24 February 2010

Less traffic lights in London

Due to the successful removal of traffic lights and pedestrian/pelican crossings in Wilts, overseas and at some junctions in Ealing there are now plans to extend the 'project' to other areas in London and re-introduce roundabouts.
It's been proven that far from causing accidents pedestrians and drivers are forced to be more vigilant and think for themselves rather than waiting for a light to tell them what to do.
I think it's a great idea – we've all sat and drummed on the steering wheel waiting for traffic lights to change when we can see that the way ahead is clear, especially late at night, so getting people to be responsible for their own actions; to use their brains and stop blaming everyone and everything else can only be a good thing.
Red: Acanthus pillarbox, Highbury Park; Holloway Road door; Rotherhithe bridge, Red Lion, Camberwell; Victorian pllarbox.
Amber: Entrance to Alexandra Park; Kentish Town graffiti; Shoreditch garage door; Fulham parish boundary marker; Sweetings kickplate.
Green: Shepherd and Flock, Goldhawk Road; Lock & Co, St James's Street; Kennington gasometer; Store Street shop; greengrocers' Askew Road.

22 February 2010

Capture Kings Cross, a photo treasure hunt

On Saturday 20th February two friends and I took part in a shootexperience treasure hunt in and around the Kings Cross redevelopment zone. There were 70 teams in total.
The idea was to supply one picture for each of six clues to specified locations plus two others that were open to interpretation – 'The camera never lies' and 'Making tracks'.
Prior to taking to the streets we were talked through the process and shown a selection of winning photos from past events to give us some ideas. Then, at the end of the day all the submitted photos were shown as a slide show and winners were awarded prizes. There were some great shots in there but I was disappointed to see that all the portrait format images were shown cropped off at the top and bottom edges.
Shootexperience seem to favour images with props in them (hmmm), so there were a lot of photos of plastic toys positioned in front of the locations. Other images, even some of the winning shots, seemed to me to look more like snaps of creative ideas rather than good, well-composed photographs (especially having noticed some of the heavy kit a lot of people were carting about!). Perhaps this was because there was also a prize for the funniest picture. This kind of thing is so subjective.
Needless to say we didn't win any prizes but we did have a good day out. Below are the pics we took on the day; see them larger on Flickr. All the images taken on the day will be here sometime soon.

17 February 2010

Brick Lane gates

Yet another stupid plan has been hatched... this time erect some gates at either end of Brick Lane apparently designed to echo the shape of a Muslim headscarf.
Oh gawd, no!
The media seems to be worried about which cultures and religious groups are going to be offended or excluded, but I think the real issues are that these modern metal monstrosities are unnecessary, a waste of money (£2million!) and, more to the point, very ugly and unsympathetic to the surroundings!

Pics all from in and around Brick Lane
Top: graffiti; modern coal hole outside school in Brick Lane; Mighty Mo graffiti on the bridge; ghost sign for Bernards/Lewis.
Bottom: old Shoreditch station; Frying Pan pub sign (now an indian restaurant!); ripped posters; Huguenot boot scraper.

12 February 2010

Ghostsigns archive

It's been a busy week for ghost signs. I found some 'new' ones in N17 and Sam and I have been busy checking the proofs for the postcards we have created for the launch of the archive.

9 February 2010

Matt Monro, Born Free, in Shoreditch

Yesterday morning Matt Monro's daughter Michele was on BBC Breakfast talking about the book she has written about her father.
Matt Monro had the most amazing singing voice; apparently Frank Sinatra said of him, “If I had to choose three of the finest male vocalists in the singing business, Matt would be one of them”.
But Sian Williams likened him to Michael Bublé. That'll be Bublé as in bubble; as in full of air.
Silly woman; has she got something wrong with her ears?

Matt was born in Shoreditch in 1930 as Terence Edward Parsons, so here's a Shoreditch montage.

The lion cub isn't in Shoreditch; it's in N4. It's a ref to Born Free.

1 February 2010

Ghost signs of Camden High Street

If you look up above the shops in Camden High Street you can see faded remnants of old signs painted directly onto the bricks between the windows of the upper floors. The classic one is the Boots sign, easily visible on the right as you look south from Camden Town tube station, but take a walk further down the hill and you'll find there are lots more.
The east side of the street, south of Lloyds Bank is particularly rich. Or should that be 'neglected', seeing as the reason these are probably still there is that the southern, Mornington Crescent, end of the street has been ignored over the years in favour of Parkway, the main Camden (Britannia) junction and the markets just to the north.
Boots sign at No.214; No.92's signs have been scrubbed away; No.84's panels remain but have been painted over; No.80... there are some letters still at the top, but I cannot make them out as yet; CS2 Art Shop at No.78 which only closed down about 5 years ago

Dining Rooms at No.40; Plumber at No.32; there just has to have been something on No.26, otherwise why bother to paint two storeys only?; I think it reads Decorator at No.24; No.s 20 and 22 have both also had the brown paint treatment; Makers & Repairers at No.18; very feint panels are all that's left at No.14.

From here turn towards Mornington Crescent station and just above it you can see a fab old advertisement for what appears to be a Jewish Breakfast food. I can't believe that I had never noticed this until last week! Though a friend suggests that the reason may be because the traffic goes in the wrong direction to view it. Sebastien's got some info on it here.
Another interesting building, which now houses Burger King is/was Bowman's department store. All the windows on the front of the building have decorative mosaic panels above them, but the ones on first floor are all individual and show what was in store and even the methods of transportation available. Note the random full points after some of the words.
See all the above Camden High Street pics individually here.
And whilst researching some of this I found some great comparison photos showing how much Camden has changed over years on Tim's myspace blog. I don't know Tim, but thanks Tim!