30 November 2011
The main stretch of Holloway Road's Nags Head shopping area will be closed to traffic this Sunday when Islington's Christmas extravanganza comes to town.
From 11.30am on Sunday 4th December the street will be taken over by sideshows, music, entertainment, a hog roast, mulled wine, and food and craft stalls which will include locally-produced Amelia Parker clay pipe jewellery. Oh, and Santa's reindeer will be there too!
Click here for a video of last year's event.
More craft shopping opportunities at Chapel Market, Angel, on 10th and 17th December.
29 November 2011
I was just thinking the other day that I haven't seen any 'new' bootscrapers for a while; just the same designs repeated over and over. I walk about mentally saying, 'got that one, got that one' (how sad!).
But then I had to go for a super-dooper 3D dental Xray doobrey in Devonshire Place yesterday and spotted lots of lovely bits of ironwork along the street. I am sure there are plenty more – time was of the essence and I only had my Blackberry with me and so couldn't take decent pics and I only walked the stretch from Devonshire Street to Wigmore Street so there must be plenty more to see. I must make a return visit.
Below are my finds which also include a coal hole cover plate with a name I haven't seen before, a pretty doorway mosaic, and a strange wall-mounted hook thing with a hole at one end where something must have been fixed to it at some point– any ideas what this item was used for?
24 November 2011
On the corner of Mount Row and Chandos Place, opposite where there used to be an 18th century workhouse, sits the wonderful Connaught Hotel.
I've never been the kind of person who has the money and inclination for prestigious expensive hotels, preferring low budget rooms with a good bed and shower (after all I will be out all day tramping the streets with my camera, meeting people and seeing the city, not lounging about in my room), but the Connaught could change my mind. Hmmmm, now all I need is the means.... If I did have money to burn I think I'd stay there a few times so that I could try out all the different types of rooms.
Most hotels are having to constantly revamp their suites to keep up with all the high tech nonsense we all seem to need these days yet, unlike other hotels I have visited, The Connaught has managed to achieve this without loss of style or elegance. In addition to this, the communal areas are wonderful; the staircases, carpets and floors, and the two little lifts, one dark purple and the other dark green... it's like stepping into a film set.
The ground floor is given over to some top quality bars and restaurants; and they are really good. I had some lovely canapés and martinis (and champagne too!) in the award-winning Connaught Bar but had no time to stay longer to sample the restaurant. If anyone wants to take me to Hélène Darroze at the Connaught any time, my response is 'yes please!'.
Oh, and there's spa in there somewhere. I wasn't interested in checking that out as I'm not really into spas, but I hear their Aman spa is good. What is with hotels and spas? Isn't the great big bath in the room enough?! I do like the idea of outdoor spas of old though; taking the waters and all that. I've never said or written 'spa' so many times. Spa spa spa.
Finally, situated on the pavement outside the main entrance to the hotel is the marvellous and bizarre Tadao Ando water installation, which I have yet to see in action. I have heard it looks great after dark when it's all lit up and the steam is in action.
20 November 2011
Yesterday someone said they liked my my Spitalfields photo mosaic (see previous post) and asked me if I was selling prints. It had indeed crossed my mind to print this particular one at a decent size and hang it on my stall at Spitalfields market, but what with one thing and another I have been too busy to promote the idea of prints-for-sale properly.
So, to confirm, all of my montages are available as prints. I am also in the process of re-configuring some into portrait format (3 squares wide x 4 squares tall) and will also be printing some of them as greeting cards.
A limited stock of my Christmas cards are still available – 'The 12 London Pubs of Christmas' and 'Clay Pipe Tree'.
17 November 2011
Old Spitalfields Market is now open on Saturdays from 19th November with the usual mix of stalls, similar to their Sunday market.
This Saturday 19th, and every third Saturday of the month, 70 designers/makers will also be there selling all sorts of contemporary hand-made and one-off items.
It's a great place to find those special Christmas presents.
15 November 2011
There is a lot of fuss lately about how the renovation of a newsagent in Soho's Dean Street.
Am I the only one who thinks this was a bad idea?
I was walking past it on Saturday 5th and stopped dead in my tracks, horrified at how it is now a pastiche of its former self.
As shown right, for years it had faded flaky paint. It was old, and it looked old. You could clearly see that. But now the paint has been stripped off back to the wood – a process that the Georgians certainly couldn't be bothered with – and what we have now is an impression of how the shop might have looked on the day it first opened for business.
I agree the windows look better now they have been painted to match the shop (though they could have been even better if they had been replaced with smaller panes) but all the signs needed was a coating of clear varnish. Gone are the layers of history that gave its charm. Can you imagine the uproar if Berry Brothers & Rudd on St James's Street did the same thing and removed its thick dark green paint? There'd be an outrage!
Also in Soho, not far from Dean St, between Ed's Diner and The Spice of Life, I notice another Georgian(?) shop has been reclaimed. At the moment it is stripped down the wood. I will be watching to see what happens.
This cleaned-up, pretend history brings to mind two horribly retouched wall advertisements in Covent Garden (here and here). I am all for preserving history but what is the point of retouching a defunct sign? Why not just leave it as is? As a reminder.
All this revamping and reclaiming London's history actually contradicts the rape of St Giles by plastics and Westminster's plans to renovate a section of the east side of Charing Cross Road that contains Gaby's. But more about that in a future post.
14 November 2011
The wonderful William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow is closed whilst renovations and refurbishment take place. However, a lot of the exhibits can be viewed at one of London's hidden architectural gems at 2 Temple Place, owned and managed by The Bulldog Trust.
This exhibition is the first of a series of shows at this lovely building aimed at showcasing the UK's publically-owned art. It runs until 29th January 2012.
10 November 2011
This Saturday 12th sees the first of four designer craft markets leading up to Christmas.
Amelia Parker will be there along with plenty of other specialist stalls selling all sorts of hand-made goods. More info here.
See you there, at the Penton Street end of Chapel Market, Islington, N1.
The next dates are 26th November, 10th & 17th December.
Chapel Market pics:
6 November 2011
Mr Edwards tells me that the zebra crossing recently turned 60.
This type of crossing is an endangered species – because there aren't as many as there used to be; more than 1,000 having been removed in the last five years and replaced mainly by pelican/pedestrian crossings because people need lights to tell them when to stop and start or cross the road. Who needs eyes and a brain eh?!
Here's an article on the subject that appeared in the Metro on 31st October.
And here are some of my photos of black and white stripey things:
Bottom: Greek Street, St Mary Axe, Tooley Street, Acton
3 November 2011
A new market opens at Brewer Street's NCP car park today running every week from Thursday to Saturday from 11am.
On the forecourt and within the first floor you will find stalls selling designer-handmade clothing and accessories, art, food, vintage, fashion and much more.
Amelia Parker will be there on Saturday.
More info about the market here, including how to apply for a stall yourself .
Brewer Street, Soho:
2 November 2011
It's Movember again.
Movember is the month for growing a moustache.
Start the month clean shaven and see what you can achieve.