Five Great London Blogs
I don’t know how Diamond Geezer does it, but somehow he manages to blog a substantial article every day at a pace which would make most press journalists blanche, and he covers an extraordinary range of London subjects, all explored with his mix of curiosity, annoyance and charm. One of the funniest pieces he’s written lately is from August 7th on Boris Johnson’s mooted plan to hold down two jobs while busily destroying London’s air and infrastructure, while championing useless tourist objects like the East London Dangleway and turning the city into Russia’s money laundry.
The Great Wen is an elegantly laid-out site that covers peculiarities, bits of hidden London and recently, a German pig’s head. Want to know what happened to the disastrous transformation of Wapping’s Tobacco Dock? The Wen’s been there (it’s still empty, yet neatly maintained and open for ‘special events’, whatever they are). And when so much of so-called ‘secret London’ has been covered to death the Wen still finds genuine oddities.
There are a zillion extremely local blogs for finding out exactly what’s going on in your neighbourhood or indeed street (see Arthur Pewty’s Maggot Sandwich for one such blog) but general London blogs are, oddly, harder to come by, maybe because it’s easier for people to get local information than trawl through miles of stuff that’s of no interest to them. Caroline’s Miscellany covers all sorts of specific-area bits but there are also pieces here that I’ve not seen covered anywhere else. Want to see a tin tabernacle or a part of London’s Roman wall living in a cupboard? How about the Nursemaid’s Tunnel, a stone steamship or an explanation as to why the Thames’s foreshore is so colourful? This is your destination.
Glad to report that the wonderful Another Nickel In The Machine is still going strong, and never ceases to surprise -Last week I learned about a stolen-painting joke hidden in the first 007 film that nobody had ever pointed out before. The articles are written with a depth that no national newspaper can manage – in fact, it’s hard to imagine why we even need a national press now with dedicated writers like this who are prepared to add hard-to-find images to flesh out their stories. The article about the slashing of the Rokeby Venus is utterly exemplary, and the account of the Daily Mail offering pro-Fascist rally tickets should remind us all about our reasons for not trusting its crusades.
For my fifth I’m torn, because there are still so many terrific sites to choose from my initial long list, including the ever-excellent Jane’s London to Annie Mole and the lovely Tired Of London, Tired Of Life, but I’d have to pick Transpontine as one of the most individual London sites I’ve come across. Many of these sites balance out London blogs by giving the South a say – there are too many North London sites – but this one goes the extra mile with everything from lost pet folk art to a telephone box library. and a collection of paper bags. And how nice to see a quote from Shelley on a wall in Deptford!
That such blogs exist at all is something of a miracle. The fact that they do is testament to the strangeness of the aggravating, fabulous – and did I mention aggravating?* – city in which we live.
*Definition of aggravating: Last week, in her rush to board a tube train at Victoria when there was another one 30 seconds behind, a woman slammed my Kindle out of my hand, and I watched in horror as it vanished down the gap between the carriage and the train with a crunch of glass. As she boarded, she complained that I was in the way. Platform staff proved non-existent, so I’m now short of one reading device. Welcome to London.