Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Sound of the Bard Spinning

Why is it the most unlikely places get named after such inappropriate choices? Allow me to present "Shakespeare Tower" in the Barbican, not much more to say, is there?

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 7

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Finding Fortune

Fortune Street Park is a teeny tiny postage stamp piece of green in the heart of the city, well frequented by local families who have few other places for their children to play outdoors.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A good place to meat

One day, I should visit London's commercial markets when they are in full swing. For the moment, this is the vegetarian version of Smithfield Meat Market, no meat.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Rain Room

You may have hear about the Rain Room at the Barbican, an art installation where you can walk in the dry in torrential rain. It's a very popular exhibit, and the queues when I dropped by were longer than the time to closing time. However, if you walk around the back you can look in as people come out. There is really a very lot of rain, and some of the young children find out the hard way that their parents REALLY mean walk, don't run......

I may well try to visit before it closes, but if I do, it won't be a weekend and it won't be anything other than first thing in the morning.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Snow Nun

I know it is only a trick of the light, but I wanted to share this sight with you. We are in the cloister of the church of St Bartholomew the Great, one of the oldest in London. The snow has melted on the ground, and left this nun, wandering on her own, lost in thought.....

posted by Ham at 07:39 -- Comments here: 0

Saturday, January 26, 2013

RSPB Birdwatch

It's the RSPB Birdwatch this weekend: take one hour and count the birds in your garden. It's something anyone can do, and has been going on for quite a few years. The results are often surprising, and provide a unique, speedy, feel for what is happening with our bird populations ( for last years. Squirrels feeding from bird proof feeders don't count.

posted by Ham at 08:03 -- Comments here: 2

Friday, January 25, 2013

Big Freeze

As the big freeze comes to an end, with the thaw arriving on Saturday, I couldn't resist the tenuous link to the very large bacchanalian frieze on the side of the Odeon, St Martin's Lane. Sorry.

posted by Ham at 01:04 -- Comments here: 2

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Bike Show

On Sunday I visited the Bike Show in Excel, it is fascinating seeing the changes over the years, how cycling is becoming bigger and more mainstream. This year, for example, the were many people making and selling fashionable ladies clothes for cycling. These two bikes come from the same manufacturer - Cambridge based The Light Blues. The top bike is a special track bike built by the founder in 1900. The bottom is one of their latest offerings.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Black & White Cabs

~Here's one where I just liked the image.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Building London

I was in a building 23 stories up yesterday, and I was struck by the number of cranes that are scattered across the landscape. And yes, in the rear of the frame is the broken crane on the building of St Georges Tower. You can see the wide view here

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 6

Monday, January 21, 2013


There's a lot of snow about at the moment, it's prettiest where there are fewest people. At least, fewest walking around disturbing it.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Proping up a bar

Proping up a bar is a noble activity, after all it would be dreadful if it fell over.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Street Food

Walking through London's Chinatown, I noticed a small doodle on the side of a street food vendor's cart. It's nice to think people thing about the ... artistic .... side of food. By the way, have you heard about the new Tesco beefburgers? They're meant to be very good, in fact they are the dog's b*****s

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Friday, January 18, 2013

Don't forget the birdies!

As we are in a bit of a freeze and heading for more, a little reminder that the birds singing in your garden will always appreciate food, and in these temperatures fresh water can be hard to find, too.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rockers Folly

No, this isn't an old Rock'n'Roll haunt, instead, the "C" of "Crockers Folly" has fallen off. A magnificent Victorian pub, originally the Crown Hotel, its name was changed back in 1987 to perpetuate the legend of the founder, who is said to haunt the place. You can read the story in The Shady Old Lady. It's obviously going to be changed into flats, £4M is the asking price if you're interested.

posted by Ham at 00:23 -- Comments here: 1

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Vanishing Man

In the Thames, just by Purfleet, is a sculpture called "The Diver" which ducks down as the river rises. Sorry for the camera shake in low light, a picture with the scene at low tide can be seen here.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Chinese Sculpture

One of the more bizarre bits of 2012 legacy is this sculpture of chinese playing polo (they invented it, apparently) dropped into a bit of scrubland opposite London City Airport.

Donated by a Chinese artist, I can do no better than to quote the press release:

A magnificent sculpture has been gifted to the borough by renowned Chinese sculptress Huang Jian.
The China-UK Friendship Polo Match was unveiled at a special ceremony attended by Mayor Sir Robin Wales and councillors.

The Polo Match sculpture is based on two Chinese ancient polo fans and two British modern polo lovers who travel through time and gather in the Olympic Park for a polo game.

Sir Robin said: “The Royal Docks is a fitting setting for this magnificent sculpture, which we are delighted to welcome.”

Speaking through a translator, Huang said: “My sculpture has found a fitting home. The backdrop of the docks and London City Airport is amazing.
I am very happy.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Monday, January 14, 2013

Trompe l'Oeil

Leicester Square is being refurbished at the moment, so they have covered the statue of William Shakespeare with screens and mirrors. Does odd things to your brains and eyes.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Two For Tea

That's the name of the duo I was fortunate to catch up with for free in the foyer of the National Theatre. Dropping in there around midday is always fun, and this duo was excellent. You can see for yourself - I took a (mobile phone) video and it is here

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hats Off!

Many of the old fashioned hat shops have closed, but Laird has recently started and seems to be doing well.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Friday, January 11, 2013

What's it Wirth?

Answer: I don't know, they don't say. Hauser & Wirth is an interantional art dealer, this is the Saville Row operation showing Isa Genzken's work. This is "Nefertiti plaster busts with glasses on wooden base, wooden plinths, belt, colour photographs in aluminium frames", of course it is. Just the thing for the mantelpiece mantelpiece mantelpiece mantelpiece.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snow Joke

I don't often get caught up by inane PR stunts but this one took my fancy. The more you swing, the more "snow" is produced (actually, a foam). It will be in Finsbury Square over the next couple of days if you fancy a try. I happen to think that bottled water is one of the most unnecessary, environmentally negative products of the modern age and no amount of silly promotions will make me think otherwise. And yes, I do sometimes use them for convenience, but the idea that one make of bottled water is better than another is risible.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Glockenspiel and Flags

The Glockenspiel that used to be outside the now defunct Swiss Centre in Leicester Square was restored recently, alongside the flags of the Swiss Cantons. It is supposed to chime with a five-minute performance five times a day Monday to Friday (at 12.00, 17.00–20.00), and eight times a day at the weekend (12.00 and hourly between 14.00–20.00). I have to confess, I think it is broken again. At least, I've not heard it lately, has anyone? It is supposed to sound like this.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Grand Old Duke of York

He had 10,000 men, d'you know? This is the Duke of York Monument off the Mall, with the Duke of York on the top; I've never known the viewing platform to be open, bit of a shame that - could be a candidate for Open House? He must have been popular with the soldiers, though, for all the futile marching, as they voted to donate a day's pay to construct this monument. Not the easiest thing to photograph, the rain helps.

Edit: Thanks to Hazeln for the pointer to Ian's story

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Monday, January 07, 2013

Modern Art

One of the most consistently avant garde galleries is the ICA in the Mall. Probably overshadowed by the Tate Modern these days, it's still worth a visit for curiosity's sake if nothing else.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Lights are Going Out

It's Twelfth Night, so time to take down your Christmas lights. No, I don't know when they take down these in Regent Street.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Nearly beyond belief

I ventured inside the "M&M World" in Leicester Square. The only thing missing is one of these substandard confectionery items on Big Brother. Am I missing something here? How in seven shades of commercialism have they got away with this, and how can they continue to do so? Oh well.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 7

Friday, January 04, 2013

Singing in the Rain

The news is out - 2012 was one of the wettest years ever, quel suprise. I recently realised that after more than seven years, I don't think I've ever featured Picadilly Circus lights. Fixed.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Book Early....

Some Spanish developers have paid £60M for a 125 year lease on the Admiralty Arch. Apparently, rooms will cost upward of £850 a night - it seems to me that there will be quite a few rooms there. Better book early then, eh?

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Each time I see an "amusements" arcade I'm reminded of the friend of a friend visiting London for the first time from the Soviet Union, very soon after the regime change. Her English was self taught, and the cost of coming to London was met by the legacy left to her by her father. We were walking through the west end, and came across an amusement arcade. She read the sign in faltering, heavily accented English. "Ah - moos - ments, vot is zis?" So, we explained the principle, that you walked into the place with money, put it into the machines, and then walked out again. She thought about this for a few seconds. "Zis must be very amusing for ze owner".......

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year

Reflecting back on 2012, London's Olympic year, I was looking for my favourite shot of the year, which had to be one from the games. But which? Each of the shots I posted says so much to me, instead, here is the shot of the Olympic flame.

And then, here are some of my other favourites for you to click on, to remind you what it was like:

Synchronised Swimming
Jessica Long
Oscar Pistorius, The Bladerunner
Paralympic Cycling
Blind Football
Wheelchair Rugby
The Games Makers

What a year.

A happy, prosperous and healthy New Year to you all.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

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