Southbank will always be my favourite place in London

In the seven years that I’ve lived in London, the Southbank has always been, and I suspect always will be, my favourite place in this city. Today was no exception and on a springtime stroll from Westminster to Southwark, I found myself taking in the sights, spectacles and even an exhibition along the way.

Making an entrance
Stepping out of the tube to the dulcet tones of the busker which greeted me like a soundtrack playing in a movie scene, I walked out towards the sunshine at Westminster Pier. Stopping briefly to photograph the view from bridge with all the other smiling tourists, gazing out at the skyline with its warm white haze, I knew today was going to be a good day.

The Queen’s Walk
I’ve taken this route countless times before, so getting the perfect shot of The Houses of Parliament, the London Eye or any other building for that matter are not my top of my to do list here. What I seek are those magical moments that capture the people, the season, the novelties and the feelings that you get as you experience everything that’s going on around you along the way.

     

Ghanaian Acrobats
Passing the street artists lining either side of the walkway, poised waiting to catch your eye as you walk by, I spot some new faces in the crowd but it’s the sounds of a familiar Spanish song that draw me in towards a crowd forming around a group four guys from Ghana. I stop to take in the show as they take turns to flip, bend and balance each other on their heads with Big Ben and the Thames as their backdrop.

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Bubbles by the Book Market
I continue along and as I approach the Book Market I see a pair standing with buckets and sticks, creating bubbles in all shapes and sizes. I love bubbles, so that made me smile. There is just something quite metaphorical about them for me. One moment there are they and we all stand in awe and then, just as quickly as soon as they appear, they’re gone, only for another to appear and amaze us yet again…
The Big Egg Hunt
…Eggs! Big Eggs! Eggs are decorating the pavements and the skies around Festival Palace Hall. (See, you’ve forgotten about bubbles already haven’t’ you?). I’d collected more than forty eggs just a few weekends ago around Covent Garden, Carnaby Street and St. Christopher’s Place and here were some lovely new ones waiting for me. My favourites in the new collection have to be the Eggsquiste Egg, a painted egg featuring the iconic symbols of London and the Unknown Egg, a sad looking egg, sitting just in front of the skate park. *Quick stop at Wagamama’s to fill up on Yaki Soba and some Raw Juice and I’m off again*

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An UnScripted moment
As the sun beams down and I’m taking in the moment another crowd of nosey tourists seems to be gathering to peek through a fence outside the ITV studios. I try to act cool and pretend I don’t care and then I think, what the hell, I’ll go and see what all the fuss is about and I’m glad I did. Why? Well, because that’s when I met Vicky. Just like me, she’d followed the crowd only to spot a celeb she had never seen before*.

As we got chatting, it turned out she was just down for the day exploring all that was free to enjoy in London, as she had just return from travelling South America. We swapped stories about Brazil and I pointed out the landmarks as we wandered towards the Tate. I couldn’t help but think** how unusual it was to meet someone who actually wants to talk to you in the City just because they can. No agenda. No trying to steal your purse. Just pleasant conversation had to pass the time. We should all aspire to do that more often. * It was in fact Danny O’Donohue, lead singer from The Script. **Sex in the city style pensive moment there.

My mate, the Tate
Behold the Tate in all its brickwork wonder and the swarms of picnickers on its lawns. I say goodbye to Vicky and wish her well on her little sight-seeing adventure down to London Bridge and go to meet @TheHelloCube in person and explore the dotty world of Japanese artist and sculptor, Yayoi Kusama*** .

For me @TheHelloCube works best when you’re not actually in the Tate. Perhaps it’s the imagination factor that we apply to all things Twitter that allows us to see more than we do that makes it better this way. You tweet your instructions to @TheHelloCube ‘Small, Swirl, Pink’ and voila an image is tweeted back to you in a magical flash. By contrast, here at the Tate you are presented with a small mirrored podium through which lights and hands, yours if you wish, are played with to create images projected on to the wall. Less entertaining for me but great it seems, if you are a kid.

Yayoi Kusama on the other hand is a girl after my own heart with her collages and bubble-esque dotty creations. Far and away the best instalment of her exhibition is the breathtaking infinity room. Awash with darkness and tiny bubble shaped bulbs suspended from the ceiling and reflecting into a sea of mirrors, I could have stood there for a lifetime exploring its wonder. But alas, I had to move on.

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*** http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/12863/1/hellicar-lewis-the-hello-cube

One New Change & St. Paul’s
My final stop on my South Bank stroll was across the river and back towards St. Paul’s Cathedral, that fabulous landmark that I always associate with Mary Poppins and Michael, feeding the birds for ‘tuppence a bag’. Never quite knew what he had in that bag though, mind. Did you? My new discovery for the day was One New Change the latest shopping mall to hit the centre of town. A collection of high street designers in an architecturally modern structure, it stands just across from the cathedral creating a wonderful reflection I’ve seen many times before in the land of social networks but never really noted where it was. Then just before I head back to the tube, I find it. The photograph I’ve been trying to capture all day that shows the spring in the city for my #SpringBubble.

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Behold, ‘Daffodils beneath St. Paul’s on a hazy spring afternoon’. That my friends, was my first day of spring in London Town captured in my very first blog post. I hope you enjoyed it.

#SpringBubble
If you have photographs of spring in the City that you’d like to share, please post them on facebook.com/stephsbubble or tag them with #SpringBubble on Twitter and Instragram. I’ll be collecting them to make a collage which I’ll share with you all in a few weeks.

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