But Geoffrey Fletcher did

A bargain was bagged last week for the princely sum of £2.94 (including p+p off Amazon), it was a book by Geoffrey Fletcher which inspired the film “The London Nobody Knows” as featured in the last post. It’s a nice old book with illustrations by Fletcher (who was a graphic artist as well as a writer) and a preface written in 1989 where he mentions the changes in London since the original publication of 1962.

The book features lots of places that have long disappeared, language from a time gone by (some that now wouldn’t be politically correct) and some just plain daft: “Weird youths…stare listlessly into radio and jazz shops, youths with white-eyeleted shoes accompanied by their fun-molls. Each couple has horribly pointed shoes that make me think of elves; they twitch epileptically to the sound of jazz”. God knows what he’d say if he was still about today about London’s youth (and also the 50-odd year old punks wandering around New Cross with “Discharge” painted on the back of their “levver” jackets) but we love this book and it comes highly recommended!

If they were ever going to do a contemporary rewrite of the book and were looking for someone to do the illustrations we here at Liylh reckon they should be done by the artist Marc Gooderham (his “Elder Street, Spitalfields” above and Hawksmoor’s “Christchurch” below) as he uses decaying London as a major inspiration (examples of his London paintings here). As it says on his website about his work “Capturing the singular beauty to be found in those neglected buildings that have fallen into disrepair as the living city continues to evolve around them”. Fletcher would have liked that! By coincidence “The London Nobody Knows” was and is used by Marc as his bible and in his own words: “for drawing and sketching, looking for lost architectural delights… the book was a great discovery”. Have a look at more of Marc’s work here.

And finally while researching this post I found two episodes of a Radio 4 programme from 2011 where Dan Cruickshank revisits Geoffrey Fletcher’s old haunts in the first episode here and in the second he visits his own quirky favourites here. One of them is the abandoned St Mary’s Underground Station in Whitechapel which is featured on this short BBC film here. The London nobody knows indeed! P

How big is the cat then?

hound of the baskervilles

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve passed this strange sight a few times while walking through Clifford’s Inn from Fleet Street.  It looks like one of those plastic boxes you bring your cat to the vet in but there’s no handle on the top and it’s very very large (you’ll never get this on the bus!) Any ideas? Is it the second home of the Black Dog of Newgate perhaps? Whatever it is, we at LIYLH would love to know! P

Into the trees

Lincoln's inn netting

On a late lunchtime stroll the other day I saw these two massive trees being busily wrapped up by construction crews in Lincoln’s Inn and wondered what was going on. Was it some crazy art project? Protection against a forthcoming nuclear war perhaps?

I had to ask the uniformed gateman on my way out, “Why the plastic netting?” as I pointed to the trees. He replied “Well, they’re in the process of redeveloping the area and the trees are sadly coming down next month” “and we don’t want any rare whatisname’s nesting in the trees and delaying the chainsaws, do we?” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. P

An aptly priced book bargain

London Free and Dirt Cheap

I found a great bargain in the Holborn Library 20p book sale this week, “London Free and Dirt Cheap” by Joe Fullman (Frommer’s.)

The copy I obtained was an edition from 2007 but I am sure you’ll be able to find an up-to-date version quite cheap (prices from £3 inc p+p on amazon!)

There’s some classic cheap London moments here and loads of stuff we didn’t know about, e.g. Best Free Hidden Gem: The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, lots of cheap eats ideas including somewhere with the great name of Porky’s Pantry (now sadly closed,) free oddities to visit like The London Stone, free music and concert ideas and free tickets to TV shows too.

Go out and get a copy and get ideas for having fun for (next to) nothing! P

Make some noise! (For peace and tranquility)

Dalai Lama comes to town

Yesterday lunchtime in the horrible drizzle, I popped to the library to bring some books back. On the way there I heard a right old din reverberating around Covent Garden Piazza. Thinking it was some sort of demonstration (and praying it was nothing to do with the rugby) I trotted off towards the Strand to find out it’s origin.

The closer I got, I realised it was loud rhythmic drumming interspersed with chanting (in a call and response style) from a couple using megaphones. The crowd consisted of about 40 people including a couple of shaven-headed nuns in ceremonial robes holding brollies while others waved Tibetan flags.

Speaking to a hobby-bobby at the scene, I was told the crowd were there for Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, who was inside a building just off the Strand giving a talk for World Peace Day.

It was a nice hypnotic audio treat for a Monday lunchtime, shame it was tipping it down or I would have stayed around. P

Singing their hearts out for Mr Wren

christopher-wren

On the way home from work tonight I bumped into a friend Mark, who told me that the choir he sings in, will be performing next Saturday (27th June 2015) in the Wren Choral Marathon.

“The Wren Choral Marathon, what’s that?” I hear you cry. Well, it’s an event comprising of a series of concerts by 17 different choirs in 17 Wren churches in a single day, starting at 8am at St Michael, Cornhill and finishing with a late one at St Stephens, Walbrook. How good is that if you like a bit of singing?

There’s even a bonus for the choir listening hardcore who make it to all 17 concerts, a chance to be added in a draw for a super special prize.

Sounds like a different way of spending a Saturday, seeing some great architecture while listening to some quality choirs. And furthermore it’s Free! More details here. P

A supreme ultimate Saturday

Rose Poster_2015_London

Not strictly lunchtime I know but something a bit different for a Saturday in Brockley, South London.

For the past couple of years we’ve covered the seminars of Sifu Rose Oliver who regularly brings over Taiji masters from Shanghai to a church hall in Brockley, how good is that? Posts here and here.

This year Rose is over on her own on Saturday 1st August  from 10:00am to 4.00pm at St Hilda’s Church Hall, 375 Brockley Rd, Crofton Park, (enter on Brockley Rd.) Crofton Park/Honor Oak Park Station or buses 171 and 172.

The seminars suit all styles of Taiji and it doesn’t matter how much experience you have too. It’s at a great price (£40 for the day which is cheap compared to others) and taught in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, suitable for any level of Taiji practitioner from beginner upwards (or even if you’re just interested in the art and want to see what it is all about.)

I can personally recommend it and you will definitely have fun and leave the seminar with knowing a bit more than you did (and with a smile on your face too!) To confirm a place this year contact Rose by e-mail at roseinchina2006 (at) yahoo.co.uk P