Monday, 25 May 2015

In & Around London… #London Glass

Monday is mute on The Daily Constitutional (well, almost mute) – because Monday is the day when we post five images captured in and around London by London Walks Guides and London Walkers.


Collated on a theme or an area, if you've got some great shots of our capital and want to join in send your pictures to the usual address.





London glass. Feel the pane…


Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Syon House

Bow Street Magistrates Court with Royal Opera House reflected

St Giles-in-the-Fields with central St Giles in yellow beyond

The window of the Lost Property Office, Baker Street






A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Walk of the Week: Hidden #London


Every Sunday we’ll pluck just one walk from the vast London Walks repertoire and put it centre stage.





You can check out the full schedule at www.walks.com.





But if you only take one walking tour this week, why not make it…







HIDDEN LONDON

11 am on Mondays from Monument Tube Meet just outside the Fish Street Hill exit (the main exit)

There's no need to book. A London Walk takes about two hours and costs £10 or £8 for concs. (kids under 15 accompanied by their parent[s] go free)

This walk is the distillation of a brilliant guide's many years' experience probing the hidden places and forgotten nooks of the world's most elusive city. Exploring parts of London that few people know exist – up creeping lanes, round out-of-the-way corners, past secret islands of green – Shaughan's at his inimitable best. As the New York Times put it, the walk is "a highly entertaining...blend of historical commentary and bizarre anecdote laced wild mildly scurrilous gossip about past and present celebrities and defunct royals." In such places and with such a guide, the past becomes our present.

The Hidden London Walk takes place every Monday morning at 11 am

Meet Shaughan just outside the main exit – the Fish Street Hill exit – of Monument Tube.




A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









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Friday, 22 May 2015

Friday is Rock'n'Roll London Day – Pink Floyd, Giles Gilbert Scott, Joseph Bazalgette & The Abbey Road Mystery


It is arguably Pink Floyd's most famous album sleeve…



Released in 1977, Animals features Battersea Power Station (designed by, among others, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott) and a giant pig flying between its famous chimneys. The sleeve design and concept is credited to Floyd's Roger Waters with the shoot executed and shot by the famous Hipgnosis design team.

Shot being the operative word.

The inflatable pic – 30 feet in length – was filled with helium and a marksman was employed to bring the thing down with a bullet if it broke free of its moorings. Unfortunately, inclement weather halted the photoshoot and work was postponed until the next day… the marksman, alas, had only been booked for the first day.

Most have you have seen it coming by now.

The pig – known as Algie – broke free and was out of sight within five minutes (that's literally out of sight, rather than, "Like, outta sight man") eventually landing in a field in Kent, having disrupted flights out of London airports on the way.

It's not the only architectural relic of London's past associated with Pink Floyd. In March 1968 they filmed at Abbey Mills Pumping Station (designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette) in deepest East London. Producer Tony Palmer (who went on to make the monumental All You Need Is Love documentary series on popular music with contributions from, among others, Charles Chilton) captured a performance of post-Syd Barrett Pink Floyd doing Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.



The old Abbey Mills Pumping Station is but a hop, skip and jump from London's most confusing station: Abbey Road. No not THAT Abbey Road, that's why it's confusing.

So if you DO end up at Abbey Road on the DLR, and not St John's Wood on the Jubilee Line for Abbey Road Studios (where Pink Floyd recorded their albums up to, but not including Animals), then all is not lost! At least there's a flake of Rock'n'Roll London history quite nearby.







Heres our RocknRoll London video




Join the Rock’n'Roll London Walk on Fridays at 2pm, meeting at Tottenham Court Road Station – to book a Private Walk call 020 7642 3978 or email london@walks.com

















A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









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Thursday, 21 May 2015

"What Will I See On The Walk?"

London Walks' pen and Daily Constitutional Special Correspondent David Tucker writes…




You’re looking at it.

Looking at what’s wrong with the “What will I see on the walk?” question.

The inscription on the statue reads George IV.

That answer the question?

Or maybe a bit of elaboration – “You’ll see the equestrian statue of George IV in the north eastern corner of Trafalgar Square.”

That answer the question?

The problem isn’t the answer(s). The problem is the question. The best it’s ever going to get you – in the way of an answer – is a carapace.

In short, what you’ll see with your eyes  – the carapace – doesn’t begin to answer the question.

The only way to properly answer the question is to throw open the vault door and show you what the mind’s eye will “see”. 

And what shines the light in there is the words – the guide’s words.

Look at the image again and “see” it through the lens of the dozen or so words I’ll caption it with this time. I think you’ll, er, see there’s quite a difference.

As the Daily Constitutional Editor (and brilliant guide) Adam puts it, “it’s not just what you see, it’s how you see it.”

 
The wickedest of all “the wicked uncles” – George IV. “Swollen, gouty, bewigged and bedaubed” – the living embodiment of sin.

Put it that way it gets a whole lot more interesting, doesn’t it? And, hey, it’s Trafalgar Square. Innumerable pairs of eyes “see” that statue every day. But they don’t really “see” it. Not the way you’ve just seen it. Here in this post for the London Walks blog. Or, if you see it in the flesh as it were. See it right there, in Trafalgar Square – see it through the eyes of a London Walks guide.

And that little 18 word “caption” is just the overture. Cracks open the door – which we proceed to properly fling open. Everything from the missing stirrups to the statue’s being a “reverse Dorian Gray”,  

Parting shot. Don’t let that statue fool you.* That’s the seamier side of royalty you’re looking at. Frightful old George IV. Swollen. Gouty. Bewigged. Bedaubed.

Now you know.  Now you’re seeing.

Post Postscript. We get that question all the time. We dread getting it. Dread getting it because it’s impossible to answer. Answer properly that is. We field it as best we can. Field it gingerly. But the right answer is the one we can’t put into an email or talk down a phone line. The right answer is the walk. And the walk is where you go and what the guide shows you and how the guide illuminates what she (or he) shows you.

It’s what you see. And see.

*The horse knows. He’s trying to tell you. That plaintive look on his intelligent, sensitive face.




A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









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