Wise Words About The Blog…


Crikey, I’m glad I checked with you lot, as I was hitting despair-level workload yesterday and was very serious about binning the blog. I’m still meeting publishers to see what they think, but I learned a lot from your feedback. First, lack of response never bothers me – some subjects don’t really require a response.

Second, I love it when readers go off on tangents (I’m looking at you, Helen) and notice when people are absent. Terenzio? Snowy? Bueller? Answer your names on the register please. I miss Dan Terrell. Has anyone tried to contact him with a Ouija yet?

Third, you all seem to imagine I check reader stats. Oh, how we laughed. No, I don’t I could but frankly there aren’t enough hours in the day etc.

So, to the mix of the blog. It’s easier to vary the mix in London (where I am now – sunny day, fresh winds, denuding trees, ‘Winter Is Coming’ – I’m sorry, I can’t help it if you don’t watch GoT) than in Barcelona because, hey, London is nothing if not in yer face. Barcelona is a richly interesting working city with an extraordinarily good lifestyle, the best city beaches in Europe and plenty to stimulate the intellect, but London has the edge because it flings so many subjects at anyone who has an ounce of curiosity. So, a better blog mix when I’m here, also because it’s a more indoor society and ultimately blogging is an indoor pursuit.

It looks like you’re prepared to put up with this ragbag of things I stumble across. Clearly I’ll have to continue if only to stop reader David Donaldson from joining the Sun’s Fantasy Football League in its place. And so to today’s tidbit.

Hurtling through the gruesome ghost train that is the Gatwick Airport Express, I arrived back in London sensibly dressed while all the red-faced English landed from their Southern European flights dressed as giant toddlers, and had a laugh at them, only to find it was a baking, glorious day, and my backpack – which always seems to weigh a ton even though it only contains a book and a T-shirt (it’s my technology that drags it down) – was leaving a wet patch on my back.

So I dumped the bag and all my warm clothes, and shot back out to meet a friend whose birthday it was, emerging from a pub to find it pouring with rain and freezing, and me in aforementioned T-shirt. Diving into Piccadilly Circus tube station I spotted this art installation in the rotunda. Piccadilly Circus is one of the few relatively unmucked-about-with stations, working like a great underground wheel of marble and copper. The clever thing about the art is that it uses the same signage protocols and is designed to look like it’s been there forever – I’m surprised he was allowed to do it. I mean, I presume it’s art, what else could it be?

Anyway, it could stand as the motto for the blog, with one small amendment; replace ‘perfection’ with ‘foolish joy’.



20 comments on “Wise Words About The Blog…”

  1. Peter Dixon says:

    Whats going on? I go out for the day and you have some sort of existential crisis!
    You don’t have to blog EVERY day – we’ll still love you and buy your books.

  2. Chris Webb says:

    You cut out the Frank Pick logo to the right!

    The full lowdown


    info on Frank Pick


    and some cutaways of the station


    Does anybody remember “Poems on the Underground”? One I remember went something like this

    I saw a bin,
    That said “unwanted literature to be placed herein”,
    So I wrote a poem,
    And put it in.

    I seem to remember seeing a book of them as well.

  3. Steveb says:

    Im personally delighted the blog is (hopefully) continuing!!! I wouldnt want you to do something that doesnt also bring -you- personal satisfaction as well as -us- the readership. Nice summing up with that sign and hopefully some joy foolish or not can come our way…
    Yes I recognise those names too. I guess sometimes life takes different paths.

  4. Stephen Morris says:

    Hi Chris,please continue the blog.

  5. Helen Martin says:

    I have wondered about those names, too. Snowy was always a default source of information. I hadn’t thought about an ouija board to contact Dan, whom I really miss, too, but that’s not a bad idea. I’ll let you know if I get him.

  6. jeanette says:

    Time you started wearing t-shirt and cardigan Chris on your travels, so easy to whip on and off when you get that 5 seconds on sun on your back, followed by the icy chill off the Thames!!

  7. Jeff says:

    I read many books. I only read one blog.

  8. admin says:

    Chris, I had to – I couldn’t get any further back without falling down the escalator!

  9. Christine says:

    Might you know the origins of Morris dancers? I get a big internal shudder whenever I even think about them. So far I haven’t been able to find out anything except …very very old and origins unknown. For some reason, they really creep me out.
    I so enjoy your Bryant & Mays series. Chocked full of wonderful and interesting information. They’re a pleasure to reread?

  10. Christine says:

    Oops ! Not ?

  11. Jo W says:

    Thanks for deciding to continue the blog,Christopher. Some good news,for a change. 🙂
    I was wondering why we haven’t heard from Snowy for some time. Has his Mum sent a note,I do hope it’s nothing serious.

  12. Jay says:

    Reading your blog is one of my daily highlights and little rituals and has been since you began blogging. I can appreciate the work which goes into this (which some may take for granted let’s be honest!) and I can imagine it must be a headache sometimes thinking up new daily blog subjects and writing about them with such focused research sometimes – not to mention dynamic panache.
    All that said, I wouldn’t mind if you seriously felt the need to reduce the frequency of the blogs especially if you felt that it was starting to encroach on your writing time or all the other millions of writer-y things you must do to keep your fanbase engaged and happy.
    Whatever you decide Chris, fend or please, your loyal and long serving fans will understand and support you I’m sure.

  13. Rachel Green says:

    Hurrah. You are on my daily ‘must read’ list.

  14. mel says:

    I am excited that the blog will continue. It’s one of the very few I follow and I’ve found so many good books and films here. Your London posts Inspired me to finally get around to visiting a few yrs ago.

  15. Diogenes says:

    Am I missing something here? Why is the artist saying that the qualities on the right are more important than those on the left? The symbol “<" denotes the right is greater than the left.

  16. Diogenes says:

    Having found it on youtube, it appears the artists have just followed Frank Pick’s error and used “” which means greater than. Which kind of diminishes the message of the memorial.


  17. Diogenes says:

    Dunno what happened there.

    Having found it on youtube, it appears the artists have just followed Frank Pick’s error and used “” which means “is less than”. Which kind of diminishes the message of the memorial.

  18. Trace Turner says:

    Please add my name to the list of those who read your blog regularly and would miss it if you stopped. You give me a much needed perspective on so many topics. I often find myself unaware of your subject and I go haring off to find out more. You are like a reporter – the endless variety of your posts is what keeps us reading. I know I don’t comment often, but I am out here in the subtropics, reading most every day. Your posts are appreciated and valued, so thanks.

  19. Chris Webb says:

    It would make more sense with > rather than <.

    From the video Diogenes linked to obviously the designers don’t know which is which. Maybe I’ll sneak in there early one morning with a screwdriver… (not a vodka and orange obviously)

  20. Chris Webb says:

    There is an article on Wikipedia about Morris Dancing, although I can’t recall ever seeing any in Piccadilly Circus Station.

    According to Wikipedia:

    The earliest known and surviving English written mention of Morris dance is dated to 1448, and records the payment of seven shillings to Morris dancers by the Goldsmiths’ Company in London.

    “Here’s seven bob, now bugger off.”

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