diamond geezer

 Sunday, September 11, 2011

I can't go out at the weekend without thinking "ooh, I wonder if I can get six paragraphs out of this".

I went to Stratford. It's a bit of a mess at the moment, what with Westfield nearly open and the bus station closed. The driver of the 425 bus I took was a bit of a maniac. He got angry with a blue Volkswagen who tried to cut in front of him on Stratford High Street, so sought revenge by overtaking and then trapping the offender behind another bus. Then, in a completely separate bout of annoyance, he slowed down for a couple of minutes and crawled into town at a snail's pace. Incidentally, that online bus Countdown system I was enthusing about last week, they appear to have changed things a bit. Previously you'd see all the buses due for up to 30 minutes, and now you're lucky if you see anything over 10. I suspect TfL are trying to protect us from potentially inaccurate predictions of the future, but it feels like dumbed-down nannying to me. I certainly wouldn't have said anything so obsequiously crass as "it's a game-changer for public transport access in London" if this was the version I'd seen last weekend. Hopefully the lack of extended information is temporary, but I fear not.

I went on the new DLR extension. It's still rather quiet, Abbey Road especially so. Never mind, TfL have responded by significantly increasing the number of trains to Stratford International next week. Off-peak from Tuesday all the trains from Woolwich Arsenal will head to Stratford, not Bank, and the frequency of the service will be increased to one train every five minutes. They claim this shift is needed because Westfield will drive up passenger numbers, but I can't imagine any shopping rush requiring such a major diversion. No, this sounds very much like the DLR testing out their Olympic timetable, undercover, to check that it works. It's only for a week, for now, but expect this to be the Stratford-friendly network pattern next summer.

I walked the length of the Thames Festival. It took a couple of hours, partly because there was lots to see but mostly because the South Bank was choked with people. My favourite part's always down by City Hall and Tower Bridge, where the Blue Ribbon Village brings together rivery-environmental groups and participatory events. There's a bit more space to circulate here, and a slightly worthier feel than the food & craft emphasis along the remainder of the waterside. Indeed, once you've decided which ethnic dish-in-a-tray to eat for lunch, half the stalls suddenly become redundant. Whereas the Thames Festival under Ken would have had several public service elements present, under Boris it's much more of a commercial free-for-all. Never mind, there were thousands out enjoying their promenade, and only a few of them scattered when a shower of rain unexpectedly descended. It's on again today, if you're interested, rounding off with a grand firework display (so long as the wind's not too strong). And then it'll be taking place on the same weekend next year, as a grand finale to London's Games summer.

I popped into Tate Modern. I was walking past, and I realised I don't go inside often enough, so in I went. The Turbine Hall's empty at the moment, apart from several stacks of white blocks and some timber which will eventually form part of Tacita Dean's grand Unilever Series commission. I'll have to come back in a month to see that for real. Upstairs the galleries seem to have had a major reshuffle, at least since I was last here (which was ages ago). Now they all have highbrow themes, such as "Material Gestures" or "Energy and Process", and I was unduly bored by their contents. Have the curators archived all the good stuff, and rehung the walls with splattered paint and tedium, or have I become artistically less tolerant? I'm sure Cy Twombly's a great artist, but filling a room with three canvases of dripping red brush circles can't be showcasing his best work. A few galleries held my attention, but I walked round in record time like a bored teenager who'd rather have been somewhere else. And very soon I was.

I went to the ICA bookshop. I don't normally go to the ICA bookshop, although it's quite good for a handful of arty sort-of-quirky purchases. In this case I was after something witty and whimsical - a new publication entitled Curio City. I'd been trying to get hold of a copy all week, but made the mistake of visiting two other stockists before the official launch. Imagine an A3 sheet of brown paper, printed on both sides with words and images, folded down to the size of a small chocolate bar and secured with an elastic band. One one side are several descriptions of "hidden ways and places", from a Hampstead→Tower ley line to a game you can play following pigeons. And on the other, a map of the postwar London orbital inner ring road that was thankfully never built. Curio City is delightfully weird (a bisected Charlie Chaplin walk), but also obscurely informative (two places not to visit with/without a tie). And only £2, which is what endeared it to my shopping list. If you're interested in buying a copy, look here, and if you'd like to contribute a journey, map or encounter to the next edition, look here.

No, sorry, only five.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Hackney Wicked Art Festival
Fri 1st - Sat 3rd August
Annual leftfield artfest on the
Olympic borders. It's always
fascinating to snoop around.

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
tired of london
in the aquarium
round the island
christopher fowler
thamesfacingeast
one bus at a time
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
uk general election 2015

read the archive
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv