A simple solution to save lives on London’s roads

18 April 2011

This post on the Guardian’s bike blog is a sad reminder of how a simple solution that can save lives is still to be implemented.

At 3:15pm on a pleasant and clear 5 April, at the junction of Camden Road and St Pancras Way in Camden, 20-year-old London Metropolitan University student Paula Jurek was first knocked down and then crushed by an articulated lorry. Her injuries were so severe that her life could not be saved even by the doctors who rushed to the scene from a practice 100 yards away.

Critically, accidents such as these can easily be prevented by an almost insultingly cheap and simple invention. The Trixi Mirror.

Please, read it and sign the petition.


Favourite stretches of road in London #1

9 April 2011

I especially like the double yellow lines. You’re not allowed to park on any side of this road.


Photoblog: King’s Cross, the other side

29 April 2010

Last weekend I visited some of the King’s Cross Reveal Festival. I didn’t have many chances to take photos but I thought I should blog some of my photos: the other side of King’s Cross.

Camley Street Natural Park is one of the most unusual and unexpected finds in London. A miniature wildlife oasis in the heart of one of London’s largest regeneration projects – an area historically associated with deprivation and prostitution that it now London’s gateway to Europe. The famous King’s Cross gasholders – a landmark in their own right with a history and a future – remain a part of the area’s landscape. And London’s famous Brunswick Centre


It’s so good…

23 April 2010

…to finally have the internet again after moving flat. I always remembered Internet being the thing that took a while to sort out – getting the phone line, then getting our ISP to finally connect up. But I’d never moved into a new flat as a brand new homeowner before – I’d forgotten about the things you need the internet to buy!I’m looking forward – this weekend – to finally getting online to order those last few bits of furniture – a sofa, a wardrobe and bathroom storage – that’ll mean the flat can finally get sorted!

But since the internet is now connected I’ve rather enjoyed browsing a number of tunes on youtube… here’s some of my current faves:


Stuff!

1 April 2010

I’m moving flat. I last moved flat just a year ago, although I’ve lived in different parts of Camden Town for years.

Yesterday I got a set of keys that kinda scared me. Keys to my own flat – well, a flat that I own 25% of. You think I could afford my own flat in NW1?! Pah!

It’s taken three days to pack so far. And I’m about 80% done (just those fiddly little bits left, very annoying!). The more I think about the packing the more I realise just how much stuff we accumulate. I mean, is this what life is? Belongings? Earn the money, buy things – big things, little things.

I must have given hundreds of pounds worth of CDs and VHS Videos to a charity shop. I must have thrown so many things I’ve spent money I have earned on away. And what for? Why did I own them in the first place?

I guess that owning ‘stuff’ is more tangible than spending money on things like holidays, food or experiences. But Is it not still a waste? Am I to blame or is it the consumerist society?

Perhaps moving to my new flat which is – necessarily – smaller (so I can afford it!) means I’ll have to re-evaluate my life of ‘stuff’ and make my life a one of meaning, of emotions, of ‘things’ that mean something – tangible, or intangible.


Camden sky scene

18 November 2009

This morning’s sky over Camden Town looked wonderfully dramatic as I left home this morning.


Camden Town, Goodbye London

10 November 2009

I’ve lived in and around Camden Town for about eight years now. I’m not a born and bred Londoner, but I’m certainly a Camdenite. It feels like my part of London. Who knows what it is, the grit and grime (like East Berlin perhaps), music, culture, excitement, the fact that it’s a transient tourist trap but after quite a while here there are people I know, see in the street, recognise (the short lady who wanders around with her trolley full of bags all day then boards the 253 bus north/east late at night)…

I saw a video for Goodbye London today and being quite substantially based in and around Camden Town I thought it was a brilliant tour around my part (and other parts) of London. Here’s some bumf from DigitalUrban:

Babelgum Metropolis is looking for the globe’s best and edgiest artists for what is being termed’the world’s biggest art show’. Winners will have their work shown on giant advertising screens this December in Times Square, the neon heart of New York City. Out of the notable nominees is Luke Jackson’s Goodbye London video, directed by Murray John. The video features a mix of stop motion photography and drawn 2-D animation using After Effects. Having just moved to the heart of Camden Town ourselves we really like the video, in fact we love it.

And what better time than to also show you a quirky sight I walk past in Camden each day. Introducing Electrocute:

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European Election Day

4 June 2009

This morning I left home and went to work via my local polling station
in order to vote in the European elections. There are no local elections
this year. I hadn’t had a single European focused leaflet through the
door from any of the main parties. The Lib Dems sent something but it
was only focused on them cutting council tax: perhaps they forgot that
it’s European and not local elections here.

I did get leaflets from the greens, christians, socialists, christians
and an independent. The first leaflet I got, however, was from the BNP.
Now I cannot go into the detail of who I voted for, or why, but I did
change the habit of my voting life.

Of course people have rather varied feelings about the European
parliament, but one thing is clear: there are things we need to work
together on. We live in a globalised world with global problems and
often tense relationships, we cannot always stand alone. Tomorrow, it
seems to have been forgotten in the UK, is World Environment Day:
there’s a great example of where we need to work together and, if we are
to get anywhere in tackling climate change, it perhaps cannot always be
by voluntary global discourse. And, we shouldn’t forget, it is only 60
years ago that the second world war started in Europe. As my old German
friend’s father used to say, if we’re talking at least we’re not
fighting.

Importantly, I did vote, and urge everyone who can to do so, regardless
of who for. Apathy is, although arguably more understandable than normal
right now, one of the biggest risks to democracy. Even if you cannot
stand to vote for anyone it’s better to go to the polling station and
spoil your paper to register disapproval over apathy.


The things you see…

26 May 2009

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.

Sunset from Hungerford Bridge

Sunset from Hungerford Bridge

Dinner on Southwark Bridge

Dinner on Southwark Bridge

"Fake Club"

Fake Club

Giraffe on wheels, St Pancras/Camden Town

Giraffe on wheels, St Pancras/Camden Town

Police art

Police art

"Underground" car park?

Underground car park?

Religious followers

Religious followers

Rooftop religion in King's Cross

Rooftop religion in King's Cross

"Wait here, I have gone to get help" in neon

Wait here, I have gone to get help in neon


Recovering Doric

19 May 2009

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.


Bull! Lies!

13 May 2009

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.

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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.


Moving

26 March 2009

I hate packing. I hate packing for holidays – I can never decide what to take. I especially hate packing to move home – which is what I am doing right now (well, when I get some more boxes it will be). And moving house will mean lack of internet, for a short while, until I manage to get the new place hooked up. But, hey, I’m moving to a much better flat 🙂 The big haul starts tomorrow.


Saturday Afternoon, South Camden (PhotoBlog)

21 February 2009

After the fun and enjoyment of a Shoreditchy night out at Kill Your Pets and Trailertrash I needed a more relaxed Saturday. This involved wandering around the southern end of Camden Town, mostly, after a strong coffee at the Market (so strong the spoon stood up in it: see the picture).

Strong Coffee
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Chester Terrace. I like the attention to detail – there’s a full stop after the word Terrace
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At Regent’s Park Estate
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Different architectural styles at the Regent’s Park Estate
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New housing development on the edge of Regent’s Park Estate
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London Snow Blog: My Snowday in Pictures

2 February 2009

Well, I say snow day – I actually went to work. So did the people at the Guardian (apparently) who have brought us SNOW BLOG LIVE (really) all day long… including useful advice, such as how to walk in snow (like a penguin in case you wondered)

Here’s my day in photos, more here:

Camden Town, morning, 2nd Feb

Millbank, Pimlico and Westminster in the distance

Green Park

Camden and St Pancras, afternoon


London Snow Blog: Snowman on Millbank

2 February 2009

Following Snow Blogs last night and this morning and the snow hysteria in the city I made my way into work this morning. At lunchtime I had to venture across Millbank to get lunch where this quite impressive snowman watched me slip-sliding along the pavement to get something warm to aet. I’ve never seen snow this thick in London before, just a few minute away from the Palace of Westminster and right next to the Thames…

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