27 May 2009

Gillette ghost signs

Here are my nine London Gillette signs. Some of them aren't immediately obvious as they are hidden behind other ads for newspapers, remedies and matches. 
Click the montage above to view it at a larger size, or to see each one separately click here.
Clockwise from top left: Grays Inn Road, Peckham, Kings Road, Stoke Newington, Dalston, Kilburn, Spitalfields, Acton, and in the centre, Clapham.
There are others I know of in Willesden and Southwark, and maybe a few more, but I haven't taken any photos of them myself (yet!).

26 May 2009

Brymay ghost signs

Last week I found another Brymay Matches advertisement poking out from behind a hoarding along South Lambeth Road. There seem to be more Brymay, Hovis and Gillette ghost signs than any other brands in London, and I thought it would be nice to group them together. So this one is the first of the three. 
Reading clockwise from top left: Shepherds Bush Green, West Brompton, New Cross*, Harringey, Upper Holloway, Acton. Ravencourt Park, Lambeth, and in the centre, Fulham.

24 May 2009

My latest post for Londonist: #8 Ride my bicycle

The heading says it all... this post has a 'bike' theme. Basically every pic has a bike in it or a reference to bikes. Click here to find out why, and to get the info for each image.

23 May 2009

Olympic Park tour

At 6.30pm on Thursday 21st May 2009 I boarded an official Olympic Park Tour bus for the inaugural London Bloggers tour of the site organised by Craig Beaumont of The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd. Anyway, there were about 12 of us on the gaudy bus, covered as it was in colourful branding and logos designed by blind the children of people who work in Wolf Olins accounts department.

After a short film about plans for the site, followed by a rather crappy ‘quiz’ consisting of six questions no-one was really interested in or cared to guess, we were then in the capable hands of Morag, who was, despite the inner thighs of her unprofessional trousers, really competent and informative. As we were driven around the site she regaled us with information about the various things we passed, most of which just looked like a huge building site! We also saw lots of unwashed soil piled up in mounds waiting to be cleaned of arsenic and nasty chemicals. And I managed to spot a few lonely trees along the newly-cleaned River Lea.

There is only one building on the site that has survived to tell any story of the past and that’s the old Kings Yard Textile Mill. I find it really hard to believe that there really was nothing else worth saving or renovating. It’s all a bit sad. I did find it interesting to see the trestle framework for the construction of Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre, but large-scale areas of new build such as this, splattered with ‘iconic’ structures, are really not for me. I got off the bus at the end of the tour feeling a bit ‘so what?’.

There was much talk about things like sustainability, being eco/environmentally-friendly and how much can be, is being, and will be recycled, yet they handed out to us some wasteful promotional material. On boarding the bus we were all given a big nasty 16-page A5 fold-out leaflet that I could quite easily redesign as a 12-pager by losing all the unnecessary crap such as the superfluous 'facts' that during the games “over 260,000 loaves of bread expected to be consumed” (how big is a loaf of bread?) and “160,000 litres of milk expected to be consumed”. Who cares?! The leaflet also has a plan of the site on it that has got a lot of relevant information missing (Craig, please call me!). And towards the end of the tour we were all given plastic Oyster Card/ travel pass holder/ wallet things. Inside these wallets on one side are 3 ‘Did You Know?’ cards. Mine relate to cycling and paralympic boules and archery. Thanks. They look cheap and nasty. In the opposite pocket is a large leaflet, which concertinas and then folds, entitled ‘join in’. (Notice the lower case ‘j’ on join here, yet there are initial caps on the cards – where is Harry Hill when a decision needs to be made?) Anyway, I think all this printed bumpf and waffle is a waste of money and resources and it makes me wonder if it holds a mirror to the whole event...

After the tour some of us went to the King Edward pub. In contrast to the Olympic site the pub hasn’t changed much over the years; it’s still only two storeys high with etched glass, stained wood and tiled walls. We discussed the tour and how it was a shame that we never got an opportunity to get off the bloody bus to get some better photos (hence the reflections and dirty windows evident in a lot of our photographs). Ian suggested they should employ an open-top bus. Genius idea.

But I am glad I went. it was really good to put faces to some other blogger’s names. And a big thanks, as ever to M@ who has loaded up some good pictures, videos and links onto the Londonist site. I have only put a few of my own images on Flickr but if you’d like to see more then you should check out Onionbagblog, Diamond Geezer, Ian Visits and, if you want to do some further reading, there's always the official Olympic Park website.

14 May 2009

Read all about it

Whilst you are looking at this and dipping into Londonist and other websites you are not reading a newspaper. Perhaps the only physical paper you look at lately is the one of the free ones thrust at you as you enter the tube station on your way to or from work. Due to these freebies, and the amount of information now available on the web, newspaper sales have dropped.
Fleet Street is now a shadow of its former self. Once the buzzing centre of the UK’s newspaper industry, busy with pubs full of print workers and drunken journalists swapping stories, it is now a quiet street of banks and sandwich bars. Though some of the lovely old pubs that still remain, such as the Punch Tavern and Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, are well worth a visit.
Around London there are signs, buildings and references that allude to the heyday of the daily printed word. As usual, all of these can be found on Flickr.

Top row: Daily Mail clock on the east side of the Barkers department store building in Kensington; National News ad in Clapham; newsagent in Dean Street; newsagent sign in Earlsfield; Daily Express ad in Willesden.
Middle row: Daily News ad in Tottenham; Daily Telegraph clock, Fleet Street; Closed newsagent in De Beauvoir; Westminster gazette ad, Stamford Hill; Evening Standard clock on the west side of Barkers.
Bottom row: Daily Express building, Fleet Street; Picture Post ad, Stockwell; Dundee Evening Telegraph and People’s Friend building, Fleet Street; Daily Telegraph ad, West Brompton; the Daily Telegraph Building, Fleet Street.