London

London’s Less Visited Museums

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Why is it that one of the first things one does upon visiting another city is to go to its museums? I hardly ever do that at home. And London is stuffed with them. The Kinetica is a platform for international new media art. At the moment it features immersive works that ‘challenge perceptions to question […]

On London Bookshops

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Mooching early through central London in the rain turns up several unwelcome surprises; the number of rough sleepers (they can’t sleep in Chinatown, where Westminster has allowed massive homeless spikes), the sheer volume of care-in-the-community babblers about, and the roads/buildings being demolished on such a vast scale that Soho has effectively been wiped off the […]

Dying To Be In London

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I just picked up Jim Dyson’s excellent book on the gravesites of London’s most notable permanent residents. Paris may have Oscar Wilde and Los Angeles has Marilyn Monroe but we have…the musical dancing grave of Joseph Grimaldi (see columns passim). But we do have a few more famous notables in central London around in the […]

Latest Train Delay Excuse: Tudors On The Line

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On February 10th, 500 exhibits are to be on show in the Museum of London in an exhibition called Tunnel: the Archaeology of Crossrail. Crossrail is the biggest London redevelopment I’ve seen in my lifetime. It started in 2012 and won’t finish until 2020.  The 118-kilometre railway line crosses London and reaches the home counties of Berkshire, […]

Leave London’s Parks Alone

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Next month sees the UK arrival of the new Bryant & May novel, ‘Wild Chamber’. One part of the storyline has just become highly topical, as Westminster Council seeks to privatise part of a London park  in order to squeeze some more cash from tourists, and Camden Council, who destroyed its local markets to cater […]

‘Open The Fridge Door, Hal.’

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How did this happen? My home is now sentient. I feel like Julie Christie in ‘Demon Seed’. My bathroom scale calls me up to nag me for not having done enough steps. My oven, fridge, dishwasher and microwave all beep at different times to warn me about over/under-heating. My TV and sound system are only […]

The Moving Theatre

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As reader Brian was asking about the old Players’ Theatre, I dug out this article on it. Apologies if you’ve read it before, but I’ve added some new material. The Charing Cross Theatre is underneath the station in a railway arch. Too large to be called a fringe venue, yet not quite big enough to […]

Why ‘2001’ Still Rules SF

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  There’s a problem with most filmed science fiction. It’s just surfaced again in the flawed but enjoyable Chris Pratt/ Jennifer Lawrence starrer ‘Passengers’ and it’s this; most SF films are about earthly, human situations with the words ‘in space’ added. Outland = Cop chases villains – in space. Alien = People fight beast – […]

Dippy’s Off, But What’s The Real Reason?

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The diplodocus has always been there, right in the centre of the Natural History Museum, causing kids to crane their necks and work out how many London buses-long he was (why were dinosaurs always measured in buses?). But after 112 years he’s off. Dippy was the first upright skeleton of a diplodocus ever to have gone […]

The Most Haunted ‘House’ In London?

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Surrounded by venerable museums, pubs and churches, Senate House in Bloomsbury is the admin centre of the University of London, and has proved a source of inspiration for British writers. Books partly set there include include Graham Greene’s ‘The Ministry of Fear’, and George Orwell’s ‘1984’ – his wife Eileen worked inside it for the Censorship […]