Sunday, 16 November 2008


Dear Adam Neate,

I hope you are well. You must be knackered after making 1000 pieces of art and leaving them all over London on Friday night. Just letting you know that I didn't find any, you must have forgotten to put one in my street, but I had lots of fun looking anyway. So thanks.

And just so you know, I made a proper effort and wasn't being slack or anything. I've compiled a little list of the places I looked, with some help from Charlie and our friend Neil who was round for dinner.

We synchronized watches at about 11pm, as soon as we'd finished our apple pie, which was really nice by the way. We then headed out to claim our prizes. We decided to stick to the East End, take a punt and commit so that we could be thorough. With Charlie on foot and Neil and I on bikes, just in case there was no art on the doorstep, we set out, zigzagging down streets and alleys, splitting up, regrouping, looking behind bins, falling in skips and that sort of thing. It was fun being on a mission, being special, feeling like the chosen ones, being part of art history and stuff.

To start off with I covered Back Church Lane, Boyd Street, Henriques Street (formerly Berner Street, the site of the murder of Jack the Ripper's third victim, Long Liz Stride). Next I did Ellen Street and Alie Street while the boys did Commercial Road. This was once considered a respectable area inhabited by tailors, shoemakers and dockworkers. I searched a strangely unlocked building site at Aldgate East before we regrouped at Whitechapel High Street and headed for the city, starting with Liverpool Street, via Petticoat Lane, down tiny back alleys. Neil did a couple of circuits of Liverpool Street with a Star Wars look on his face. I can't really describe exactly what this looks like but it's something like pure excitement in facial form and has a lot to do with being a chosen one. Next Charlie and I headed for Leadenhall Market, which we searched thoroughly while Neil cycled to Borough Market on the other side of the Thames (well worth a visit on Saturdays for food shopping). We regrouped outside The Bank of England (The BANK OF ENGLAND, topical, big. Common Adam Neate, this is a good spot!) Next we headed down Cheapside, taking in Saint Mary Le Bow Church, the bells of which you must be born within earshot of to be a true Cockney, on our way to the very impressive St Pauls Cathedral, one of London's most visited landmarks. Apparently Adolf Hitler once decreed a penalty of death for any German bomber accidentally flattening the place. Fortunately it remained in tact; unfortunately we didn't find your art there. Never mind, Amen Court soon cheered us up, a magical Dickensian U shaped close just off Warwick Lane. Apparently its late seventeenth century and once housed the canons of St Paul's cathedral. It looks the way London looks in films starring Hugh Grant, but without the inconvenience of Hugh Grant. Going up Newgate Street, where the Western gate of the City of London once stood, and gates are thought to have been erected since as early as AD 875, we passed the Law Courts where I once did jury service on a murder trial, and many a vagabond of yore has been imprisoned awaiting execution. Undaunted, we pressed on to Smithfield Market where we learned that 18th century men once sold their  unwanted wives alongside their usual produce. We had a quick peek in the churchyard of Saint Bartholomew the Great, which dates back to 1123 and overlooks some rare Tudor architecture at the back of fancy restaurant Club Garston. We thought this would have been a romantic place to put some art. We also noted that the queue outside Fabric was massive and wondered if those people had already found their art. We then made our way to Old Street, via Whitecross Street, where the master picture framer Anthony Guest does his work for The National Gallery and other important places. Taking the back streets we bypassed Old Street Station, where, if you get on the Northern line to Angel, and the light is right, you can sometimes see the disused City Road Tube station. We didn't do that though as were on a mission, which took us up Leonard Street, where the Dragon Bar was slain before it moved to Kingsland High Street, and where a Banksy once sat unsold on the wall for ages, allegedly. In Great Eastern Street we had a look outside A Child of the Jago, Joe Corre and Barnzley Armitage's inspired new menswear shop that I helped to decorate with Robert Pinoch, a modern day marvel of a man. There was no art here apart from the tailored creations, and the shop sign secretly created by Ben Eine, who's signature you can spot if you look ever so carefully. We had a look in Holywell Lane outside my studio at Village Underground, aka those studios on a roof in Shoreditch. Waning a bit, at nearly 2am,  we left Neil at Fournier Street where houses that date from the 1720's survived the Blitz and Gilbert and George can be seen daily swanning about being odd and friendly. We said our goodbyes and Neil cycled off undeterred down Brick Lane towards Bethnal Green and Weavers Fields where he lives.  We moseyed on home down Commercial Street feeling like we'd had quite a nice time and not minding too much that we didn't find the treasure.

Anyway, sorry to go on and on Adam Neate, but as you can see we did our best. We enjoyed the hunt. We were lovers, were were fighters, we were heros. Hopefully next time you'll take that into consideration. No pressure. Just have a nice time making some more pictures.

Love Ali, Charlie and Neil.