Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012
Sunday, July 29, 2012
And welcome to London. On Saturday night, I and around half the UK population tuned in to see the opening ceremony for the Olympics, it was an absolute triumph. It must have been absolutely fantastic to be there, but it was also designed to be televised; by Danny Boyle who knows a thing or two about these things. Do yourself a favour, if you haven't seen it, watch the torch lighting part, if you have just watch it again, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3iTWHn486c. Genius.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
Friday, July 27, 2012
Beware the One Eyed Monster
The Olympic mascots are popping up all over the place. I'd love to say I've changed my mind and think they are endearing, appealing or in anyway sporting, but I haven't and I don't. Still, I suppose we have to have a mascot (why? - oh yes, so we can sell them) and at least this can be used to threaten little children with.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Smile for the Camera
I've noted before how some visitors from Asian countries, apparently on their honeymoon, seem to recreate their wedding photos in and around Westminster. Not sure why, but it looks fun for all concerned. The gent appears to be in uniform, possibly air force (I can see wings in the original), from the way they are sitting apart, I'd guess Malaysia, but I may be way off the mark. I didn't notice when I was taking the shot how much she seems to be enjoying the moment.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Many think that Westminster Abbey (in yesterday's photo) is Westminster Cathedral, but it isn't. The Cathedral is a little down the road, just here. The Abbey dates back one way or the other to 1042, this Cathedral to 1895. I confess I can't think of Westminster Cathedral without thinking of the tune Winchester Cathedral (watch the video for some interesting "digital" effects to his voice). Of course, the Cathedral is more properly famous for the choir and various other God stuff.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Somewhere along the line I've avoided a straight shot of Westminster Abbey, now fixed. I was there on Sunday with tourists streaming around like ants. However, the bells were ringing, which made it so much better. I took a short video so you could share that. The bells you can hear are actually in St Margarets Church next door. You can't have enough churches (it would appear)
Monday, July 23, 2012
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Something for Everbody
Friday, July 20, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
The Door To Nowhere
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Come on Baby Light my Fire
The entire length of the bridge taking people into the Olympic park has been covered with images of people enjoying the Olympic torch relay and... a certain brand of fizzy drink. A respected commenter pointed out yesterday that alleviating costs from the public purse should surely be a good thing. Well, yes. But I can't help but think that a soul has been sold here, and quite cheaply. You can't buy tickets if you don't have our magic card. You can't buy food if it isn't out branded goods. We ARE worth more than that. And if you are asking yourself, I can see no trace of fizzy-drink-brand here, I did have to work to take it that way.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
YOU looking at ME???
Amusing, but eminently practical, there are people standing all around the way to the Olympic site whose only job it to point the way to the Olympic Park. Of course it would be uncharitable of me to think that, had the way to the park not been to funnel people through a labyrinth of shops they wouldn't need any of this...
Monday, July 16, 2012
Stairway To Heaven
The Bethnal Green Disaster of 1943 is still remembered by quite a few, to quote:
On 3 March 1943 a crowd of people entered Bethnal Green tube station which was used at the time as an air-raid shelter. After the searchlights went on and an anti-aircraft battery a few hundred yards away in Victoria Park launched a salvo of a new type of anti-aircraft rockets the crowd surged forward. Someone tripped on the stairs causing many others to fall. 300 people were crushed into the stairwell within a few seconds, 173 of them died and over 90 were injured. The worst civilian disaster of the 2nd World War.
Soon, there will be a memorial to replace these ad hoc tributes.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Story of a Squat
There's no question that some sqatting is plain wrong, but sometimes you can't help but feel a bit of sympathy.
This elegant building (Bedford House in Quaker Street, E1) was built by a Quaker who had formed "the Society for Lessening the Causes of Juvenile Delinquency", much work was done to alleviate poverty among the local population and educational courses, lectures and religious meetings were held here. They moved out, it was converted for industrial use for several years but has stood empty for decades.
Last year a group of responsible squatters moved in, and undertook a lot of repairs. They turned the building into a cultural centre once again. Didn't take long though, until they were thrown out.
Now it stands empty again.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
It's not very often I watch TV, but I caught a program "The Secret History of our Streets" which fascinated me. The subject this week was Arnold Circus, how it came into being and how it has changed over the last 120 years. Let me whet your appetite: It was the first Council Housing Estate in the country; built with sufficient homes to house all of the slum dwellers that had lived there previously, none did.
You can watch the program for the next seven days here, I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I'll have a half
I was stopped off in the Three Crowns behind Jermyn Street today (a traditional vennue in the heart of London, to be recommended), when I came across this pair of octogenarians - nonagenarians? - having a quiet half. They are probably local residents, and have quite possibly been doing the same for some years.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Pop Up Art
Just in time for the Olympics, there are pieces of public art popping up all over the place. You wouldn't guess that this was Bow, would you? I'm sure it's better than nothing (actually, I'm not) but it does smack of desperation - "Quick lets get some Art here" On the subject is there any other word as short that is so well used with such disparate meanings? Bow: A knot, bending from the waist, front of a ship, a weapon/used to make sound on strings, a place. More meanings than letters.
Monday, July 09, 2012
St John on Bethnal Green
Yesterday's artwork can be found just inside St John on Bethnal Green church. This church speaks to a time back in 1826 when Bethnal Green was more substantial an area. This Grade 1 listed building was designed by John Soane, it is hard to imagine the building being filled these days; they are clearly searching for ways to make the church relevant today. You can read a brief history here.
Sunday, July 08, 2012
Saturday, July 07, 2012
If you needed another reason to get to St Olave's, then it might be to see Pepys' Pew. This was his church, a Navy church, and you can rest your posterior in the same place. Gives a great sense of continuity, that. While it has very recently come to an end, the re-run of Pepys' diary as a blogger can be found here and is very entertaining, I would recommend a browse of the archives..
Friday, July 06, 2012
Carving out a Niche
If you get as far as St Olave's Church to look at the bones above the door (yesterday), do take the time to go inside. It is, to use a hackneys phrase, a little gem. This here is the lectern, said to be carved by Grinling Gibbons at the beginning of the 18th Century. Me? I'm not so sure. Although the work is astonishing, it looks as if it might have be done by one of his students to me. Maybe I'm being a bit unfair, what do you think?
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Phone Box Art
The BT ArtBox project is commemorating 25 years of Childline, one of the very best charity organisations giving children a voice, and an ear to listen. There are a number of artworks inspired by the phonebox all around London, they are all available to buy.
Monday, July 02, 2012
Sunday, July 01, 2012
July Theme Day - Chimneys
It's the first of the month, and so another worldwide city theme day. Unfortunately, due to unfriendly people the portal is down, so it's hard to link to others. Try some of my links on the right (a lot of which may well be outdated) for a journey round the world. Edit: http://cdpbthemeday.blogspot.com.au is the place to find others for the theme day this month.
This "Chimney" is the ventilation shaft to a deep level shelter in Southwark, which also commemorates the story of Violette Szabo, a real-life spy whose story is stranger than fiction.