24 March 2011

Time Out – a magazine about London?

I've been reading Time Out for decades and get it delivered every week. I use it mostly for its art, exhibitions and films listings, plus the TV guide.
I used to love Peter Watts' 'Big Smoke' section which was all about the quirkier and murkier and hidden things about London, but the bosses at TO decided to ditch all that and have since turned the it into a consumer magazine. It's all shops and food now. The only good thing I can think of that they have introduced in recent times are the section tabs at the edges of the pages.
But my main gripe is when the editorial pages are full of stuff that is not really about London.
A few years back they printed a short letter I wrote to them; as I recall it read something like this, "What are articles about Florida and face creams doing in a London listings magazine?".
Last week it was all about sex (again)... you can get that anywhere! This week it's all about Paris. And this is the letter I have sent them about it (sorry in advance for the swearing):
Again... you've done it again...
How would you feel if you were from Paris and you came London for the week and bought Time Out London only to find it full of (probably) ill-informed crap about your home city?
Ten pages about Paris, yes ten – count them – plus 2 whole page ads. Then, phew, back to normal... oh no, hold on, I spoke too soon... six pages on we're back in Paris again for the shopping section.
What the fucking fuck are you playing at?!

And here are some pictures where you will find Paris in London:
Top: Hammersmith (RIP), Leicester Sq (RIP), St Martin's Lane (RIP), Parsons Green
Middle: Highgate (RIP), Bloomsbury, Bibendum, Hampstead
Bottom: Lisson Grove, Borough, Bloomsbury, Holloway

22 March 2011

James Watt's 'magical retreat' at the Science Museum

This morning I went along to the Science Museum for the Press Launch of "James Watt and our world".
Adam Hart-Davis left his toilet obsessions at home and gave a short speech about the exhibition. Boy, that man's colourful – instead of sporting multi-coloured cycling gear he was wearing a natty green corduroy suit with a bow tie and odd matching shoes.
But I digress... this is not meant to about Mr A H-D; it's about James Watt, an amazingly talented and clever man who is known as the first hero of the Industrial Revolution. Talk about prolific! The list of his achievements is too long for me even start here, so go google. Or better still, go to the museum and see the exhibition for yourself.
On show again after a long absence, is Watt's attic workshop – a time capsule that contains everything as he left it when he died in 1819. I was lucky to be able to go behind the curved glass wall and see up-close some of his possessions, tools and furniture, all complete with nineteenth century dust! Wonderful.
And the rest of the Science Museum is wonderful too... cars, space travel, plastics, metals, machines, buttons to press, and one of the best gift shops ever...

15 March 2011

I've got a kazoo and I'm not afraid to use it

Last night I went to the Royal Albert Hall to watch the recording of Radio 3's Big Red Nose Show which will be aired this Friday eve from 7pm as part of Comic Relief. It was really good.
Everyone was given a red kazoo on the way in. I'd never played (if that's the right word) one before and, at first, I was convinced that the thing didn't work. But there's a knack to it that doesn't involve blowing. Led by the Masters of the Kazooniverse, almost 4,000 of us took part in a Guinness World Record -breaking attempt to get the most people playing a kazoo for five minutes. We had two goes at it; first to Flight of the Valkyries and then to The Dambusters theme. What a row! The players were counted and adjudicated and all that. Find out on Friday if we broke the record.
It was a good night all round. Presented by Katie Derham and Basil Brush (a hand-puppet on radio, boom-boom!), we were treated to some really lovely classical music especially from Nicole Bendetti, and Sue Perkins conducting pieces by Elgar and Bernstein. Plus genius comedy from Tim Vine and not-so-genius stuff from Marcus Brigstocke (he'd agree!).
Top: Royal Albert Hall, Pimlico, Walthamstow, Highbury
Middle: Covent Garden Camberwell, Holloway, Edmonton
Bottom: Hammersmith, Dalston, Highbury, EC4

10 March 2011

Burlesque in Brick Lane

I decided on the way home that I wasn't going to bother writing about this. But then I noticed the artist whose work is on show there is called Greg Holloway, and I live in Holloway and one of the lovely PR girls there this eve is doing a course at the Royal Holloway University, and I thought, ooh coincidences, so here goes.
Tom and I got to the Brickhouse in Brick Lane and were told we were gonna get a short preview of the show at 7.30pm. That never happened. So we had a couple of glasses of wine and went to look at the art. A rude waitress asked us to move out of her way. We weren't in her way at all. Then we tried some of the crudites that were offered to us. You should pronounce that 'CRUD-ites' as I have never tasted such dry, tasteless rubbish, even the morning after a bad party. Truly awful. And this was supposed to be a PR exercise!
Some barely-clothed girls came on stage and waved their arms around a bit. Then a tattooed female did a bit of stand up. We left. It wasn't really my kind of thing. Or perhaps it might have been if it all hadn't seemed so half-hearted and mediocre.
Burlesque... hmmm... not getting enough attention at home love? Art? Performance? Really?

7 March 2011

Women at Spitalfields Market

This Saturday 12th March I'll be at Spitalfields where I'll have a stall selling my clay pipe jewellery. Please do come down and say hello. There'll be lots of other things going on in addition to the market including live music, workshops, food and entertainment. It's all part of International Women's Fair following up on the centenary of International Women's Day.
And tomorrow, also at Spitalfields, though in the old market is the Women of the World Arts Fair.
Spitalfields, and the area around it, is a fasciniating area of London with a rich and varied history as these images show.