Monthly Archives: August 2011

Britain’s First Technohead

This is too delicious not to share, via The Guardian. Daphne Oram had a cut-glass accent, looked like Margaret Thatcher and laid the way for modern techno music. She began her career at the BBC as a sound balancer in 1943 and composed instrumental pieces while working in their radiophonic workshop, before setting up on […]

You Can Be Dickens’s Proof-Reader

Charles Dickens wrote this in a column of his weekly magazine ‘Household Words’: “I know that we English are an angular and eccentric people – a people that the great flat-iron of civilisation will take a long time smoothing all the puckers and wrinkles out of – but I was scarcely prepared for the following […]

Something We Haven’t Heard Before

Musically speaking there’s your actual techno and your actual chamber orchestra and never the twain shall meet, unless you’re Michael Nyman, who is virtually the only person I can think of who gets close to combining the driving sound of post 1950 music with the harmonic purity of a roving band of players – until, […]

More Lost London Cinemas

The stunning art deco Odeon Woolwich was another haunt of mine as a child. The building was outlined in neon at night and its interior was every bit as spectacular. It has now been converted into another bonkers West African church. Sorry, ‘bonkers’ isn’t really accurate enough to describe the drivel-spouting preachers who leech from […]

How London’s Treasures Are Destroyed

This reaches me from the excellent site, and involves a childhood memory and yet another series of pathetic council bungles. The astonishing art deco cinemas that were built across London staggered on until almost the present day, when they might have been preserved. Here’s how the Greenwich Granada, which features heavily in my memoir […]

A Reassuring Ad

Strangely reassuring bus-side from Anchor butter. I think there should be more of these. You could have ‘A Nice Glass Of Beer On A Summer’s Evening’ from Bombadier Ales, or ‘It’s Pleasant Just Quietly Sitting Here’ from Ikea.

A Visit To Vauxhall

I set off to do my reading in Vauxhall last night and thought about how it had changed since the days of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, which was a popular theme park for London for two hundred years from the middle of the 17th century. The gardens reached the height of their popularity in the […]

Still Waiting…

Well, the Bryant & May comic is finished, but we’re still waiting to hear back from comic publishers, who have gone into slow-motion summer mode. We’re in no rush, admittedly, but it would be nice to have the comic coincide with a book. The TV series pilot is written. Let’s see, what else did I […]

The Pleasure Of Informed Argument

Having recently admitted here that I’d never heard of – I’ve forgotten her name again – Katie Price, a sort of underwear model turned writer, I realise it’s partly because I don’t really get around to watching television. Rather, I seem to spend the hours when I would be watching TV having spirited conversations with […]

The View From Jeremy Clarkson’s Window

Oh, how we laughed. Right-wing petrolhead and anti-environmentalist Clarkson is going to have a recycling tip at the end of his garden. Well, not quite that close, but his NIMBYism has kicked in after discovering that his posh little country enclave might be compromised by a recycling plant, placed there by Lord Chadlington, a close […]