There’s a whole lot of (hand) shaking going on…


Yesterday I popped into The Library and Museum of Freemasonry at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queens Street WC2 5AZ to have a look at the exhibition “Spotlight – Freemasons and entertainment.”

Firstly I thought it would be hard work getting into the building, imagining going through a handshake test, followed by all sort of trouser rolling and apron wearing jollities but no. It was a straightforward “go up the stairs and keep to your right for the exhibition.” When I reached the library I was greeted by a happy librarian only willing to talk about the Freemason’s Hall which is a fine old Art Deco building by the way.

The exhibition itself is interesting enough if you like that sort of thing but the only information I gleamed from it was Rick Wakeman and Freddy “Parrot-face” Davies are examples of lodge members who are also “modern day entertainers.” Not my sort of entertainers, sorry.


But it’s in the far room off the library (which houses the exhibition) where all the good stuff is. This is where the actual museum is and if you like pottery, regalia, cloaks and daggers and such-like with mad imagery on them, this is the place for you!

There’s plates printed with pyramids, tea pots with weird logos, strange looking medals and also a stone supposedly from King Solomon’s mines. It’s all mad stuff and well worth spending half an hour at. Below is my personal favourite from the exhibition.


But on no account leave a bad comment in the visitors book or you might find next time you want a bank loan or planning permission you might be mysteriously declined with no explanation. P

Location, location, location

Wandering the streets of London at lunchtime over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed a fair few film crews hard at work on set.

Freemasons on film

Passing the Freemason’s Hall in Great Queen Street yesterday I decided to ask one mature member of the crew (in a bright hi-vis jacket who was enjoying a lunchtime fag outside) what film was being shot in there. He turned and said “I really don’t understand what the film’s all about mate as it ain’t my cup of tea. As far as I know it’s called Assasin’s Creed or something or other.” Brilliant!

At the moment there’s also filming going on outside the Mac Store in Covent Garden. It’s an adaptation of the book “A Street Cat Named Bob” (a true story about a homeless guy and his pet cat who kept him on the straight and narrow. More on him here.) A big thanks to the friendly security chap on the set the other morning who told me about it while I was passing.

It’s nice to see people being friendly and willing to divulge information, unlike the other week outside the Rosewood Hotel in Holborn. There was a mad mob of Paparazzi milling about outside, I tried asking a couple who they were waiting for but I got no answer. Another told me (a photographer on the back of a motorbike with the rider revving up the engine ready for the “off”) “No idea mate, perhaps that pack of screaming teens over there can help you, why don’t you ask them,” as if!

In the end I walked off as I couldn’t be bothered waiting. Turns out it was Justin Bieber holed up in there. Me, I’d rather be watching a film being made! P

Protest and survive

Student strike_1

Yesterday lunchtime walking up Charing Cross Road, I bumped into marchers on the National Demo for Free Education. There was loads of noise, a bike powered soundsystem blasting out drum and bass and some great examples of home-made plaques. My favourite was the simple felt-tipped message below (centre):

student sign

The unsung heroes of the march though, were the team of Westminster Council roadsweepers with their Toytown-like mechanical brush carts following the stragglers. It was like an opposite of Curling with lots of frantic and nervous sweeping going on at the rear!

Student strike_3

Still smiling to myself about the manic roadsweepers, walking back to work I heard some strange “neighing” and was surprised to see a group of police on horseback hiding down an alleyway having a chat and a laugh with some passers by. Very odd! P

student strike_2

Oi, watch me toggle

arthur beale

This lunchtime I picked up a leaflet outside that great yacht chandler Arthur Beale in Covent Garden advertising this great event on Thursday 3rd December. It’s free entry for anyone wearing a duffle coat and cocoa is served too! What more do you want out of life?

All they now need is a false floor in the auditorium which sways from side to side and a saltwater sprinkler system for that authentic seafaring experience! P