Friday, 21 September 2007

Day Sixty-Four - Cardinal Walk, SW1

Why anyone would choose to drink inside or outside a Ha!Ha! Bar in the middle of a shopping centre which at the best of times is a wind tunnel, paying £3.50 for a Magners or Kronenbourg Blanc, when there's tons of decent pubs in the area, is beyond me. But the Friday night suit crowd don't really care where they are, as long as Debbie from accounts is with them and they can get her drunk. And Debbie doesn't like pubs where you can't get cocktails.

(sorry for the blurriness - I promise I was sober when I took this! I appear to have accidentally deleted the sharper version when I came home from a couple of bottles of Herold Black and a pint of something else in, erm, The Postal Order)

On the discman today: AM - Shellac BBC live session 1 December 2004 PM - Art Zoyd Musique Pour L'Odyssee

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Day Sixty-Two - Herbrand Street, WC1

Great 1930s building now home to McCann Erickson, an ad agency. Taken at 8.25am as I hurried to the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury, where I was co-facilitating an event. Must be the earliest I've been in Central London for quite a while.

On the discman today: AM - Wizzard Wizzard Brew PM - Jefferson Airplane After Bathing At Baxter's

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Day Sixty-One - Mowbray Road, SE19

Oops. I'm no expert bricklayer but I'm sure a wall shouldn't break up like that, even if a car does hit it.

Rare sighting of a LB Croydon recycling bin too.

On the discman today: AM and PM - Soft Machine Peel Sessions

Monday, 17 September 2007

Day Sixty - Snowsfields, SE1

Impromptu drinking with Will tonight. The first pub we went to was so quiet we couldn't even find someone to serve us, so we headed off into streets unknown, ending up in The Britannia on Kipling Street and The Royal Oak on Tabard Street, both fine pubs.

This was on the side of a building that was originally a mission, then a school for poor children, and then came into the hands of The Shaftesbury Society. Now it hosts Dinwiddie MacLaren architects. The changing face of Bermondsey...

On the discman today: AM - Mark Wastell Come Crimson Rays PM - Daniel Menche / Kevin Drumm Gauntlet

Friday, 14 September 2007

Day Fifty-Nine - Crystal Palace Station, SE19

In a week where the EU has given up on making the UK go fully metric I noticed this sign on the wall of Platform 2 of Crystal Palace Station that tell us that the station is 8 miles and 52 chains from the Victoria terminus.

I'd be quite happy if the UK went totally metric - the reason it's not worked here is that it was done in a half-arsed fashion. One of Thatcher's greatest mistakes (and there were so many) was to abolish the Metrication Board in 1980 to save costs. This meant that food continued to be sold in pounds and ounces, liquids to be sold in fluid ounces, pints and gallons, and distance to be measured in yards and miles all through the seventies and eighties, when my generation was at school being taught nothing but kilograms, litres and kilometres. The pick and mix approach causes all sorts of confusion - to this day I have no idea what it means when I'm told my weight in kilos. Is 90kg ok for a man who is, erm, 6 feet tall? Hang on, let me convert that into metres, that conversion I pretty much understand.

I think the supposed inflation of decimalisation counted against further metrication here - my mum still goes on about how old ladies were diddled out of their pension by unscrupulous greengrocers during the early months of 1971. But (if you'll excuse the metaphor) it's apples and oranges - standardising our measurements of distance with the rest of the world (except the yanks, and they can please themselves) won't affect the pound in your purse. And we buy petrol in litres now...

They made a much better fist of it in the Commonwealth, going fully metric by 1980. How well this was done is shown by how Louise, seventies Sydney born and bred, didn't (and still doesn't really) understand pounds, stone or yards when she moved over here. She picked up what a pint was very quickly, but that's a different issue.

Oh, and if you were wondering, 52 chains is 520 links, or 208 rods, poles, or perches, or 1144 yards - the length of 52 cricket pitches laid end-to-end. I'm glad that's cleared up.

On the discman today: AM - This Heat Deceit PM - This Heat Made Available

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Day Fifty-Eight - Just outside Victoria Station, SW1

Sun explodes through the window.

On the discman today: AM and PM - Various Ocean of Sound (Disc 2)

Monday, 10 September 2007

Day Fifty-Seven - Just Outside Balham Station, SW12

I wasn't quick enough to catch the train that was actually being cleaned (too wrapped up in the morning music, a classic avant-prog disc from Belgium), but here's proof that those odd things you see by the side of the track are actually used occasionally.

On the discman today: AM - Aksak Maboul Un Peu de L'Ame des Bandits PM - Jacques Lejeune Blanche Neige - suite musicale en 14 tableaux de jacques lejeune pour dire le conte et danser avec les enfants

Friday, 7 September 2007

Day Fifty-Six - Belvedere Road, SE19

Just a slight diversion on the way home so I could go to Sainsbury's.

This house on Belvedere Road was reputedly built for a retired admiral, which explains the porthole-styled windows up top but I think he was being a bit hopeful if he thought he'd see the sea from here.

Of course today it's been converted into flats. Wonder how the top floor one works.

On the discman today: AM - Slapp Happy Casablanca Moon and most of Slapp Happy/Henry Cow Desperate Straights as the train was so delayed PM - finished off the Happy Cow and then King Crimson The Beat Club Bremen 1972

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Day Fifty-Five - Hamlet Road, SE19

I was very confused this morning - had Mr Brown called a snap general election and I'd missed it?

Turns out (my new favourite phrase) that there's a council by-election in the Crystal Palace Ward of the London Borough of Bromley. Because of the weird local government topography of London, five different boroughs - Bromley, Croydon, Southwark, Lambeth and Lewisham - meet at what used to be a tree at the top of Anerley Hill, right at the heart of Crystal Palace/Upper Norwood. This means that the area is (a) divided between five different authorities, so there's no joined-up policy for the place, and (b) it's at the borders of all of them, so none of them pay it much attention anyway. And that although I live in the London Borough of Croydon, the station - which is ten minutes' walk away - is in Bromley. Which is why (a) I knew nothing about the by-election, and (b) I was so confused this morning.

On the discman today: AM - Jazkamer Balls the Size of Texas, Liver the Size of Brazil PM - Philip Jeck Stoke

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Day Fifty-Four - Blackfriars Road, SE1

Waiting for Will Of Pub Guide fame outside Southwark tube station this evening - we were off drinking, just for a change - I caught this chap trotting for his bus. He caught it, you'll be pleased to know.

I was more interested in the old sign behind him, which is underneath the railway line from London Bridge to Waterloo East. On the other side it says "Blackfriars Station", which is very confusing as Blackfriars Station is on the other side of the river. Turns out that the original Blackfriars Station was actually here from 1864 to 1885 - part of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway. Confusingly, there never seems to have been a "Charing Cross Railway" as such - the nearest to that name was Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway, a forerunner of the Northern Line tube which goes nearby but which never had a Blackfriars Station (and the CC, E&H Railway never went south of the river anyway).

Well. Never before has waiting for Will led to such a revelation - and such a mystery.

On the discman today: AM -Various Artifacts of Australian Experimental Music 1930-1973 PM - Werner Dafeldecker / Michael Moser / Burkhard Stangl Markknochen Wälzt Eisscholle

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Day Fifty-Three - Strand, WC2

No tubes from Strand station today, but that's not because of the strike - it's because it has been closed since 1994 (not to mention not having been called "Strand" since 1917). Given it's weird appendix-like relation to the Piccadilly Line I'm surprised it stayed open as long as it did - trains seemed to serve it about once a fortnight and by the time you'd gone down in the lift and waited an age you might as well have walked up Kingsway to Holborn.

I was walking up The Strand this morning as I was on my way to a meeting in the Gothic labyrinth that is the Royal Courts of Justice. In our meeting room I found a sign which summed up the place so well I had to take a picture (expressly forbidden by the security guard who frisked me) and you can see it here.

On the discman today: AM - Art Bears Live At The RIO Festival, Milan, 1 May 1979 PM - Werner Dafeldecker and Boris D Hegenbart Eis 9

Monday, 3 September 2007

Day Fifty-Two - Crystal Palace Station, SE19

Looks like they're starting the tube link then...

On the discman today: AM - Jack Bruce Things We Like (ugh) PM - Tony Oxley 4 Compositions For Sextet