Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Heron Tower

The view from the Duck and Waffle on the 40th Floor of the Heron Tower looking south towards the Shard. 

Looking east along the Thames with the Gerkin to the right.

Looking north. The alfresco dinning experience provides breath taking views but is cold and windy even on a sunny September afternoon.

Panoramic view East to West

Friday, 28 September 2012

AA Gill's London

The perfect visitors guide to London as written by A.A.Gill -"My London, and Welcome to It", New York Times, 21 April 2012

He sensibly prepares visitors not to expect to see “stiff-lipped men in bowler hats and cheeky cockneys with their thumbs in their waistcoats and fish on their heads”.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Street piano

A solitary business man, briefcase by his side, playing Radiohead's 'Creep' on a ‘Street Piano’ in St Pancras station. 

Don’t you just love living in London

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Masion House

I visited Mansion House as part of Open House London 2012. My first choices were the Bank of England or the Lloyds Building but these were so popular, with queues going way around the block that I settled for the Lord Mayor of London’s residence.

Mansion House was built in 1739-52 and was designed in the Palladian style by architect George Dance the Elder. It is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London, currently Alderman David Wootton, and is not to be confused with the position of Mayor of London, which is held by Boris Johnson. I’m sure Boris would like to live in Mansion House but thankfully that can wait until he has cashed in on his popularity with the British public, won the Eurovision song contest and can afford to buy something more opulent.

The Lord Mayor is leader of the City of London, a member of the Privy Council and within the City the holder of rank second only to the Queen (ahead of Prince Charles and other members of the Royal Family). The post dates back to 1189 and King John granted a charter in 1215 permitting elections to choose the next mayor. Dick Whittington is London’s most famous Mayor. Incorrectly thought to be penniless Mayor Whittington died childless leaving all his wealth to the Corporation of London from which the City is still benefitting to this day.

The Lord Mayor is elected annually by the Court of Alderman and must first have served as Sheriff. Needless to say only the affluent need apply.

Mansion House is interesting in a faded, bygone lavishness sort of way. All the decoration, pictures state rooms and chandeliers are designed to impress men wearing powdered wigs, embroidered waistcoats and breeches rather than unimpressionable money men from emerging economies.

On the Friday preceding the second Saturday in November the new Lord Mayor is admitted to office. The ‘Silent Ceremony’ is performed when the old Mayor hands over the sword and mace of office to the new Mayor without a word being spoken. This job would never suit Boris.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Camden Lock

Camden Lock, where you can get a piercing, a tattoo, or even a piercing on your tattoo. The shops are strictly for the tourists and Goth’s but make the place look suitably bizarre. It's London's fourth most popular visitor attraction with over 100,000 visitors each weekend. That's a lot of Goth's.

The lock at Camden.

A stencil of the Queen of Camden.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Bob Dylan - "Subterranean Homesick Blues"

Bob Dylan filming "Subterranean Homesick Blues" at the junction of Savoy Hill Road and Savoy Steps at the back of the Savoy Hotel.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Hymn by Damian Hirst

Damian Hirst’s ‘Hymn’ displayed outside Tate Modern. Hymn is a 20ft bronze replica of a “Young Scientist Anatomy Set” and is owned by Charles Saatchi. The toy manufacturer Humbrol sued Damien Hirst for creating an exact copy of their 14” model. There's nothing more to add.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

London 2012 Paralympics

Finally made it to the Olympic site for the 2012 Paralympics. The day started with blind 5-a-side football between Iran and Turkey at the Riverbank Arena. It was fantastic on so many levels. Not only is it good to watch as a sporting event but the players disability becomes an integral part of the game. An amazing set of skills are displayed by blindfolded players who dribble, pass and shoot at goal with astonishing accuracy. The bone crunching tackles can be felt and heard in the stands. It made me realise how pathetic, lily-livered, overpaid Premiership footballers are. To think they dive and cheat, theatrically faining injury to gain an unfair advantage. They wouldn’t last five minutes with the courageous (and I do mean courageous) blind five-a-side teams.

The next game was The People’s Republic of China against Team GB. Despite the crowd getting behind the home team the game finished, as all of our national football matches do, with Team GB loosing on penalties.

From the football I went to Eton Manor for the wheelchair tennis. I have no idea how the players achieve such skills but to watch wheelchair tennis is to be astonished and inspired.

On to the Copper Box and the women’s Goalball. This is a strange game played with three blind goalkeepers trying to throw a large, heavy ball, which contains a bell, into a goal protected by three opposing blind goalkeepers. It takes some time to get into especially as the crowd must remain silent during the game to enable the players to hear the ball. Sweden drew with Japan 1-1 and yet another game went to penalties, which Japan won. There was a great party atmosphere inside the Copper box with the "Macarena" being particularly popular when the crowd were let loose during stoppages in play. The use of music and an MC was very impressive and certainly added to the whole experience.

From the Copper Box to the Basketball Arena and to a game I would gladly pay to watch outside of the Olympics. Wheelchair Rugby or ‘murderball’ has it has become known. Canada beat Belgium in a game that has more in common with American Football than rugby. The players smash into each other, openly trying to tip wheelchairs over and block players off by trapping them on the court, unable to move and take part in play. It’s fast moving, lots of points are scored and the organisers had a soundtrack playing, along with a live commentary, throughout the game, which enhanced the overall experience.

What a fantastic day. What a fantastic event.