I decided it was time to post some of the random photos I have taken out and about on my mobile phone. These are all from London over the last year.
Living fairly close to Euston station, and having known it for the last few decades as my gateway to London from my home in the midlands, it’s history fascinates me. The unlovely functionalist 1960s station is practical and large, it serves its function well, but it’s not got the romance, history or stories of other London stations. The Times art columnist said
“It gives the impression of having been scribbled on the back of a soiled paper bag by a thuggish android with a grudge against humanity and a vampiric loathing of sunlight. And the fact that it replaced a much-loved old station, wiping out the Classical portico of the Euston Arch, only compounds its offensiveness.”
Which is why I was fascinated to read that the Doric arch, or what remains of it (or most of it that didn’t end up forming a rockery in the back garden of the guy that demolished it), is being recovered from it’s subsequent resting place, thanks to the London Olympics.
Developing Prescott Lock to enable construction materials to be transported to and from the Olympic site in a more sustainable way than dirty road lorries has meant that the remains of the arch, which since 1962 have been basically blocking a hole in the tidal riverbed, are finally being recovered. More on the story here, here and here.
Although I am a town planner, I don’t have a strong conservationist streak. But the story of Euston, and the threatened near-by St Pancras, make you realise what a sense of pride and sense of place architectural history can give you. After one of the most shocking pieces of architectural vandalism it’s now hoped that the arch can be reconstructed, not in it’s original place (somewhere near Platform 8, apparently) but perhaps in the redevelopment of Euston station (possibly looking like the image below), or elsewhere. Even if you cannot stop progress, meeting the needs of future generations, and the ability to integrate architectural history into developing places, is an important challenge we need to grasp.
Well last night’s Eurovision party was great fun. Noway, represented by Alexander Rybak (born in Minsk, don’t you know) were a well deserved winner (pic below). Any guy that can Fiddle with himself on stage should get full makrs in my opinion. Also worthy of a mention was the UK, Sweden (whose operatic act was accompatied by six dancing Karen Walkers), Armenia and those Balkan Girls (who came an undeservedly low 19th).
I often leave the theatre and rave about how much I enjoyed what I saw. Usually quirky, odd fringe theatre where you’re sitting thirty centimetres from the action. But tonight I went all out to the West End to watch the musical Spring Awakening. Based on a German play written almost 120 years ago it’s the story of coming of age, sexual awakening and the turmoil of youth.
…and I left raving and amazed at how incredible the musical was.
The amazing combination of fascinating storyline, overtly sexual story, beautiful quirky design and fantastic acting (together with great tunes) left me speechless. I’d laughed, I’d cried and felt the whole range of emotions you could feel while sat in the stalls. It reminded me of Rent in it’s rock musical and emotionally-driven style.
Sadly, it’s closing early at the end of May. I do not think it’s an understatement to say that (although I knew before I went, but after I bought my tickets) I am shocked that such a great show would close so early. I would urge everyone to see it in the last two weeks. If you want to read a review from my friend, who is far better at reviewing these things than I am, click here.
The last week hasn’t been a good one for British politicians. The expense scandal, whether claiming for bath plugs and feather dusters, second homes, moat clearing, swimming pools or porn, the Daily Telegraph has been ‘exposing’ the lies and bullsh*t of politicians claiming expenses within, or beyond, creating plenty of public anger.
Not a good week for politicians, especially when the European and local elections are coming up in June. Norman Tebbit even advised the public to protest by not voting for the big parties in the European elections.
Which is why I was interested to see the juxtaposition of a poster saying “make sure nothing stops you voting” with two posters for a mobile phone company in Camden Town station pronouncing simply BULL and LIES.
Of course, one of the biggest risks of the expenses story is disillusionment with politicians in general, politicians of all parties, and voter apathy caused by lies and bull. But voting is an essential way of exercising you democratic right – so maybe we shouldn’t let lies, bull, or anything else, stop us doing so on Thursday 4 June.
The joys of moving house and the BT/Orange combination in setting up internet, then a ten day trip to Vancouver have meant it’s been a while since I last posted. I will try to post over the next few days and weeks.