25 September 2010

Theatre darling, theatre

I have been to the theatre two nights running this week! Blimey darling!
On Thursday I saw Yes Minister at the Gielgud Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue. Lots of words and clever political stuff. Loved it. Consider this a short and sweet favourable review.
And last night I saw the last performance of a brilliant production of Pygmalion by the Tour De Force Theatre Company in a converted industrial unit in Hackney. The cast of five was excellent.
On the bus home I thought up this collection of theatre-related images, which I think may be my best cryptic collection yet. I hope you get all the references...

Top row: Marylebone Passage, Millbank, Victoria Apollo, Chapel Market
Middle row: Old Marylebone Road, Acton, Clapton, Temple
Bottom row: Shepherd's Bush, Kings Cross, Highbury, Hoxton

23 September 2010

100 Club threatened with closure

News in Evening Standard and the NME that the 1oo club in Oxford Street, which has been staging gigs since 1964, may be closed down in a few months. I am sure a campaign is being set up as I write this in an attempt to save it.
This eastern of Oxford Street has become an absolute no-go area at the moment due to the rape and devastation being caused by the implementation of Crossrail – shops and businesses in this stretch must be suffering. Adjacent to No.100 there is now a great big hole where the whole block between Dean Street and Great Chapel Street has been demolished. It's not looking good.
The image is of the old Alfred Marks clock above the door.

21 September 2010

Save The Wenlock Arms

It has recent come to my notice the the owners of this wonderful old pub intend to sell up and move on. All well and good for them, but it may not be so good for the much-loved pub as it will more than likely be demolished by any new buyer or developer.
Anyone who has ever been to The Wenlock knows what an absolute gem of a place it is; there aren't enough proper old boozers like this left these days. It's a lively place frequented by different types of people from all walks of life, plus it's a big favourite with real ale drinkers winning many CAMRA and SPBW awards.
So, to find out more click the links under this picture.
Please sign the petitions and do your best to keep the place open.

20 September 2010

Letterpool London - Typographical imagery

Just realised I forgot to mention something within my recent post about Neville Brody's Anti Design Festival...
I meant to link to Letterpool London where four of the pics in the Gallery of 100 are mine! Let's hope the London book comes out soon and is as successful as the Liverpool one.

19 September 2010

Holborn Midtown -update

Earlier this year I wrote a post about the silly idea to re-brand the historic Bloomsbury, Holborn and St Giles area as Midtown. See it here.
Well, sadly, 'they' are still continuing with this.
Andy Dangerfield latest piece follows up on his previous BBC article and I've been quoted in there!

17 September 2010

4by4 at the Anti Design Festival

On Wednesday eve I was back at Payne Shurvell for another PView. This time for Rational/Irrational, the second in a series of four one-week shows which form part of Neville Brody's Anti-Design Festival which is happening at various venues all around Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, until 26th September (though I notice that the PS shows continue until 2nd October). Download the full programme here.

The PS show was full of inspiring little gems that at first glance looked like nothing much at all. It was worth asking questions and spending time on things. I left with A3 print outs of the artists' work including a rewritten version of Sol LeWitt's 'Sentences on Conceptual Art', which is now stuck on my wall, and some tissues with thoughts printed on them. Plus it gave me a few ideas of my own that have evolved into this collection of lovely bits of typography on shops and signs from all over London that bring a smile to my face.

See you at next week's show...

16 September 2010


I accidentally caught 10 minutes of the omnibus edition of Eastenders on Sunday; a programme I haven't watched in a long time. For those of you who aren't aware of this programme, it's a soap opera on BBC1 about the people who live in and around a make-believe square in London's East End. It's been going since February 1985.
Anyway, as I tuned in just The Vic (pub) had burned down and it was the following day...
Peggy went into the burnt-out Vic in a white jacket. She touched and stroked blackened objects and walls. She even sat on the stairs. Yet she left with clean hands and only a tiny smudge on her shoulder.
Crackhead Phil went out onto the street. His face and clothes were covered in soot. Billy, also filthy, told him to go back to bed. Have these people not heard of baths or showers?
After 10 minutes I changed channels.
Then on Tuesday I went to my local cafe for lunch and found a copy of The Sun to read. (It's been a really high-brow few days!). In his TV column Ally Ross had written a long piece on Eastenders and it seems had I tuned in earlier on Sunday I'd have seen a few other gems. Such as, when the fire started, Dot was told to go home and call the fire brigade, as if no one had heard of mobile phones. And Phil had been boarded up behind an inward-opening door!
Add to this why no-one ever works outside the square, owns a washing machine, and much more... it's no wonder the pedant in me doesn't usually watch it.

Top row: Queensway, Victoria Palace, King Street, Tottenham High Road.
Middle row: Holloway, South Tottenham, Highgate, Whitechapel.
Bottom row: The real East end; Mile End Road, Hackney and Stepney

14 September 2010

Snooping & sniffing at Open House Weekend

This weekend, 18+19th September, many usually closed doors will be opened to the public for a free snoop inside. And there are walks, tours and cycle rides too.
Lots of gems. Two days only.
Most of the big attractions such as Centre Point and Trellick Tower aren't even worth showing up to now as they were only available to see by booking in advance.
And please be aware that a huge chunk of the properties on the list are actually open all year round, so save those for another day and instead make use of the opportunity to go and sniff around other people's architectified* homes.
Check the official site for more details.

*my own word

8 September 2010

WWF UK's Year of the Tiger campaign

As part of the Year of the Tiger, and to raise awareness of the plight of tigers in the wild, WWF UK is working with Mark Coreth who is, as I write this, creating a 3.4m sculpture of a tigress next to Bankside Pier.
This will be there until 19th September 2011 so if you are visiting the Mayor's Thames Festival this weekend, be sure to go an check it out as members of the public and local children are invited to go and lend a hand.
I am a big cat; I am a Leo and a Tiger, whatever all that means.
I haven't got any pictures of tigers but I do have some of cats:

Clockwise from top left: Civet Cat (Kensington), Red Lion (Camberwell), Natural History Museum, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Carreras Building (Mornington Crescent), Bortusk Leer street art, boot scraper (Belgravia), Black Cat cigarettes ghost sign (Dingley Road).

6 September 2010

NPG / BP Portrait Award 2010

Every year I make sure to go and see the paintings at the BP Award. I used to love it and it made me feel inspired. But it seems to me that year on year I am leave more disappointed than the last.
I'd estimate that half of the paintings on show this year were of the photo-realism variety. As I wrote on my (pointless) voting slip, "where's the art in copying things?".
The end results of this kind of 'art' seem, to me, to be too perfect and lacking in humanity; reproducing a snapshot of a moment in time leaves no scope for interpretation either by the artist or the viewer... an artist recreates a photo in paint and the end result itself looks like a photograph. Why not just take a decent photograph in the first place?!
I chatted to a couple of other people there who agreed with me.
Anyway, judge for yourself... see them all here, but be aware that the size/scale online does not really do them justice and, if you haven't seen this year's show already, try to go an see it before it finishes on September 19th.
I got me thinking that there are better portraits on pub signs...

Clockwise from top left: NPG doorway mosaic; my voting slip; my choice: 'I went to a marvellous party' by Dairmund Kelly*; Lord Lyndhurst pub (now residential), SE15; Prince William Henry pub (note tree sprouting from his head!), Blackfriars Road, SE1; Samuel Beckett in Notting Hill; Hoxton paper graffiti; The Duke of Sussex (now Frederick's restaurant), N1.
*just googled him and I don't like anything else he's done!!!

2 September 2010

Eels at Brixton Academy

Last night. Mark 'E' Everett resplendent in white, sporting a headscarf, sunglassses and a HUGE beard which reminded me of the those Mexican circus artists.
It was a good gig. Not as good as when I saw Eels as a trio dressed as if ready for Scrapheap Challenge at the much missed Astoria (boo hoo... here I go again), or a pared down gig he did at the Albert Hall, but good enough. He/they performed mostly stuff from the most recent albums including this and this. I would have liked to have seen them do a few oldies like this and this too, but having just checked my iTunes and seen I have 194 Eels tracks in there I suppose you can't please all the people all the time.
Brixton is awash with lovely architectural details and signs – everything below is within 5 mins walk of the gig.