Meanderings of an Londoneering Castaway.
A series of Charles' occasional observations. He does go on a bit... Shuffling soon to a street near you.
Self Preservation Society
Dear wonderful readers, hello again, and welcome to this summer time edition of my boring diary. Actually, summer hath returneth once again, so the view from my window is rather excellent. Makes life in London all the more bearable, don't you know
This last month, I made my pilgrimage to the Shard of Glass building in London Bridge area, and my word the old thing is coming along rather well. Massive footprint it is, taking up more floor than the old London Bridge building that used to be there. It sure as hell dwarfs that Guys Hospital next door, and its only just a fraction of its construction. I cant wait for it to be up, that will be weird seeing that. Anyhow, I walked around the backstreets from Borough Market to the Elephant, and saw some amazing sights, including the old Copperfield Street Studios. Then, at the Elephant, I took a look at this new skyscraper they have there, which is quite amazing, as there are three wind turbines built into the roof structure, and I think it's a fantastic creation, although rumour has it that these turbines are non operational, thanks to a type of technical cock-up. I could see some men at the top working on it, believe it or not they have a robot arm up there, like on the space shuttle, but instead fixed 300ft up on a tower block, and it has a platform at the end of it that people can stand on. Good grief, it looks so unsafe. There were a few mugs on the platform taking a look at some very motionless turbines, but if those turbines had come to life, those men would have been heading groundwards, that's for sure. What a sight.
Oh well, took a bus back up to town, it was some weird old stock. No, not a routemaster, but an earlier type of modern thing that might have been rescued from the countryside. And then another bus, through town, and its so nice to see London from a bus, especially going over the bridges. I could do that all day. Oh well, if it were not for the bus driver trying out the brakes. We all had whiplash from that event you know. And they quite often close the doors on you when you try and get off. How could they be so terrible? Maybe all the love they had is gone thanks to all the abuse they get, or maybe even attacks, for those drivers on night buses. Now there's a job and a half. Drivers in London live behind protective screens, but if you go elsewhere in the country you might see a driver without that screen, and it looks so strange. I'm so used to seeing a driver safe behind his defences. Now everywhere, a service has to be provided from behind a screen, banks even some smaller grocery stores in London. Oh dear. It doesn't have to be like that. One against one.
One thing to end on. Every warning sound in London is getting louder. Police and ambulance sirens, announcements on the tube. Its all so ear piercing. I think its all too loud now, bad for the ears. It used to be OK. But that Police siren now is just dangerous. And the tube, well, its now too loud, but several announcements sounding at once. Stupid.
Right, that's enough. Time to put my feet in a nice bowl of warm water. Ahhhhh. Goodbye everyone.
Hello all youze Architecture lovers out there. Welcome to my very seldom read website. Read by only a select few, like myself and the cat. And summer is upon us again. I look from my window to see the window box has come to life at last, although it is a breeding ground for ants and probably malaria. All my windows are open, actually, and there's a horrible smell of smoke. Just who in the neighbourhood has decided to burn down the street, and why are there no sirens. On inspection I find that there is more than one idiot trying his luck at a Barbecue or 'Barbie' and this annoying arsonistic contraption is placed against the house, usually surrounded by extreme combustibles, and is being lit by a madman using inflammables that should be kept acres away from naked flames. Ok. Watch idiot try to burn down the street so that his friends may enjoy some charcoal burnt flesh with a stale bun. Do we put this man in the stocks and throw this burnt food at him? If only.
Well, if not for that stink ruining the atmos, I note in dread that the otherwise peace of the area is destroyed by that well known World Cup hangover called the Vuvuzela, which a family have bought for their young one to blow incessantly. Sometimes its hard to keep ones windows open even in the height of summer. I was hoping for fresh air and the sound of songbirds but I get all this nonsense. Its not like the fifties you know, unfortunately.
So, any London Architecture news. Er, sorry, I'm afraid that will all have to wait, indefinitely. But I do note that pix in the papes show the ever developing Olympic 2012 site. Wake me when its all over. Actually, I do see from afar some more sky scraping buildings around the city, so please drag me from the pub one day to take a closer look. Sorry, this architectural diary is truly terrible
Ok, so I went out to the shops. Do you really want to read this rubbish? Good. Went to the shops. God this is more boring than Facebook. Went to shops. On the way, took note of how many bins had been unemptied. Saw a rat as big as a small cat. Saw a community recycle bin where someone had filled with car tyres! Is that really ok? They usually burn these in the back garden. You just had to laugh. I don't know how often that empty the bins here, I just don't have too much rubbish, but it seems like its every three weeks, and the whole place stinks of rotting waste. Went to get my free Evening Standard but it had sold out already. What happened to all those vendors there used to be, selling ES into the early hours? Must have been hundreds of them. Went into Sainsburys and there were still no ES so I thought I would read the newspapers. Honestly I am very careful with the papers in there, but I think most people treat the papers with contempt, as they are usually in a very bad state, with pages strewn everywhere, and inserts on the floor. Why do people do that? I read the newspapers there, but replace them neatly and as they were. Then I got my errands, and went to the tills, avoiding those self service checkouts, and going for the human one. I hate those auto checkouts, just there so they can sack the Till Girls and save a few pence on wage bills. Well stuff it, I aint gonna use them. Said good day to the nice Till Girl, and headed for home. Well, what a riveting diary, hope you didn't fall asleep whilst reading it.
Time to go. Thanks for reading this. Oh that's Ok, I enjoyed reading this, because I wrote it too. Oh yes, so you did. Why doesn't anyone else read it? I don't know. How the hell should I know? Sorry.
Black Belt In Origami
Dear Readers, hello to you all. And here we all are, in London Town, blessed by a wonderful heatwave. I suppose I should visit the countryside whilst the heat is on, but, shan't. Anyway, went to Tate Britain this last month, and it was full of naughty schoolkids spoiling the atmosphere, and destroying the place. How awful it was. They even had massive loud speakers in one of my favourite galleries bleating out horrid contemporary noises and lots of kids running around flicking paint and food everywhere. I suppose its so fashionable to bus these vile truants in from wherever so that it might put their asbo aspirations in check, but this was disgusting. They could have stayed at school and done the same thing and not annoyed the gentle art lovers that were trying to enjoy things. Oh well, had to suffer this treachery. Meanwhile, the galleries that were not upset by all this hell were of wonderful pieces and glorious colours. Pity the Tate do not position their lights so they do not reflect off the glass and into your eyes. How can you see the paintings if all you can see is light reflections in the glass? Stupid.
On one of my visits I spotted some of this insane Cycle Superhighway. Evidently the mayor has spent zillions of pounds digging up the roads so to lay new tarmac. Blue tarmac, in fact, and not the old green stuff they used to use for cycles. Anyway, now that this is done, all at mass expense, the same old syndrome applies: Cyclists ride wherever they like and break any law they like and try and maim pedestrians, whereby any motorist that strays accidentally into one of these superhighways gets an inappropriately superhigh fine or maybe 20 years in jail. All this makes these Stupidhighways beyond a joke, but then again, what's new? Ok, this is ridiculous. And the blue colour does not look right at all, does not go with the urban decor, a rather sickly looking blue, like gunk
Trying to explain the TV licence to people from other parts of the world is so difficult, I don't know why I started, and I guess that the antics of the TVLC who are like the thought police of Licensing or maybe the BBC Gestapo, well, their antics are incredible. So you pay for a licence, and then can get a TV. The license costs the same whether you live in mansion with 300 TV's, or live in one room and survive on eating candles, you still pay the same amount. If you don't have a TV, the TVLC assume that you do anyway, and hunt you down until you get a license anyway just to stop the threats. A strange situation no doubt. Actually, its just as well you are not charged for every TV that you have, as that means everyone would now be a suspect, even the millionaire who only had 299 TV's and was suspected of having 300, but the search warrant revealed that he forgot to count the TV in the toilet, so he was fined and sentenced to death. Shame
One last moan. Where the hell is the One Zone Travelcard? I'm sure they used to have one. Ok, this is the real last moan, and that is about that crap Crossrail, that is coming to an area near you, I mean to say, who is safe? Any moment now an enormous drill head will grind out from the ground in the middle of the high street and thousands of cars and people and shops will fall into the black hole until only a wasteland is left and then bulldozers will arrive to wipe out 5000 acres of house and schools to create one huge mega stations in your area. Then the Crossrail parasites will move onto the next town, until London is just one big Crossrail Station, no people, no houses, no love, no businesses. Nothing
Three Lions On A Shirt
Hello everyone. Well, I finally got round to telling everyone where my website had gotten too. Maybe they thought I had passed on. No, it's just that those miserable people at Yahoo decided to stop being my host. Obviously I did not have the ca$h revenue to keep them interested. Damnation! Oh dear, it's election fever in Britain, time for me to sleep until it's all over.
This last month was rather spoilt by my sudden visit to the TCR area, that is, the bombshell that has landed opposite Centre Point. I had put of this visit for many months as I didn't want to accept that it was happening and that a major part of London was being demolished to make way for some crackpot scheme to line the pockets of the money maniacs. It was with with deepest sadness that I rounded the corner to see that it had really really happened and gone was the Astoria, the Dionysus fish bar, all that 19th Century architecture. And the mess! Traffic chaos. The stink and the noise of it all. Horrific. Absolutely awful. And all those lost memories. This was London Destruction at its worst.
Yes, all this election fever was making me ill. All lies and more lies. I hate them all. All the platitudes. Why does anyone take it seriously? All this political correctness too. And this meddling with our services. Just put everything back as it was in the fifties. Then, there was no knife crime, no kids hitting teachers, no louts everywhere. You could see your GP on the day if you wanted to. No one gasped that the NHS should be 'free at the point of use' = what the hell does that mean? And everyone was proud of their country, didn't put it down all the time. On the other hand, they were the times before buildings were preserved, so I guess they didnt get everything right. But there was politeness and respect. I didnt remember all these political hogwash, which has got worse and worse. The parties are all the same. I don't believe the spin. Hung parliament? Yes please. And drawn and quartered.
Got some council snoopers snoop about. I thought it was electioneers but it was council idiots with cameras looking at ways of increasing the tax. Is bad enough they have the racket of car clamps and parking fines, but now snoopers. Saw this Home information pack for home buyers, just another database. Everywhere a database. Council were digging up the road again, widening the pavement again, blocking off a few more roads. We are all part of a mass social experiment. And now the election, they want to know how we think, how we vote. Ghastly.
Suffering at the hands of the great volcanic ash cloud. Not an iron bird in the sky. War, bring our boys and girls home. 9/11: They said they would never forget. Strikes, more terrorist threats: The enemy within. I went down at the tube station at midnight: The drunkard special was quite full: I love the tube. Some man tried to read a broadsheet whilst standing in a very full carriage, the paper's leaves flapping in peoples faces, just as usual. Most other people were busy reading their texts, or novels. Everywhere the litter of the free newspapers, just thrown onto floors or onto seats- why do they do that. Lady putting on her make-up= I like watching that, how do they do that whilst the train shakes violently from side to side=they never seem to smudge= and how about that thing they do with the eyelash curler contraption torture machine thing! Blood hell. Some loud Australians who always look like they've finished some sporting event, and are glowing. And hey, I thought alcohol was banned on trains?
Anyway, thanks for reading, I'm going into hiding until a new bunch of fraudsters gets elected, and then I'll be around to assess the damage limitation. Until then, farewell, and keep safe.
The Politics Of Dancing
Good Morning London lovers, welcome to my latest offering on the world wide web. And so it came to pass, that I managed to get on top of my chores at last. Those never ending chores. And I just dont mean the Laundry. I was back upon the computer again. Oh yes, and I am of course, trying my best to remain anonamous, lest those horrid governmental rogues create an evil dossier on myself. No need for any Orwellian cameras in our homes folks, as most of us just willingly write everything about ourselves onto the internet, photos and videos included. The Illuminati must be laughing themselves to sleep at the stupidity of the masses.
Anyway, hello out there. Its soon to be general election time, and do we have to listen to all that hogwash from the fraudulent windbags in power? Let me utter the word 'Duckhouse'. Remember? Ok, enough said. I'm going into hybernation. But first let me moan about London. Heard the latest? Its that behemoth Crossrail again, not content with demolishing an age olde corner of Soho, this killing machine now heads for the Bond Street area where secret deals are even now being signed to wipe out an area next to Oxford Street. Oh no. Isnt this Crossrail so worthless. As I often say, how much more of London do we have to destroy to make way for bloated schemes of developers, or to increase tube capacity for increase population? Why not flatten the whole of London and make it one big station surrounded by one big council house estate?
Bravo, although I do feel its all too late. This country and its traditions and Architecture will change through stealth and sheer force of numbers, so if the speculators dont wreck things... Around the corner in East London they still seem to be finding limitless cash to make the Olympic Games structures, just the thing when we are all suffering from cutbacks. I've always said that these games should remain in Greece where they belong, but those piggy politicians have forced the go ahead on this unremarkable tragedy, just for prestige and TV rights, where the only thing worth watching is Ladies Beach Volleyball. I'll be glad when its all over.
Ok, its coming up to 30 years since Battersea Power Station stoked its last boilers and shut down. I'm surprised its not fallen down, it being such a sad wreck. Such hatred has been dished on this poor old building by the catalogue of owners. Its now a 30 year old history of abuse. Heads should roll, but the money men get away with it once more. I did hear once they wanted to make the chimneys into four giant wind turbines, but I think that was the tabloids trying to wind me up (!). Lately, some waffle has been on the grapevine, I think another deal was made, another plan, another monsterous scheme was divised. Sorry, I couldnt really take it too seriously, this having another group of developers grubby handprints all over it. Pass the sick bag.
Lastly, but no leastly, I did notice all these big blue patches painted onto the roads, this being the repacement for all those previous big green patches on the roads. Basically, this is the mayorship and the police competely screwing with our beloved road space and yet again cocking it up. All for the sake of those namby pamby cyclists who cause so many accidents these years. With mine own eyes I have seen cyclist go through red lights, and other times plough through pedestrians, quite often swearing in the process. One nearly hit me two years ago, missed my by inches he did, and at that speed I would surely have been injured. If anything, it has now made my look both ways no matter where I step off the kerb, and then I keep a greater look out for bicycles coming up on the inside. Maybe I'm safer for it, but this is criminal, and cyclists are collectively becoming more and more dangerous. Its not enough that we lose some to the tyres of juggernauts, we just have to ban them from the roads. And as for them thar blue patches, wipe them out now. Cars on the road, bicycles to the back yard, where they can do any harm
Well, thanks for reading, must put the kettle on now, and break out the buscuits. Cheerio!
See What A Fool I've Been
Oh hello all you architecture lovers out there. Actually, if you are reading this, then chances are that you are reading this some months since I wrote it, and its a strange state of affairs that led me to not update my dear old website. But yes, it is March 2010 as I write this. Icy winds doth make London a rather unusual place. We still have fun here, just in case you think that we just sleep through the winter. Anyway, this is the worst period of internet usage for me since I started on the net in late 1997. Don't even touch it at the moment. Might as well be dead.
Went out several times to several pubs. Some of my favourites were too noisy, being destroyed by an intense hi fidelity system somewhere, or, being crushed by too many people making too many people type noises. Too many humans, and no peace. The beer was nice though, although I suppose this was time for a country retreat. See you in the summer, all you country lovers. Anyway, the decor of these little London pubs was outstanding. Afterwards, it was to a large bag of chips I turned to, just to compliment the night. Wonderful. Thinks: I remember a time when people were actually allowed to smoke in pubs, and I sometimes forget how awful that used to be: I have to remember that this was one of the greatest advances of modern times: To think that them who smoke are really banished from most public places: Some things are better after all, and I've been taking that for granted.
Saw a Robin bird with red breast, it woz brilliant. Also a Fox, starving, didn't bother running away, just sat down near me in the dark. Too many Pigeons in London though. I'm afraid I'm bored with Pigeons, they are too successful, and people keep feeding them, which is stupid. I would like to see more Robins and even some domestic cats, but I suppose they all get eaten or are not as successful scavengers as the Pigeons. I thought they had banned feeding Pigeons in Trafalgar Square but I did see some mugs throwing seed at some rather fat Pigeons who were on the verge of exploding from having too much seed inside them. Trafalgar Square was great as ever, love that Column and Lions, I wonder if I should have climbed onto the Lions? No, too touristy... In the corner, there was a TV crew, and plebs were standing behind the announcer making faces. Others were doing that thing where you phone someone up and say "Turn on the TV! I'm on TV right now!" and then wave at the camera. I didn't know there were still people who were so thick that they would still do that sort of thing.
Most people on my recent day out did indeed behave rather thick or stupid or even like savages. No respect for others any more. No law and order, especially from kids, who seem to think it is correct to be horrible. This applies to many adults too. Its so much more violent on the streets. Its like subtle violence, physical and spoken. I think that successive governments have encouraged this behaviour until it has become the norm. People on the streets express themselves this way as thats how they are taught. And a lot of this stems from this behavioural stupidity that has been forced upon us. Anything goes. I prefer the ancient ideas of dignity and politeness. And yes, I want the old ways brought back and preserved.
Oh well, my last rant is about good old Bus Drivers, like the three in one night who closed the exit doors onto myself and my friends as we were getting off. And then, most trips we took were like at some theme park, as the Driver tested out and showed off how good his brakes were and how fast he could accelerate and then brake sharply. Sadly, us land lubbers were in a panic about to vomit mode. Luckily we had all bought our expensive Travelcards so we did not have to beg for the 'free ride' that several passengers seemed to get away with. "Just to the end of the street" was the plea, but they were still hiding on the back seat after 2 miles. I wouldn't say that these dodgers were freemasons, but they all seemed to have a good thing going with drivers.
Anyway, thanks for reading this rubbish. When I get the chance I will upload it to the site, which might be never, so why the hell am I writing this paragraph? Its one of those jobs that you put off... for always. Goodbye anyway, person who will never read this...
What About The Workers?
Hello again. As ever, dont spend any time at all on my dear olde site, now in its ninth year. Why? I used to be on the net all the time, and now, just trying to sort out my life. You know how it is? Just give me a chance, you people. And so, in these cold winter months, I have mainly been working, sleeping, eating, and more sleeping. Fantastic. You cant beat a bit of sleep. Unless theres a good social event to go to. You cant beat that either.
Anyway, as to architectural events in London, I've been mainly avoiding them. As usual, its an unending story of pure horror. I dare not look at the TCR area, where they have destroyed a major part of the West End just to build a new tube station. And after the next population increase, what will they do then? Knock some more of London down for a bigger station so London just becomes one big station? What idiots. Why couldnt they have just left things alone...
No, I'm sorry, normal service here may one day be reasumed on this website. And I hope that we are all still alive when it does happen. I have been meaning to get to the Aylesbury Estate area at the Elephant, but I read that the bulldozers have been given the go ahead. I did get out of the station, looked at the Shopping Centre, which still looked intact, and left it at that. It does hurt to see demolition in progress. Whilst I was there I saw a new skyscraper there which seems to have gone up since my last visit. Looks quite grand, actually. I wish they had saved the council estates though...
Celebrated the opening of the Burj Dubai in, er, Dubai, the tallest man made structure ever, which has been already renamed something else. I wonder if I'll get there someday. Scared of the wierd customs though, although those customs may get introduced in London sooner or later, so it wont matter. I think this construction is appealing, and a more interesting use of energy, rather than destroying parts of Soho for a station, or parts of the Elephant to please developers, the Burj is just a dream in the desert.
Ok, so I admit that my architectural conservation moans are now only exclusively from an armchair. I can see the success and failure of mankind on the small screen, and either applaud or groan at the result. Like today I was making vulgar noises at the TV when I realised that NASA was cancelling their moonbase project, now what a building that would have been. Ok, instead of that we get money spent on war, religion, politics, and bankers bonuses. Damn it all. One of my main long running thoughts is that we will never be free or safe as a species until we leave this earth and colonise the universe. Until then we are oppressed and controlled and under threat from destroying ourselves. But if our universe grew we could populate to infinity, escape politics and religion, and keep the Earth safe, maybe just for the occasional tourist group. Now we look so doomed, stuck on this polluted planet, never to strive out and guarantee real immortality.
Alright, I'll stop now. Obviously I've had too much tea today. Thanks for reading this. I will write to you all again next month. Goodbye.
Fight for your right to party
Hello everyone. Apologies for the lack of attention this ailing site is getting. Seems like my internet usage is down to nothing. At least now, the government cant read my thoughts and words. Great. Nowt worse than minority reporting. But for all of you snowed in, here is me, writing from London in England, and all snowed in. Ok, I dont get out like I used to either. I'm in one of the most buzzing cities in the world and I just stay in. How awful that is.
Here is the news, or lack of it. My only contact with London is as ever, the tube, subway, underground. It's a pleasure to go down to the depths of this system. Must be about ten degrees warmer down there, which is a splendid thought in these times. Tubes have been empty over the xmas period and beyond, and seem to be running OK.
Got my free Evening Standard. Saw a gang of hooded louts try to 'steam' a shop, only to get kicked out by the gang of people that lived there. That was good. Went to a supermarket somewhere in London and found some automatic checkouts where they have dispensed with humans, or should I say fired them, in favour of 'serve yourself' options. I told my friend we should avoid them and go to the human tills at the other end. Looks like these auto tills are a failure, everyone is using the human tills and moaning about the auto ones whilst doing it. Whats more stupid is that the store has to employ loads of staff to help people work the auto tills. Why bloody well change what we had. Auto tills... I aint using them.... yet.
Ok, this snow, frost, ice, lowest temperatures. Global cooling? Oh who knows. Global excuse for tax rises. Really. Good grief, is this the 21st Century? We are going backwards. We are dead already.
So if you are reading this, Mr government man, or if you are reading this, you government computer that scans the net and makes black lists of certain key words, you will of course note that I dont wish you well at all. You label me, and I label you. Personally, I'm alright with the world, as I have a glass of wine and a block of cheese, and I'm wearing my christmas jumper. Actually, there was a time that we had governments with a conscience that would usually not put thru legislation that might be going a little too far, but I think now that the reigns are off. Heaven knows what life will be like in the future with surveillance and religions running our lives, and progress down the pan. I think its all over.
See you next time. This is Charles, last survivor of London Town, signing off.