Blog

Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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A 1920s advertisement had a headline that began; 'If you go out these days - and who doesn't? you'll want to enjoy...' The idea of 'going out' is a peculiarly complex one for Londoners, attached to the idea of being entertained for the evening. It is inextricably woven with sex and drink, bad behaviour and joy. But the idea of going out specifically to enjoy what the city had to offer did not…
15 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London & Observatory
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An odd article in the New York Times grabs my attention today. A man who runs an online spectacles company has been threatening to rape and murder customers who complain about the poor quality of his sunglasses. The 6' 5" Ukranian admits he may have a bad attitude. An older clipping is sent by a friend about six Belgian nuns, the Poor Sisters of Clara, who sold off their Bruges nunnery to property…
36 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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You see it everywhere; the sign that reads 'Welcome Back'. The pubs, shops and restaurants are open for outdoor dining only, the vaccination scheme is working and the West End has gone through an unimaginable transformation. In just eighteen months central London has changed out of all recognition. It has become a semi-derelict inner city of shuttered buildings with almost half its population…
13 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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Before Covid, the UK had 30% more shops than it needed. London's Oxford Street is, I suppose, still one of the world's most famous shopping streets. It was once filled with luxurious department stores housed in grand buildings visited by all, but economic downturns, the end of emporia like Bourne & Hollingsworth and Marshall & Snellgrove, out-of-town malls and the street's poor upkeep soon saw the…
29 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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Those with long memories may recognise the above photograph, as the angel featured is on the cover of 'Darkest Day'. My last post mentioned this non-conformist cemetery in Stoke Newington's main shopping area. At its centre is Europe's long-standing non-denominational chapel, currently derelict. It sets the tone for the mossy, damp, gloomy yet distinctly urban graveyard, one of London's…
19 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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Russell Davies' 'It's A Sin', his five-part drama about AIDS in 80s Britain, will probably become the definitive look at the period. It's a big hit and I can see why. Davies is brilliant at connecting with the young and keeping things warmly human. However, it's not 'Angels in America'. It's issue-led soap opera rather than mature art. I'm not the target audience. The series is aimed at those for…
19 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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It's happening everywhere, of course; the scent of money attracts rushed construction that destroys neighbourhoods. But trust London to make it more egregious than in, say, New York. A few weeks ago I went for a walk through an area I've not visited for a while. Nine Elms is not a neighbourhood. It lies between Vauxhall and Battersea Power Station, somewhere you drive through via an ugly no-man's…
21 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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If you're going to spend a lot of time at home, you'd better learn to love being there. A friend lives in a flat so small that she puts her laptop on her draining board. Can we do this for over a year without going crazy? Not many of us live in the centre of London right now. As families move to the commuter belt to work from home with more space, we happy few remain. There are hardly any shops…
23 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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So, after trawling through comments on this site going back some twelve years and stumbled across Snowy's description of a statue of a man in a lead tricorn hat who functioned as a rain gutter on the roof of a London house. He thought it was boring and apologised for mentioning it. If Snowy thinks he's boring, God help the rest of us.) It inspired me to head out into the bitter cold and look for…
28 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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[I've rewritten one of my favourite pieces on London, of which you'll notice there are a great many on this little site. I thought it was worth revisiting. Coming later this week, a Christmas quiz. I love to watch old London-set films as much for what's going on in the background as the story, from 'The Ladykillers' (1955), which features my neighbourhood back when it was a sooty industrial…
29 comments

Years