A feast for the eyes of those who love maps as much as I do. Matthew Cusick’s incredible artwork.
One of our new weekly features on the Boat Magazine site is called ‘Up My Street’ where we take a look at local neighborhoods around the world. Last week we caught up with the owners of Le Marché St. George who walked us around their local area of Riley Park, Vancouver. This week we head down under to the South West Corner of Adelaide.
Meet the Locals, Josh Fanning and Farrin Foster, Magazine Gallery
Recently, we’ve felt a real tug to visit Australia again. We’ve resisted so far, but it seems that everyday we come across something else incredible going on. Some of the music coming out of Australia is mind-blowing, the design scene similarly, and then there’s the magazines. We have a real soft-spot for properly passionate, indie, Aussie mags – Frankie, Monster Children, Collect, if you don’t know them, they’re well worth getting to know. Oz just seems to get magazines. Before we even had distribution for Boat Magazine in the UK, we had it in Australia. Co-founder of Collect Magazine, Josh Fanning and his girlfriend Farrin Foster run Magazine Gallery in Adelaide. In the daytime the space is a design studio and office, but at night it turns into a gallery, with cheap beer, and art that’s actually affordable, so that ‘art-lovers not just art-dealers’ can buy them. They also sell a nicely-curated shop of the World’s Best Magazines (including our very own title). Just as last week we wanted to move to Vancouver, this week we’re developing a crush on Adelaide. We asked Josh and Farrin to walk us around their streets.
What is the name of your street?
Where do you spend most of your time?
Attached to this computer inside our business on Clubhouse Lane.
What is your favourite local business?
This is incredibly difficult. Through editing and distributing our magazine almost exclusively through owner-operated businesses in Australia we know so many. It depends how hungry or naked we are feeling, y’know? Or whether we want a good book to read. No – I think the business where we spend most of our time outside of our own is a little day-time-only restaurant (yes, they’re that good they don’t have to open at night) called Nano.
Where can you get the best local bargain?
We have op-shops in Australia which are really good for bargains. In particular a place called Savers is a newish sort of store that has more of a curated selection of odds and ends but we don’t mind paying for something that will last. It’s all about the economy of course.
Who is the most inspiring person in your neighbourhood?
Probably Josh Baker from the coffee shop near us. He’s built an absolute cracking business in just over a year and he’s always got a smile and brief conversation that is more energising even than his cups of delicious, delicious coffee.
Where is your favourite place to go on a sunny day?
We love to ride our bikes along the River Torrens to the ocean and have a beer at the surf life saving club at West Beach or Henley.
Where is your favourite place to go on a rainy day?
The Mercury Cinema.
What is your favourite secret place/thing?
It wouldn’t be a secret if we told you, now would it?
Where is your favourite place to eat?
We’ve got a few at the moment: the Korean Butcher on Pitt Street, Amalfi pizzeria on Frome, Nano of course, East Taste on Gouger and the various pop-up eateries and food trucks young people are doing in our city – check out: The Happy Motel and Burger Theory.
We’ve just added a new weekly feature to Boat Magazine‘s online repertoire – Up My Street. Each week we get a tour of someone’s local neighborhood. They take us to their favorite shops, restaurants, and local hidden gems, they talk about locals who inspire them and little anecdotes about living there. I’m excited about this because Boat usually works on big, overarching ideas and topics – tackling an entire cities at a time – and so I’ve been hungry for some local, focused content.
Speaking of being hungry… first up is Janaki Larsen from Riley Park, Vancouver. She started the incredibly beautiful café/shop Le Marché St. George with her partner, Pascal Roy, and sister, Klee. You can read our Up My Street feature on them here, but for now, I wanted to share some of the gorgeousness that is their shop, cafe, and even home – Le Marché St. George at the corner of St-George Street and East 28 Avenue, Vancouver. If you live near there, please go have a coffee and pastry for me. They look incredible!
The gorgeous photography is by Luis Valdizon.
One of the privileges of making Boat Magazine is working with an incredible range of talent and there are few finer examples of this than photographers Max and Liz Haarala Hamilton. The pair collaborated with us for both our Detroit and London issues and while contemplating the subject of China for this week’s Beyond the Headlines we were reminded of their trip to the quirky yet haunting ‘Thames Town’ located just outside Shanghai. We caught up with them to discuss their experience of this ‘anglicised oasis’ and the photographs with which they documented it.
It was pretty strange it all looked familiar and but not real at the same time.
To get to Thames Town we had travelled for an hour to the end of the Metro line in Shanghai and then walked blindly for 40 minutes to find the actual area. You leave from the centre of one of the largest and modern metropolises in the world, go underground and then when you come back up overland you find the sprawling city left behind and you are now in some kind of strange suburban no man’s land, with hardly a person in sight.
We had no map of how to actually get to Thames Town and there were no taxis or public transport to speak of, so we had to guess where to get off the metro from sight and then head in a direction we thought would lead us to Thames Town.
We knew we were on the right track as we kept passing different themed gated communities including Italian, Dutch and German ‘towns’. It is a very strange experience to walk around these areas that are modelled on European places and what the Chinese think an English or Italian town is like. One overwhelming feeling was of how empty the area was of people, there were very few cars or traffic. In the 40 minutes it took to walk to Thames Town we didn’t pass a single shop, all that was there were roads and houses.
How do the fine details of the place hold up in terms of creating a ‘genuine’ experience of an English town?
You could see that someone had some kind of idea of what one might find in an English town, for example they had a fish and chip shop, a church and there were red telephone boxes scattered around. There were also references to well-known street names such as Gower Street – but without people it just doesn’t feel real and you find yourself walking around a life size model village, but one that lacks the charm that a miniature might have.
In fact the people who designed Thames Town had visited Poundbury in Dorset, an experimental new town built according to the principles of Prince Charles, with classic architecture. This idea was transported to China and the result is an English-looking town built with Chinese eyes and understanding of what ‘Englishness’ is. In actual fact if you look at pictures of Poundbury and Thames Town the two do actually look pretty similar. The problem is that because it is based on a fabricated English town what you get is a Chinese fabricated English looking town based on an idea of what an English town should look like.
Your photos show the town mostly deserted and as you say there were very few people around; did this make it a more or less compelling place to document?
We knew that no one had really moved there and in actual fact we had heard rumours that only one family was actually living in Thames Town, and this was part of the reason we were interested in photographing there. If you think about a country with almost two billion people, it is amazing that these kinds of places exist where there are almost no people. The only people we saw were the guards, a bar man working in the “traditional pub” and possibly a couple of residents. The rest of the people were couples having their wedding photos taken.
When we took the photos the place was eerily void of people – it would be interesting to go back now and see if anybody is living there, or if it has deteriorated from when we first visited.
So with the town being a pretty popular backdrop for wedding photographs, it would seem that it exists in local minds as more of a novelty than a place to seriously consider living in. What feeling towards the place did you get from the people that you met during your time there?
It definitely felt more of a novelty place to us and maybe to most Chinese too. It is very expensive to live there if you are on a regular income in China, which is part of the reason it was so empty. However if more people had enough money then maybe they would move there and it would develop a real community. It would be interesting to see how this ‘Poundbury of China’ works – We’re not sure it would be many people’s ‘ideal’ place to live, just think how many people here would move to a model Chinese Town?
What do you think the creation (and the subsequent legacy) of Thames Town says about the role western culture plays in the lives of Shanghai residents?
In truth most Shanghai residents probably don’t know or even care Thames Town even exists. To others it may be the dream to live in a house that is in an English town in China, but as we mentioned this is unattainable for most Chinese.
All over China construction on the outskirts of cities is unrelenting; these theme towns are part of that false construction boom. You can travel for miles in some cities past apartment blocks that are completely empty, there is so much property that has been built recently that just sits there.
In terms of Western culture’s role in the lives of Shanghai residents – if you live in the City of Shanghai you are surrounded by Western advertisements, products and brands, but like most people, the people of Shanghai tend to take small elements of different cultures and make them a part of their lives. In many cases it is traditional to have western wedding photos taken as well as then having a traditional Chinese wedding – we would say that to actually move to a ‘model town’ like Thames Town is probably a step too far for most.
There is a clear interest in Western life style in China, the country itself has become more open and influences from the West are seeping into every part of Chinese culture. With that of course brings an interest in Western architecture and someone obviously thought that idea of living the life of an English Town was an attractive one to some Chinese. Rather than there being a fixation with Englishness, as we mentioned, there were all sorts of imported towns which supposedly include a small Paris themed town with a scaled down Eiffel Tower, we tried to find that too but no one knew where it was. We did wonder if the idea of building these towns are in some way a souvenir of someone or a way for people to ‘visit’ Europe without actually leaving your own Province.
Liz and Max Haarala Hamilton are a photographic duo based in London who collaborate on editorial, portrait and food photography and fine art projects. Their work has been featured in numerous publications both in the UK and abroad such as the Observer Magazine, Observer Food Monthly, Huck Magazine and have worked for a range of clients including Conran Octopus, BBC and Mondadori Electa. haaralahamilton.com
Original post By Alec Dudson
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It’s no secret that New York City is the best city on the planet (those who don’t agree with me will admit it one day!) and that Paris, casts a similar spell over people. And so it makes perfect sense to pit these two inspiring, alluring, frustrating yet beautiful cities against each other. That’s exactly what graphic designer, Vahram Muratyan has done on his blog and in his book Paris Versus New York: a Tally of Two Cities.
“[Paris and New York City] feed into each other and they are both great models for the urban experience.”
Here are some examples from his blog.