Heleana's Qype reviews
Rescue Commando Centre Cordova Road, London E3 5BE
Heleana wrote on 30 December 2008
Mile End Wall, you are like a long lost love. I cannot wait for you to come back into my life. Having been cursed with the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome for the past month or so, I’ve had to eschew all fantasies of hitting French bouldering grade 6A by December 2008; and instead turn my energies to sorting my dodgy fingers out. Now I’m fighting fit, I thought it would be a great time to say how much I adore this place and think that (if you like bouldering as much as I do) you’ll agree that Mile End Wall is the best place in the UK to get your rock fix until it’s bearably warm enough to consider venturing outside.
Ensconced within one of the few leafy conservation areas in East London and situated next to London’s canal it’s probably at its finest in the spring, when there’s the hope of actually getting outside in the near future on the horizon and it’s warm enough to sit in the park outside the pub a minute away looking at the flowing water after a hard day’s work on the wall.
For the new year’s resolution brigade: cancel the gym membership and try this. Personally climbing changed my relationship to exercise completely; I used to plod along the treadmill bored stiff, desperately trying to avert my eyes from excruciatingly dull music videos of airbrushed pop-stars prancing around, in case I fell asleep right there and then. When my 30 mins was up I was onto the weights, gagging for the end of the hour when I could finally get to the fun bit, namely the sauna. When you’re learning to climb, you have no choice but to focus wholly on what you’re doing and it’s very mentally engaging.
It’s even better to do it in a friendly, non-elitist and supportive environment where perfect strangers say hello to you; which always happens here. I have lost track of the times when I have fallen off and been helped to do a move with more grace by someone I’ve never met before. For a sport that sometimes conjures up images of chest beating machismo and competitiveness, this is the possibly the most friendly place I’ve been.
As well as having enormously varied climbing facilities and a well stocked Rock On! Shop, they’re also the only financially viable option post credit crunch in my opinion! You can get a month’s unlimited climbing for around £35, locker hire is 50p and shoe hire is £2. You have to pay a one off registration fee of £2 as well if you’re a newbie as well.
The only thing they can really do with improving (and I include all fitness centres when I say this) is WHY OH WHY must there be no cheap or appetising fruits available (bananas can’t be that much of a hassle and they get crushed in my backpack) and loads of chocolate, fizzy stuff and 'isotonic’ junk? I’ve weakened many a time when I’ve been starving and it’s not good. I swear it’s part of a conspiracy to keep people chasing that oh-so elusive six pack….
22 Smeed Road, Hackney Wick, London E3 2NR
Heleana wrote on 15 November 2008
In know what you’re thinking. “Hackney where?” “There’s not even a tube station there, can’t be bothered.” Eschew all of those thoughts from your mind now and come anyway. Decima Gallery, home to irreverent shows like The Art Olympics, Hackney Adventures and Artists versus Estate Agents Monopoly is worth the extortionate cab fare/long bike ride out. Housed within an old peanut factory, this slightly dilapidated yet charming space is home to not only some of the East London art scene’s more daring, funny and alternative works.
For those that missed their extravaganza at the Hackney Wicked Festival: poor fools! You missed a veritable mix of mock-Olympic events that made arguably bitter references to the likely fact that the whole place will be flattened by bulldozers in a year or two and replaced with benign shopping malls. Events included Piers Wardle’s Tossing The Paintbrush Competition, Stephen Micalef’s Olympic Poems, Jenny Lindvall Slowest Pint to Mouth Competition Andrew Hart Throwing the ‘diskcus’ (the spelling error is intentional: everyone brought the worst 12” record they had and tried to throw it as far as possible). Genius.
They’re also quite a web-savvy bunch: they have their own dedicated art TV station online, called Decima TV. They also flog some very reasonably priced and impressive pieces of art (if contemporary art is your passion) on eBay. To get there tube it to Bethnal Green/Bromley-by-Bow/Mile End; or take the DLR to Bow Church/Stratford then grab these buses: 276, 8, 30, 26.