymous asked:

Hi! I don't have any London recommendations for you but I was wondering if you could help me out. I'm studying abroad there this fall, do you have any tips or pieces of advice? Thank you!

DO I EVER here you go buddy. Be safe, be smart, and have fun!!!

(and no I did not just pound all of this out; I was asked to do a talk/workshop on studying abroad after I got back, so I’m literally just copy/pasting the handout I put together for that and adding a few edits)

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27/06/2015 // I’ve had such a lovely two days! Yesterday I visited the University of York (and admittedly spent far more time in the town than the uni) which I’ve absolutely fallen in love with (I may like it more than Oxford but I’m going there Thursday so we’ll have to see…). Today I went to the King’s College London open day, which I liked but as someone who already lives in London I’d like to go somewhere new. We were near Covent Garden so I used that as an excuse to raid Muji…

Dianna on the Daily telegraph :

It’s Sunday afternoon in a deserted office near Covent Garden, central London. And after a six-day week in a theatre rehearsal studio, Dianna Agron is working again.
Agron is already a darling of the vast teen fanbase of Glee, the US series about a Midwestern highschool singing troupe in which she played bitchy cheerleader Quinn Fabray (shown on Fox in America and E4 and Sky here). Now, the 29-year-old from San Francisco is about to be introduced to UK theatre audiences as the star of a new play about the late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, and so mustard keen is she to publicise it, she is spending her day off on a photoshoot and interview with The Daily Telegraph.
The play, at the St James Theatre in Victoria, London, is a near sell-out – taking the highest advance in the venue’s history, thanks no doubt in part to Agron’s
Glee pulling power. She plays a “stalkerish” fan of McQueen (Stephen Wright) in a fictionalised account by playwright James Phillips and directed by John Caird.
Dahlia (Agron) is a fan who hides up a tree outside the designer’s Mayfair home for 11 nights, before breaking in to steal a dress. The designer catches her, and a curious relationship ensues.
“It’s a fairy story, although the play is deeply rooted in things he said and parts of his life,” explains Agron, coolly glamorous in a Gothic/Victorian Simone Rocha top and layered Comme des Garçons skirt. “You go on quite an emotional ride with Dahlia. There are tears there.”
McQueen, who is also being celebrated in a vast V&A exhibition at the moment, hanged himself, aged 40, five years ago. Agron has researched him meticulously and talks of his “struggle” to establish a footing within the fashion industry.
This, she says, “is so relatable”. A dancer throughout her childhood, Agron has been acting for 10 years, “and you have to embrace the highs and the lows. When [McQueen] went to Givenchy, the critique of his first show was that the tailoring was s—. Then, doing 10 collections a year, the amount of pressure he was under, and the lack of sleep… you see how it’s not easy.”
Having talked to his friends, does she have any insight as to why he committed suicide? “A few have said that they wouldn’t have guessed that that’s what he would have done. But it’s so hard to say that. I lost a friend a few years ago, to an overdose… But you just don’t know. You can see somebody through the course of the day. But it’s what they’re dealing with at night, in those private moments when nobody’s seeing them….
“For Lee” – the name used by those close to McQueen – “losing his mother was probably the nail in the coffin,” Agron continues, in a possibly unfortunate turn of phrase.
“Her funeral was [scheduled for] the day after he killed himself. And losing a parent… My dad has been battling multiple sclerosis for a while, and it’s hard to see the deterioration of your parents.”
The friend she lost to drugs was Corey Monteith, her Glee co-star. He died in a Vancouver hotel room two years ago, aged 31. Was there any sense of his troubles on the show’s set?
“No. I knew past moments that were hard for him,” she says, “but he always put on such a good face. And the last thing he would have wanted to do was worry anybody.”
She remembers him “being the funny one and being the big brother”. Of his loss, she says: “It was very hard.”
At least she had already been able to “move away” from Glee, appearing in only a handful of episodes in the final two seasons.
Agron shot four indie films last year. In one, Bare, she plays a stripper, for which she shot her first nude scenes. She had hitherto resisted doing so, for fear of being exploited in an industry that she says is still “hugely” sexist.
“Women are not paid anywhere near the same [as men] at all, and it’s only getting worse. And just to be heard – so many times you see it with a female director, there’s sometimes resistance from the male crew.”
If an actor, whether male or female, dares speak up about their pay, they’re shot down, she says. “You’ll be told, ‘Well, we don’t have the budget… And you’re lucky you’re getting the exposure. You’re lucky to be working with these people…’ And that ball keeps rolling. Ten years down the line, you’re like, ‘Am I still lucky to be working with these people?’ ” Agron snorts.
“It’s not just for actors, it’s for hair and make-up and stylists and everything. Nobody wants to pay anybody any more. You’ll see studio heads lash out and say, ‘No, it’s not that way.’ But it is.”
Refreshingly outspoken though she is, Agron is guarded about her personal life. When I last interviewed her, she was in a relationship with Stevenage-born Alex Pettyfer ( Stormbreaker), but she refused to comment beyond praising his professional skills.
Now, reports suggest she has been seeing Nicholas Hoult (co-star of the new Mad Max blockbuster) in the six months since she relocated to London. But she won’t even say which compass point in the capital she calls home. So, Hoult…
“I don’t talk about those things,” she dimples. So she’s not been in a pub having Sunday lunch with him…? Another smile. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Anyway, right now, there’s seemingly no time for socialising. Agron is focusing on the lastminute preparations for McQueen. She describes it as “everything [I] love in a play”: intense characterisation, turbulent emotions, fashion, and even a bit of singing – she performs Billy Joel’s She’s Always a Woman in the show. That’s the only thing it has in common with her role in Glee, however. This is the start of a new chapter in her career, one she’s clearly thrilled about.
“I’ve always been ambitious and self-made and willing to go the extra mile,” Agron says firmly. And with that she’s off on another PR offensive.
“Gotta get bums on seats,” she says.

Attraction Over Coffee || Karim & Allison

“… Where’s your favorite coffee shop?” Karim asked lazily with his eyes closed as the two continued to lay in bed the morning of December 23rd.

Allison furrowed her brow and opened her eyes to look at her boyfriend quizzically, “… Wildwood, near Covent Garden …”

“How about we get ready and go there, then?”

Allison didn’t have her cup of coffee before she got ready for the day, but the fact that she was bringing her boyfriend to Wildwood made things run a bit smoother than she’d thought. Of course, the questions of if he actually asked her about going to a coffee shop, and even why he’d asked her about going to a coffee shop rather than having breakfast at Dean’s ran through her mind for a little while. Then again, the coffee shop did have quite a number of different purchases other than coffee for him, including crepes and a few other breakfast items if he wanted something to eat. She knew he went to various coffee shops in Paris with his classmates and Jaden, but she didn’t know what he ordered, if anything at all. Allison most certainly was not complaining about going, though. In fact, she was very excited about showing him the coffee shop and about going there with him in general.

“Brayden, Dad and I used to stop here; especially before we went school shopping in Diagon Alley. It’s one of Brayden’s favorite places to hang out with his friends, and he ended up being the one to tell Dad and I about it before a school supply trip.” Allison mentioned as they neared the place. The coffee shop certainly had a cozy feel to it unlike most other coffee shops Allison had been too, but most of the time the Finnigan visits were in-and-out while on the go and rarely did she ever actually sit down. Allison knew the building quite well even so, however. For instance, there was one square of a few dark boards of flooring that creaked whenever anyone walked on them, and she knew exactly which they were. The fact that they make the croaking sound from its warping over the years tipped Allison off that the flooring hadn’t been changed in a number of years, and was instead trying to be preserved for however long it could be. And in the downstairs area of its seating was even worse with its noises where most of the boards let out their cries, but they were actually rather softer in volume.

They had a chalkboard menu hanging above the wall of the bar that was obviously hand-written in different colored chalk by someone instead of it being a type of uniform decal that the companies sent bigger corporation coffee shops, making it look like the words were carefully written by an actual person. One could order a coffee or a tea or a hot chocolate - hot, iced, or frozen - to-go in their paper cups, or they could even stay a while and be given their preferred drinks in actual ceramic mugs atop of actual ceramic saucers. One could order a pastry and cozy up in the warm shop with it being settled on an actual small ceramic plate. If one stayed and listened to their surroundings, the mugs around the room would chime in the background of muffled discussion to inspire a rhythm in said person’s mind.

The furniture was mismatched throughout the coffee shop. There was a worn dark blue armchair in the front corner, angled well where the sitter could have both an intimate conversation with their partner on the other side of the round wooden table, and still watch passersby from the large window to the outside world. And on that same wall - the lefthand side when walking in - there was a worn maroon-colored couch, paired with a rectangular coffee table with noticeable chips when walking closer and closer. In the basement, there were a number of other armchairs, a couch, and a love-seat included within the wooden chairs and tables.

But the most important aspect of all was the coffee. The girl was very picky about her coffee - the taste of the bean and the taste of the finished drink itself. When out and about, she chose local coffee shops over big corporations like Starbucks; and when she was at her apartment, Allison had only a select few different coffee pods she bought for her tassimo that Karim bought her as a gift, and a select few coffee pods she picked out of Dean’s stash when she visited, and a select few types of ground coffee that she enjoyed if she was visiting her parents. Allison liked knowing that there was a trick to her coffee with the cream and sugar, and the only others that knew exactly how to make it other than Karim and herself were her father and brother. She never trusted shops that didn’t let a customer put their own cream in; and she never trusted shops that had overpriced nor underpriced coffee all the same. Allison was very particular with her coffee. She’d been to many places around London and tried many varieties only to pick two places where she’d go. Wildwood was ahead by a long-shot.