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

Mr Sandman, please tell me the truth

Mr Sandman

Walking past Holborn Station today I saw something that really stopped me in my tracks, a sand artist working on a sculpture of a relaxed hound. I had to ask the chap how long it took him (he said seven hours) and also took a photo of it as I was amazed at how good it was and I even parted with 50p!

As soon as I got back to work I couldn’t wait to show my workmates the great sculpture. One looked at the picture and said “That’s funny, it looks just like the dog that a guy sculpts in Chelmsford town centre at the weekend.” Another workmate piped up “That chap was doing the same thing at six o’clock last night outside the station and oddly enough at the same stage, just fiddling around with the dog’s nose with a small paint-brush.”

I’ve only looked on youtube tonight and noticed a few different sand sculptors working on a dog in a similar sort of pose. Please tell me it’s just co-incidental and sand artists love sculpting a hound lying like that.

I’d love to think that this was made through a bit of craftsmanship and not formed from some clever moveable mould. If it is a con, could I get my 50p back through trading and standards or a small claims court? P

Fairytale in the supermarket

There hasn’t been much to report in the lunchtime stakes this week as most of them have involved shopping in Sainsbury’s (and other establishments.)

Talking of which, this weekend I discovered a very mad youtube clip involving the spiritual entertainer Danny Shine (and Julian James the mind magician) at a branch of said supermarket that I’ve been known to frequent during a lunch hour. Why wasn’t this going on when I was there as it’s very bonkers indeed! All I can say is “Om.” P

Let me take you higher!

Matt Smith was the best Doctor Who

Matt Smith was the best Doctor Who

Wandering through Lincoln’s Inn Fields this lunchtime I saw the ultimate in “in-park keep-fit.”

A personal trainer had only attached an elastic tightrope between two young trees ten foot apart and around three feet high off the ground. He was bouncing on and off it doing tricks in front of his client as the trees began to bend and creak. He twanged (not good english but a word that describes his action well) off the elastic from a sitting position onto the grass then jumped back on, landing on his feet. Bizarre!

I reckoned that the parkies would have thrown him out straight away but when I walked back an hour later he was still there. What would you call this latest Park keep-fit craze?  “Bounce-ercise” or “Twang-ercise”, I really don’t know. Beats Rave-ercise anyday! P

Sensual scrabble

topless in gaza

On one of our lunchtime strolls last week, myself and W spotted the change of direction of the salubrious Chatterbox bar in Farringdon Road. It has gone from being just a “topless” bar to a “hostess” bar so it says above the door.

topless inset

The best thing is, is that the sign’s been economically corrected. They only changed 3 letters thus saving them some signwriters fees into the bargain. Brilliant! P

Papp off, why don’t you…

pap offThursday lunchtime while I was on my way to meet a mate I noticed about forty papparatzi milling about outside an office in High Holborn obviously waiting for someone to show. What was even funnier, on the other side of the road there was a massive crowd forming, all with sarnies in one hand and a mobile phone (camera at the ready) in the other. They had no idea who the papps were waiting for as when I asked a few of them, all I got was “No idea”, “It’s got to be someone famous” and “I hear it’s Trendy Spice” yeah right! I reckoned it was going to be someone classy like the chap with the whispering snake on Britain’s Got Talent.

About ten minutes later walking passed the scene again I noticed an arabic looking guy in a suit with his head down with a couple of minders trying to get into the back of the building. Then all hell let loose!

A shout went up from the papps who started running around the corner, whacking each other and any passers-by out of the way all while trying to carry all their massive gear, outsized furry boom mikes and cameras etc. In the end they surrounded the unfortunate bloke, nearly flattening what looked like his lawyer of maturing years into the bargain. The suited bloke was in the building before you knew it and the papps were standing around again playing the old waiting game albiet a lot more bruised!

It was only watching the ten o’clock news later that evening that it turns out the scrum I witnessed was for the horse trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni who was on his way to a doping hearing with the British Horse-racing authority. He’s now been banned for eight years after being found guilty of giving his horses steroids.

I was well shocked at the behaviour of the papparatzi, they honestly didn’t give one for anyone that got in the way and talk about stalking! Now I know what Posh Spice feels like when she pops out for loo roll at her local branch of Tesco’s. That was lunchtime madness of the highest order! P