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Charles' London Architectural Journal   #4

London Skyline London Panorama Meanderings of an Londoneering Castaway.
A series of Charles' occasional observations. He does go on a bit... Shuffling soon to a street near you.
May 2007 We Dont Need No Education 
Ah... there you are... calling in to the London Destruction website are you? Just hoping to read my undignified journal? How are you? You're looking fabulous... as ever. Sit ye down and read this. Oh and before we start... Dentists... nasty sadistic torturers. Never trust a dentist. Never trust anyone on commision who gets more cash for the most damage they can do to one's beloved mouth. Who's regulating those guys???

Last month's recce involved a quickie to see the mess they've made of Grosvenor Square... the USA embassy and all. And only today, on 1st May, I read they are gonna sell it anyway. Great! They've only turfed up most of the square to turn it into some kind of Maginot Line, now they're going to sell-up anyway. But what a mess it is. It's the same in nearby Westminster, where the palace of MP's are now surrounded by a steel wall that juts out into the street. Fortifications around the Commons and Big Ben have been in continuous construction for years. Its never ending. And Downing Street, where once as a lad I could wander up to number ten and get photographed with the policeman? Well, the Street is now gated up, and patrolled with machine guns. Oh well, can't say too much, or be branded and killed by the politically correct mobsters. And so, so many of our buildings have been altered for the worst. Security guards, metal detectors. Foyers done up like airport security. I would rather modify people's behaviours, actually, rather than mess up London. Went to Buckingham Palace. At least it has so far been spared any obvious treatments... and yet makes itself an easy target, I suppose.

Otherwise, had a nice trip out to the River Wandle, and followed it's trail, and recognised it's history. Wimbledon's very own industrial revolution cranked away down here, furthered the gains of the Arts & Crafts, and polluted the area for a century. But it was delightful... Luckily, thanks to climate change, I had many a nice day out in April, including this one.

Which brings me around to the lying, swindling, ripoff legislation known as Green Taxes. These regressive taxes that let the rich amongst us do exactly what they want, because they can afford the prohibitive tax. Ok, so it's all a lie anyway: Its just another stealth tax, another reason to charge. Just like the congestion charge in London. At the same time, it's all a great excuse to restrict people's movements, and increase the controls on us, make more database statistics. Quite frankly, it all stinks, and I want it stopped. Revolution now?

Alright, maybe we wont rise up against this new order. But as we sink further into the quagmire, we can rejoice at the fact that we have got the dreaded London Olympics 2012 to look forward to. All 10 billion's worth. As Stratford gets dug up, businesses are moved on, lives are disrupted. I've not read one single good reason as to why this should be happening, and why ten billion can be found for this, instead of giving the money to the pension funds or maybe saving the NHS. No... I think the money will be wasted instead on Coe's folly, and we and the NHS will dissolve into dust. London has been too soft and we are so close to going out forever. Evil has won, and London is on the eve of destruction. The only thing needed for EVIL to prosper is for good men to do nothing. And we have done nothing. Oh well. Bye for now. Thanks for reading my journal.

Apr 2007 24 Hrs To Save The NHS 
Hello people of the world. And thanks very much for reading this here website of mine. How very kind of you all to drop in. I dont deserve it, you know. One day, I would like you all to join me in a cup of tea and cheese sandwiches, maybe by the Serpentine. Afterwards, we could all throw bread at the swans, and chatter away on how to save London from those ghastly developers. Hissss...

And now, with our hospital buildings crumbling before us, I read that it will take as much as 800m to save the NHS. Which is amazingly just about the same cost of about half a new Trident Submarine. Or maybe a tenth of holding a rediculous Olympic Games. Or maybe a third of an Iraq War. Or even a quarter of setting up a Big brother Id database. This is stupid. I would like to see some sensible prioritising of funds. My local hospital in London STINKS. No wonder everyone is catching superbugs. There was grime everywhere. What the hell is going on??? The building was almost falling down too. Hard hats at the ready?

And so the new Wembley reopened... After 7 years without a London stadium. I am still siding with those of us that wished they had left the old stadium alone, giving it an upgrade and a polish and some tlc, and then built a new one out in a brown field site in the middle of England. We could have kept the old brilliant stadium architecture, and had two stadiums. Oh well. Too late. But I did expect the new place to fall down, such were the delays and cock ups. What a charade it's all been.

It was time to take a trip to the new King's Cross Terminal, to see how the disfigurement of the area was coming along. And indeed, they are doing a fine job, destroying the area with that flat blob of concrete bolted onto our fine victorian facade. Hiding, however, on the perimeter, is the last bastion of old architecture, a few islands of old London, in the shape of the very pleasant looking Stanley and Culross Buildings, these little brick dwellings that the Eurotunnel lowlife have been wanting to pull down for years, and have virtually had to build around, but have done everything to provoke, and board up, and discredit. How sad it all looks. The news is that these sad abandoned forsaken items have been sold down the river by the council, and will soon be on their way to architectural hell. Oh well, best be bulldozed now rather than suffer any more abuse. How they would love to vent the same violence upon the local natural park, that still stands defiant against the dust and stench from the rail works. Not forgetting the dismantled Gasometers. It's all sad mess...

Better news for the Battersea Arts Centre, a nice old building that had suffered threats of closure in its life, and had just seemingly fended off another one, and secured its future. How the developers have always wanted to get their hands on this little beauty, but it looks like its gonna be around for a bit longer. The Arts mob have looked after this place, and have not made many changes to the structure and interior, which still looks rather original. The facade is astounding, and the Grand Ballroom ironwork is nicely restored, and I must congratulate those artsy fartsy people for fighting for this great architecture, and for putting this place to proper use. BAC is in safe hands, which is nice to know.

Not so good news for the Hammersmith Palais, which seems to be on the way to biting the dust. It would be easy to save such old historic places for the world, but, just like the NHS, it's not to the government's interest. NuLabour plc are against anything worthy or traditional, and are all nasty little traitors in my eyes. Just like Red Ken, or indeed most governments of the last 60 years. Oh, and the European super-state. It's all the destruction of London by a slow deadly, sickening virus. Where is our champion???

Mar 2007 Mr Livingstone, I presume... 
Hello again to the wide wide world of architecture lovers. Sorry again for the site crashes, as every man, woman and dog wanted to log onto my page on the Baltic Exchange. This was due to circumstances in the financial world. Yes, the Gherkin, now built on top of our former Exchange, has now been sold of for a big fat wad of developers cash. Double the building costs, in fact. Oh jolly good. Lovers of the former antique building that stood here came to this site, joined hands, and remembered the Baltic in all its glory. A building betrayed for big profit.

Moving on, it was time for the CON-gestion charge area to be increased, just so Red Ken could con more people out of more money. That man has ruined London and keeps on ruining it. But what can we do? Wheres the revolution? Why dont we storm the gates of City Hall? No. We are just too pleasant, and he knows it. And so, the bullies will always win. And the cost of this extention? Many millions. Cameras, signs, staff. What a waste. What I love is the way that some embassies, most notably the American one, have refused to pay any charges at all. Doesnt that get right up Ken's nose? I really really hope so. The Mayor is another level of government that we could easily do without. Ken should be disgraced and deported to the very Scilly Isles.

Pity the poor motorist, an easy target for the government and mayor. Road Pricing, fraudulent commission-based Traffic Wardens, speed cameras, and this vendetta on 4x4's. It's all pure evil at work. And it's all taxation in the guise of 'congestion', 'enforcement', 'green issues' Surely in any sane culture this would not continue.

I came across a sight for no eyes. Yes, in London, they dont wait to fine you, to clamp you. If they can they will just clumsily lift your car, its sirens blazing, onto the back of a cart and take it away. But it's the way that they do it that is so criminal. Here I saw just one man alone trying to grapple with the lifting process. He obviously had no idea about anything. His truck, complete with crane, had been parked so as to block off the road completely . So as he stupidly went about his crooked ways, the traffic jam went for a mile, as he mindlessly tried to lift this poor car into the air. The flashing screaming car alarm just made this ham fisted scene more comical. Damage was done, of course, to the car and all others he bumped it into. I did hope the car would break loose and flatten it's assailant, but no, in no time at all (20 mins) he had gridlocked London and laid waste to the area. The crime? No parking permit. But hey! There it was, on the dashboard! The owner protested, but... oh dear.      Oh...... great.

Cheerio everyone. May your god go with you, always.

Feb 2007 All Animals Are Equal 
Hello, architecture lovers, and welcome to this little website, it defaced by Yahoo's insistence (in 2007) that the page be cut up by some hopeless advert on the right -> -> -> that nobody looks at, but everybody deletes. It's annoying, but thanks everybody for putting up with it. Do they really think we're gonna buy their cheap tatt? Come on... people are hear to read and review thoughts of London Destruction, not ad's for viagra...

Anyway... hello. And welcome to the once delightful town of London, where, only some sixty years ago, many of our citizens died in a war fought to preserve our ways, traditions, buildings, society, freedoms. We sent our boys to war for the same principals, but what the hell did they die for? It's only now that we find London destroyed from within. All that made London is being eroded, our architecture smashed, our freedoms wiped out. Here we are in a totalitarian state, over-taxed, censored, investigated, watched, punished, accused, identified, tracked, videoed, and slapped onto a whopping great database of personal information and details. It really stinks, it's getting worse, and there's no stopping it. It's an insult to our war dead and is turning London in to one fat prison camp.

It's congestion charge time. Now the area covered is going to increase a few miles west. This is not a congestion charge at all, just an evil way of conning motorists out of money just so they can drive in their own city. Meanwhile, Ken & Co are closing more roads, paving over more roadspace so that yobs and chavs can have more squares to misbehave in. There's your congestion. And their nasty vendetta against 4x4 trucks is just another con in the name of green issues.

Westminster Council, on the other hand, are, like most insane council outfits, joining in the fun. They are all bonkers. Last month I heard some timid jobsworth describe how and why they were now going to charge for motorcycle parking. Great. What idiots. You could hear the lame excuses and officialspeak blurb from his mouth, but you knew it was only the cash he wanted. But where is this cash going?

There was another flashy exhibition at the Elephant and Castle, showing the plans to demolish many acres of housing estate in favour of a nice cosy and expensive redevelopment. This exhibit was one of many, and sells the costly propaganda to the (as they see them) 'peasant' population, many of whom were in tears, seeing themselves uprooted from their 'home' just for the sake of developers cash. That area has been purposely run down for years, so that they can shout 'redevelopment' and suddenly a load of cash appears. As if by magic...

Was great to see Brian Haw's placard mock up in the Tate Gallery. There's a great piece of art , now missing from Parliament Square. A great mockery of London's so-called authority, more of which we need. More power to the old fellow himself.

Meanwhile, I do see a possible stay of execution for the Astoria Theatre in soho, now that the stupid grotesque 'Crossrail' has possibly been shelved. Well, they're strapped for cash (?) thanks to the morons that 'won' the bid ($$$) for the 2012 Olympics (oh hell). I'm not looking forward to the olympic joke we are now stuck with, and the tax we will be paying for it. So, what's the attraction? Nothing... Just sweaty athletes, smelly tourists, corporate sponsorship, increased crime, and lots of backslapping. Big big redevelopments and demolitions in East London. = Destruction.

Where on earth can we run from this misery? As Stephen Hawking said, we will only survive when we can leave this earth. Maybe only then can we save dear olde London Town.

Jan 2007 Wedding Bell Blues 
Happy new year, everyone, and welcome back to the London Destruction journal, just waking up from the new year celebrations, which in my case were held in a nice ye olde pub, nice beams nice beer nice birds, but horrible dance music played loud to create some kind of 'atmosphere' in this ancient 19th century pub... great. Why are our pubs destroyed by horrid loud music? Looking at the TV we could see the London Eye going under a firework display akin to Apocalypse Now, and it's a shame they dont really blow it up, as it spoils the skyline. Streets lined with violent drunks, no police to be seen. Oh dear. Anyway, on the agenda this year so far has to be a stand against the closure of thousands of our beloved wonderful local Post Offices. It makes me sick to think they are going to be able to get away with this. Greedy scum. The worst thing was when they started to privatise the postal services or even run it like a profiteering business. Like any other utility or service it needs to be out of private hands and subsidised. Local GPOs must stay! Then there is the hell they are making in Greenwich , where slowly they are messing with the area around Cutty Sark, where old shops and alleyways are being transformed and demolished over the years. I dont like what is happening there. Ok, so they saved that Hood pub, but the rest is open to abuse. Keep the rats out of our Greenwich. Same for Chelsea Barracks , now up for sale. Hell knows what might befall this select old real estate now. And though it all, our nasty devil Red Ken plans to deform London with a retarded retro backward Tram service cutting our roads and traffic up from Camded to Brixton. Is he mad? Yes. Is he dangerous? Absolutely. I fear what Red Ken Livingstone will do next to our capital city. One second he wants Oxford Street pedestrian only. Now its killer Trams. What next. Save our City. Then there's Ken's taxes. And not forgetting Ken's congestion charges. We are being stung for masses of money. And now these fraudulent green taxes that mean that if you are rich, you can pollute as much as you want, just as long as Ken and the government get more cash. It's an evil mob we are dealing with, they should all be in the tower. Where's the revolution? And now they want to further concrete over and enlarge Heathrow Airport. Whats green about that? Oh, I forgot, it's the money that talks again. And we're just taking it. You gotta laugh, havent you. So here's to 2007, and I cant wait it see what crap they are gonna destroy London with. I will protest at the gates of Downing Street. What a rotten new year it's been, and it's only 2nd of Jan. Oh well, Merry new year, and dont let the government bastards grind you down. Or the deathly developers...

Dec 2006 Flying Is Trying Is Dying 
Greetings, Architecture lovers, phrase nearly quoted from our dearly and lately departed Alan Freeman. Bye old chap. I thought you were fabulous. Anyway, readers, thanks for reading, as ever, and looking at my site, which is still suffering from the occasional shutdown, thanks to the odd peaks of interest that it cant handle. Sorry about the crashes. Now, also recently we find the poor Battersea Power Station exchanging hands for a great profit and whilst it rots even further away they had put another delay on its refit... which is ok in a way, considering what they have in mind for the refit. I suppose I would have dearly loved it to be sold to the Science Museum for $1. That's what would have happened if I were Mayor. Mayor? Mmmm, I wonder if London could suffer Mayor Charles... and a return to victorian values... Touch In Touch Out, or pay massive fine, as all Londoners are once again deemed guilty until proven innocent... and as for any comeback... TfL just wont answer the phone. They are worse than contemporary Traffic Wardens: Evil, and money grabbing. TfL are not 'for' London at all: Only for themselves. This month, I made a visit to the interiors of the old County Hall, thanks to some devilish Manga exhibit, and I got to sneak around the corridors of former power, finding thousands of unused rooms. It's amazing that this place is mostly empty, and right in the heart of town, whilst everywhere else around they are still building more offices, and tearing down old architecture. What's wrong with County Hall? Well, It's lost a lot of its interior fittings and furnishing, and is beginning to wither. It's also quite chilly, and a bit miserable, but Red Ken and his mob could have easily moved back into here, instead of spending zillions on the new City Hall. What a waste. It was good snooping around the old place though: And you can see how grand it must have been, only now it stinks like one giant McDonalds. At least we have seen the back of the Island Block, which has taken months to demolish, but I'm afraid the plans for this plot are looking even worse. Why dont they redraw the road system to a crossroad and eliminate this awkward area? Finally, must say goodbye to the Regents Palace Hotel, which I thought had been saved but now had thown in the bath towel: I spent some nights there once, and hated what they had done to it, but there are features that are graded, and will stay after they've revamped the place into... hell knows what: I'm not looking forward to seeing it. Inevitably, I wish that they would restore the whole place back into its elegant old art deco self, a move which is quite unlikely. Oh well... Goodbye for now, architecture lovers :)

Nov 2006 Many A New Day Will Please My Eye 
Hello, architecture lovers of the world. It's me again. And before they shut my site down, I'd just like to say that I'm against internet censorship of any kind, especially the kind where government and businesses are using petty and taboo crime as an excuse to censor and manipulate web usage. It's only a matter of time before every single website will be controlled or deleted. How long before critique against rich developers will be seen as a threat. London Destruction will remain on-line until this happens. Fools will laugh at this at their foolish peril. Anyway, I was sad to see that New York's CBGB's was closed down last month, another landmark going down the pan, unprotected, undervalued, and priced out of the neighbourhood. Every town in the world has a building full of community spirit that is under threat. I loved CBGB's, and so did most of the world's travellers, but this could not stop it's evil landlords from selling out. Last month saw my entrance at last into the glorious Battersea Power Station, itself torn apart and left to rot in the rain with no roof. Maybe they were always hoping it would fall down of it's own accord, but this art deco monolith is still upright and defiant. It's another world famous musical landmark, but this has not stopped the government and owners from abusing its structure. It made me sick to see it, but I was glad of a tour of most of it. Meanwhile, like most of the UK, London is in the grip of Recycling Madness, and the landscape is destroyed by bins and recycle outlets. Every house is now forced to have an ugly set of multiple recycle bins on it's doorstop, which invaribly end up being booted into the street. It's a dumb idea in the guise of 'green' trendiness which is spoiling our homes and buildings. Without doubt, recycling should be done by dissecting rubbish at the sewage works, like it used to be, and not at source, which is an unhealthy and vulgar task, not fitting a domestic situation. I dont mind the setting up of recycle banks at the end of streets, which I enjoy using every day. But these extra home bins with their ensuing personal industry are causing unnecessary pollution of our towns, and it's all very stupid, and is a negative upon the environment. My council have just given me a grotesque recycle bag, and when they collect it, weekly, they just throw the contents into the recycle bin at the end of the street! That must be the dumbest thing I've ever seen. And it costs more tax to perform! Oh well. Goodbye for now, readers.

Oct 2006 My Kinda Town, London Is 
Hello everyone. It's me again. And hello, to all citizens of the world! MySpace: Opened up my own MySpace for the site, and was hysterically mad to see a load of friends appear and share my space with me! Well, it's all for a good cause, that of saving the world's more recent architecture offerings from demolition. That's me all over. Anyway, let me start by apologising about the site crashes, due to an oversight and overpopularity. Yes folks, it's that time of year again, when the old London Destruction strikes a chord in people's hearts and everybody on the earth wants to have a look at it. I promise you all that, given time, money, and resources, I will one day upgrade the availability of the site. OPEN HOUSE: It was a fine Open House weekend in London, with many new buildings open to the public, ie, myself, and the crowds are even bigger, more chavs than ever are hitting the architectural trail. I might even suggest a more elitist entry, but then I would never get in. Or maybe less advertising, so that the disneyland brigade might find better things to do with their screaming kids. 9/11: One kind of relived the pains of 9/11 on this 5 year anniversary, and the TV were very very graphic in their account of the day, but I suppose it was important that we remind ourselves of the loss of those people and those wonderful twin towers. INTREPID FOX: One minute, you are drinking in your favourite pub, as you have been for 20 years, and then suddenly you hear that the landlord has 3 weeks to get out, and the place is to be demolished. It's those sort of times when London's destruction really hits home. Another landmark goes, but this time, it's personal! The Fox is an important establishment, but easy game for the budding developer. ASTORIA (CHX RD): Same goes for the nearby Astoria venue, opposite Centre Point, a fine music hall in the way of CrossRail and another easy target for the greedy guzzlers. Seen some of the greatest concerts there, and it's so centralised, as to be fabulous. I'm afraid it could be doomed. TURF WARS: And lastly, it's getting farcical out there, what with two free newspapers battling for readers on the streets of London. They cant even give them away! One is chased down the road by opposing vendors with their freebie rag, desperate times. More litter, of course, and less rainforests. Goodbye, till next month.

Sep 2006 Betjeman is in our thoughts 
Greetings architecture lovers. It's been a Betjeman season on TV recently to celebrate the old war horse's birthday, not that he's around to enjoy it, but we are here to enjoy the patron saint of preservation's good works in the London area. Sadly, his and mines greatest loss, the Euston Arch, still lays in bits, somewhere on river beds and gardens, his highness of Betjeman too late to save the drowning granite. Oops! Did I not mention a thousand times that my interest in the dear old arch was the main reason to start this website, only 5 years ago this month. And the first page I made was in homage to that great arch... Damn those developers all to hell. Anyway, we all shall raise a glass or two of gin & tonic to the great poet himself. Cheers! Oh well, 5 years it's been, a voyage of self discovery, where I, along with my wonderful readers, view travesty after travesty in the digusting mutilation of London town. I thanks everyone for the nice letters over the years. No sooner had I made the first London Destruction page 5 years ago, then we heard the news from New York about the World Trade Center, a lovely building in which I spent many happy hours, now flattened by such evil. What a terrible day that was. I havent been back there since, I do want to, only to pay homage to an old steel & concrete friend, and to mourn to loss of the poor souls who died on that day. We will remember them. Otherwise, this past month, I made a visit to the New Change building next to St Pauls, soon to die for a shopping centre. New Change, a massive red brick happening, is not so striking, and yet the foyer, is. But, draw breath on seeing what's in store for the plot, and you might see more and more beauty in the present building. Do we really need another shopping centre? Things were looking bad, until I read about the proposed extension for the Tate Modern, and nearly choked on my tea. Oh..... no. Reminds me of that excrement of a design they had lined up for the poor old V&A. I thought we'd seen the last of this outrage. Sadly not. Oh well, bye for now!

The London Destruction Website.