28 September 2011

Battle of Cable Street 75th Anniversary

It's 75 years since 1936's Battle of Cable Street.
On Sunday 2nd October the occasion will be marked by events centred in and around Wilton's Music Hall, which I have heard, has finally raised sufficient funding to keep going (though that doesn't mean 'job done', so please keep involved).
There will be a market on the day and I will be there with my Amelia Parker clay pipe jewellery, made using fragments of discarded clay pipes dating from as far back as the 16th century, collected along the Thames foreshores close to Cable Street.
Info about the weekend's events here.
See you there!
Some great historical info and archive images from 1936 here.
And some great shots of Dave Binnington's commemorative mural here.

25 September 2011

London Fashion Week

LFW has wafted over my head again. It always does. Every year.
When they show highlights on the news or on daytime magazine programmes I always wonder what the fuss is. It seems to me we are going through the early 1980s resurgence at the moment. Have you seen the poorly made sh1t that's on offer in American Apparel lately, that looks like something even my Nan would have turned her nose up at in 1975?!
But there is nothing new. It's always bemused me why people want to wear (expensive) labels and follow trends Where's the individuality?
A lot of the 'creations' on the catwalks appear badly-made/unfinished, or look to be one piece of draped material held together with pins that only looks right on a person with a body like a silver birch tree. I've made far better things myself(!).
On July 1st this year I went to a free Yohji Yamamoto show at the V&A with Gill. The thing that struck me was how many dowdy women filled the seats. Most of them sat and stared blankly at the model couples who strutted past them in Yamamoto's deconstructed coats. It didn't look to me* as if these women had made any effort to appear fashionable or different or individual or whatever... they seemed to be completely out of touch with fashion, having let it pass them by for decades, and had instead plumped for comfort of the Primark and Gap variety.
*I am dead trendy, me.

22 September 2011

Tom's Tired of London

No, he's not. At least I don't think he is. Especially when he is pedalling about all over London finding things to mention on his site.
Every day Tom posts a suggestion of something to do, see or visit in this fair city. He might be a bit worn out, but he's certainly not jaded.
I can't keep up with him – one day last month Tom and Ian took Boris bikes to Paris and back in a day.
I hear Tom's site is in the process of being turned into a book. Well done Tom. And happy birthday!

20 September 2011

Paralympics tickets... only 5 days left to apply

Tickets for the Paralympic Games are on sale until 26th August.
There are 21 sports and the athletes who compete in them are truly amazing. This, coming from someone who lounged about in her dressing gown drinking endless cups of tea whilst watching The Great North Race on TV last Sunday!
But check out some of these paralympic sports – believe me, I am not making these up – the fastest marathon on Earth, wheelchair rugby, visually impaired javelin throwing and dwarf powerlifting, the latter being dwarves lifting weights, not people lifting dwarves. And wheelchair fencing also sounds rather weird to a pedant like me!
See the Channel 4 site for more info.
Top: Abbey Mills, Chatsworth Rd, Chiswell St, Dalston
Bottom: Leytonstone, Old Street, Shoreditch, London Eye

14 September 2011

Open House Weekend

It really does not seem like 12 months have gone by since I went inside my old butcher shop on the Saturday of Open House 2011.
W. Plumb's shop on Hornsey Road used to be my local butcher shop. One of the butchers in there had even gave me a handful of meat hooks to use on my pan rail when I'd asked him where to buy them (this was pre-Ikea!).
The shop closed for business approx 15 years ago probably through lack of business being as it sits in the middle of a terrace in a no man's land between Holloway, Archway, Crouch End and Finsbury Park, and must have suffered when we got swamped by supermarkets.
Every time I walked past I wondered what had become of the gorgeous ornate Edwardian tiled interior complete with mahogany cashier's booth, etched glass and intricate ironwork.
Then I noticed it in the Open House listing last year and breathed a sigh of relief. The adjoining flat is now owned by a lovely Canadian man who can be trusted to keep the butcher's shop intact and unchanged. He is rightly proud of it:
Almost everything is still there as I remember it. I say 'almost' because the butcher's wooden chopping and carving block has been removed 'for health and safety reasons' (oh gawd) and with it another tiled rural scene which formed part of its base. I took lots of photos. I was happy. I still am.
On the 2nd day of Open House weekend last year I went to a Georgian building near Spitalfields only to discover that the place is used an an art gallery so I could have gone there any day of the week (grr; I should have checked the info and paid attention to what I wrote on here last year!). I stayed for the tour which was really interesting but then had a mad dash to try and catch the last opening minutes of the Drapers Hall. Damn. Got there 5 mins late. Made all the more frustrating by people coming out and telling me how lovely it was in there. I was hoping to go this year but it's not on the list :-(
So, my advice is, plan ahead. Check that the buildings are open specially for the weekend only and make a map/gameplan. Be prepared to queue. And be prepared to be disappointed if you don't get in to your chosen buildings.
There's always next year... start planning now as some places are advance booking/tickets only. It's like applying for Olympics tickets, only better because it's free and you'll get a good view.

12 September 2011

The London Transport Museum

I finally managed to get to the London Transport Museum last month.
For years I have had it on my list of places to visit*. How on earth I have left it as long as this is beyond me.
Last year someone contacted me through this site and sent me a complimentary 'admits two' ticket. I now cannot recall who that was, so if it was you, please do get in touch.
I stuck the ticket on the pinboard and kept saying I would "go next week". I recently noticed the expiry date on the ticket read '31st August 2011' ... there's nothing like deadline to make me get my arse into gear!
So I called Mr Edwards and, knowing he likes shiny things and transport, asked him to be my plus one.
All I can say is we should have gone in earlier because we ran out of time. There is so much to see... old tube trains, buses, trams to compare with a prototype of the new Routemaster (not really sure what I think of that until I see it in action), plus lots of info everywhere including a looking-to-the-future section where there are some truly bizarre ideas. I loved all the posters and leaflets and timetables especially from the first half of last century and could have spent a day alone just looking at those.
And it's a really great museum for children. Many of them had cards that they could 'punch' in the special machines dotted around the museum. My inner child was envious that I didn't have one of my own, so when I found one on the floor my afternoon was complete.
Thanks to Malcolm for the photos.
*The Imperial War Museum is still on that list, as is Dulwich Picture Gallery and Chiswick House and they are just the first 3 that pop into my head... oh dear, what a terrible admission!

8 September 2011

The Mayor's Thames Festival this weekend

Be there!
A colourful and lively weekend packed with FREE things to do and see.
I will be there at my Amelia Parker stall selling what Malcolm refers to as "probably the only Thames-related items that you will find in the entire market".
More info here and here.

6 September 2011

Trees for Cities

On Saturday September 17th Battersea Park will be hosting a Tree-Athon, the aim of the event being to raise funds to buy and plant more trees in London and other cities worldwide.
There will be a 5k run and a barefoot 100m race, by which I assume they mean metres and not miles. There will also be tree planting and face painting, jugglers, street art (in the park!), music and all sort of outdoors-eventy stuff.
Sign up, join in, and find out more at www.treesforcities.org
Top: Harlseden, Holloway, Greewich x2
Middle: Limehouse, Berkeley Square, Brixton, Vauxhall
Bottom: Holloway x4

3 September 2011

London Buildings – An Architectural Tour

You've seen the plates, now look at the book.
And see how lovely it is!
The book covers a range of London buildings and architectural styles, including Barbican, Battersea Power Station and Sir Christopher Wren’s 1675 Greenwich Royal Observatory. Also are included are 20th century masterpieces such as the Isokon Building, Trellick Tower and the Royal National Theatre.
I like it a lot; the line drawings, the illustration, the design and layout, plus it's square (I love square format!) and the colours are gorgeous and so well chosen.
Thanks to Anova Books for sending it to me.
More info on how to get your copy of the book at People Will Always Need Plates (which isn't really true is it?!).