I have lived in London my whole life, except for going to university in Bath for three years. I’ve never felt a real connection to London and I have wanted to move somewhere else ever since I was a kid. Whenever I went on holiday to the countryside or abroad I always told my parents I wanted to move to wherever we were, each place had a much nicer atmosphere than London. I’ve been to America four times now, from the Americans I have met and observed they are much happier and friendlier than us Brits, they seem to have a much more relaxed and easy going lifestyle. Us Brits are stereotypically known as miserable and pessimistic and unfortunately we do live up to that stereotype. I think living in gloomy London is to blame for it. I have made it my one main goal to move to the States one day, whether it is in the next 10 years or the next 30 years, I will get there. After reading some shocking news online I now have reasons why I NEED to leave London for good and I am pretty sure I won’t look back.
I spent most of my childhood playing video-games at Sega World in the Trocadero which is in the heart of Piccadilly Circus; I spent some of my weekends using my pocket money from my parents and grandparents there. As a kid who didn’t have many friends going to Sega World gave me a reason to get out the house and to let off some steam. I remember the bright blue lights, the noises from the machines, the dark tunnel escalator which took you into the arcade and most importantly, the famous Sonic the Hedgehog statue outside the Trocadero. Being at Sega World felt like being in a sci fi movie and when I ran out of money I hated having to go home. Sega World was eventually closed down in 1999 with much disappointment from kids and adult gamers. Fun Land, another arcade at the Trocadero was built, this time with bowling and a sports bar but like Sega World it was closed in 2011. There has been an arcade at the Trocadero since Fun Land closed but with less games and activities due to some of the area being closed off for building works. It was recently announced that the Trocadero was being closed permanently as a new hotel is being built. However, another announcement was made shortly after stating that only half of the Trocodero is being torn down. I want to know which statement is true and if the latter is true, it will only be a matter of time until the arcade is gone and everything which is already there will be torn down. How many more hotels in London do we need? And there aren’t enough places for kids to go and have fun on weekends as it is. Youth centres are closing down due to the spending cuts and kids can’t go to parks during the autumn and winter months, it seems as if this government would rather have kids depressed with nothing to do which can lead to antisocial behaviour like turning to violence, alcohol and drugs.
Arcades are an important part not only of our childhood but also our adulthood, arcades give us an opportunity to unwind and allow us to be a kid again temporarily. Japan, the heart and brains of video-games and technology has thousands of arcades for kids and adults; Japan seems to understand how video-games can be beneficial as it is one of the richest countries in the world with the most intelligent and successful people. Two reasons why video-games are beneficial are because they can slow down the aging process, playing brain-teasing game for just two hours a week may help slow the degree of mental decay and video-games may help dyslexic kids read better, this is due to the kids’ attention spans increasing.
Not only all or half of the Trocadero it being closed down but so is my favourite West End pub, The Intrepid Fox. I first visited the grimy heavy metal pub the weekend of my 18th birthday and I absolutely loved it, I loved the gothic decorations, the loud music and the retro Addams Family pin ball machine. Although many people dislike the Intrepid Fox due to reasons like the grumpy staff who need a kick up their back side. The staff should spend some time learning manners instead of focusing their time on dressing like Marilyn Manson rejects, the place being filled with more tourists than metal fans, not being able to move on a Friday or Saturday night, the music being so loud you can’t have a conversation with your friends and you’re afraid you may turn deaf and the unclean toilets which smell like 50 drunken metal heads have urinated on the floors and walls, but unlike some people those reasons don’t bother me all that much as I have gotten used to it. The Intrepid Fox used to be in Wardour Street but is now in St Giles High Street, the back of Tottenham Court Road. From what I have read when The Intrepid Fox was situated in Wardour Street it used to have more customers and was enjoyed by more people due it having nicer staff and a less ‘poser metaller’ atmosphere. The reason why the Intrepid Fox is being closed down is because of the construction of the railway line Crossrail. Not only has the construction forced the Intrepid Fox to close but also the famous Astoria venue which was demolished in 2009. Many famous bands have played at the Astoria and it helped launched some of their careers, the venue is still missed by fans to this today. The Intrepid Fox have announced they hope to move the pub to another venue in London and I hope that this becomes a reality, I don’t want to say goodbye to one of the places where I have some of the fondest memories.
I can say for certain that it is time to leave London, I don’t know when this will happen but I just know this isn’t an amazing place to live like some people say. I would not recommend this city to anyone who are considering moving or visiting here.
By Alexandra Farnese
Bath Spa Creative Writing and Media Communications graduate
There is a part of Europe that I would say has a particular specialness about it, one you should consider visiting! That place would be S?dtirol (South Tirol) in the northern part of Italy. Most people usually emphasize the rest of Italy and its wonderful historical sites in Rome, Venice, etc. – but there are some gems in the north that cannot go unnoticed.
In S?dtirol, there are many small, quaint villages that provide perfect holiday getaways for people with a range of vacation tastes. Many of them are settled on mountain-sides, which gives way to opportunities for outdoor sports such as skiing and snowboarding in the winter time. During all other seasons there are plenty of hiking trails to choose from and farm-grown delectables to try.
History seems to permeate S?dtirolian villages and inspires wonder and excitement; the cracks and orange shingled roofs of the buildings charms and allures visitors. The hub of each village, its “city center,” is easily recognized upon walking along the winding cobblestone streets, through alleys with whimsical arches and into inviting courtyards.
It’s simply so peaceful there. While taking advantage of long walks up any one of the mountains, I would bump into amiable Italian, Austrian and S?dtirolian tourists and residents, and exchange greetings in each other’s languages with smiles. On the way down the mountain, I would gaze at the spectacular view of the valley and mountain range, and smell the cows, grass and pizza wafting in the warm or crisp air (depending on the season). All in all, it is a truly refreshing experience, one I myself like to repeat again soon.
If you love Lord Krishna then you must visit his birth place Mathura situated about 140 km from Delhi and Vrindavan which is about 15 km from Mathura and has about 5,000 temples.Mathura is also known as Brajabhumi and has towns like Gokul, Mahavan, Baldeo, Mat, Bajna, Vrindavan, Govardhan, Kusum Sarovar,Barsana and Nandgaon.You can travel by rail from Delhi to Mathura and then travel by taxi to all these places especially Vrindavan or you can travel by road via Faridabad or newly constructed Yamuna Expressway and would reach there in about two hours. You can also go by Air to Agra from Delhi and then travel by a Taxi to Mathura and Vrindavan.In every October/November ISKCON puts a Braja Mandala parikrama which is a one-month walking tour which goes to all 12 forests in Vrindavan and visits most of major places in the Braja area. It has often been said that it is easier to count the number of dust particles on the surface of the earth than to count the number of holy places in Mathura. The main temples to visit in Mathura are Dwarkadish Temple,Kesavadeva Temple Jami and Katra Mosques.
Vrindavan is known as the city of temples and attracts about 500 000 pilgrims every year as Lord Krishna spent his childhood over there. Elderly women who have been left by their families in old age beg there to feed themselves. The main temples in Vrindavan are Madan Mohan Temple, Govinda Dev Temple , Jugal Kisore Temple , Banke Bihari Temple, Radharamana Temple , Radha Damodara Temple , Sri Radha Gokulananda Temple , Radha Vallabha Temple , Radha-Syamasundara , Sri Gopesvara Mahadeva Temple, Krishna Balarama Temple,ISCKON Temple.To travel around Vrindavan you need a auto rickshaw and they don’t blow horns but just say” RADHEY RADHEY” which is the nick name of Lord Krishna.There is a parikrama path that goes around the town as it is customary for devotees to walk around the town of Vrindavan which is one street over from the ISKCON temple. It takes about two or three hours to go around the town.ISKCON Temple has a Guesthouse where most of the foreigners stay when they visit Vrindavan and there are other good Hotels as well. You must also visit the ISKCON temple as it is in the starting of Vrindavan . The main Temple in Vrindavan is The Bankey Bihari Temple where people throng through out the year in big numbers. Best times to visit Vrindavan is a week before the Indian festival Holi during March and during Lord Krishna’s Birthday in July/August. When you visit The Bankey Bihari temple in Holi there is a little bit of colour all around,in the air, on your clothes as it is a festival of colours and If you visit Vrindavan during Janmashtami then the whole of Vrindavan is illuminated with lights. After visiting The Bankey Bihari Temple you can also taste the delicacies of Vrindavan. There is a drink called Lassi which is made of Curd and there is Rabri which is made from Milk. I have been there often and have seen foreigners wearing simple clothes and eating simple food over there. Hare Krishna followers from around the world often visit Vrindavan to lift themselves up spiritually.
Now we discuss a place called New Vrindavan which serves as an international living community for Hare Krishna followers.It is an unincorporated community and ISKCON (Hare Krishna) international community located in Marshall County near Moundsville, West Virginia. The town consists of several building complexes, homes, apartment buildings, and businesses including the Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra Temple (RVC Temple) and the Palace of Gold. New Vrindaban was home to almost 400 permanent community members of all ages, though currently only 100 reside. The Palace of Gold is America’s answer to India’s Tajmahal. An estimated $600,000 worth of materials ranging from marble, onyx, teak, and 22-karat gold leaf were formed into the Palace as it has terraces,turrets,landscaped gardens ,lake and exquisite stained glass work. The visitors who come all the year round have interest in its mirrored ceilings, polished mosaic floors, and beautiful vistas. The structure is a memorial in the name of Hare Krishna’s spiritual leader,Srila Prabhupada as he wanted to make a replica of Indian Vrindavan in America. You can visit Vrindavan by being in America as the place gives you a feeling of a visit to India because of the statues of Elephants,Lions and sacred cows. It is an attraction for pilgrims. But, I want to say one thing that if you are a true follower of Lord Krishna then you must visit The Indian Vrindavan as the life there is simple and you will gain a lot spiritually. Being simple counts the most in life. You can make Vrindavan anywhere in the world but what about the religious beliefs of the people over there , the simplicity of life over there,the way Lord Krishna is worshipped over there and lastly the purity of the place. Lord Krishna is spread over every nook and corner of Vrindavan and Mathura.
About the author : The above article was written by Jitin Dhawan.