From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Posts Tagged ‘Book Worm

A Hoxton Childhood (Back In The Day)

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Shortly after moving to east London this year the book A Hoxton Childhood by A.S Jasper came my way from my cousin. At the time of reading I had moved to the area where the book is set, an area where my paternal side of the family were born and raised. I blogged back in May how the words in the post script really touched me.

“Be thankful that you were born now and not then. Go forward, but try to be tolerant of your parents along the way”. A.S Jasper.

This Wednesday my aunt and I listened to A.S Jaspers nephew, Richard Penny, read that exact sentence at the books official reissue in the Broadway Bookshop, along with A.S Jaspers son Terry.  A cousin brought this book into my life, two cousins have met after researching their family tree and republished this historical document.

Living in the area, and being lucky enough to wander the streets with my Dad and hear his stories has meant the world to me this year. I walk down Crondall Street and laugh at dad telling me about the “Crondall crumpets” (it seems the girls living on this road were once quite up for it). My dad could run street tours on his life in Hoxton.

Until I persuade him to do this A Hoxton Childhood is a real east end family tale, where people still find something to laugh about when all seems hopeless and doomed, that stood by one another. Christmas is lurking fellow book worms, buy a copy for your families and heed those words I quoted above.

A Hoxton Childhood. Left, reissue and right, 1971 copy.

A Hoxton Childhood. Left, reissue and right, 1971 copy.

Written by Anon PA

October 11, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Sunday Swoon. September 22nd 2013.

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George the Dog John the Artist

George the Dog John the Artist

1. Any Shoreditch local will recognise George the Dog and John the Artist from his usual spot outside Dishoom on Shoreditch High Street. John Dolan is an amazing London artist and has often found himself homeless, I got to meet both man and dog. He has sat sketching the ever-changing surrounding area over the past couple of years and this has resulted in his first exhibition, hosted by Howard Griffin Gallery. Well known street artists have collaborated with him for the exhibition. When I visited all but one of his paintings had been sold, one that praised David Cameron on a bill board (yet look closer and you’ll see what John really thinks, don’t be fooled). The exhibition is due to end this Thursday but Bird at the gallery told me they’re hoping to extend it. Do whatever it takes to visit. My cockles are throughly warmed this evening.

by John Dolan

2.  I have just finished Falling and Laughing: The Restoration of Edwyn Collins by Grace Maxwell. Told from Grace’s, Edwyn’s wifes, point of view after he unexpectedly suffered a stroke in February 2005. An honest account of the long road to recovery, the effect it had on both Edwyn and his family, the small and significant triumphs, the precious moments of laughter and the steely determination it takes to keep taking one step at a time. A book that will make you count your blessings and help find perspective.

3. Solange has released a video to accompany her amazing track Lovers In The Parking Lot. I desperately want light up laces and acid house pants now. Stylish and sharp. Oh to have one bone as cool as her in my body.

E.Mono Shawarma

4. I’ve been meaning to visit Kentish Towns E. Mono since Giles Coren gave it a glowing review in 2011. Slightly tipsy I stumbled in there Saturday, finally at a meaty mecca. I don’t care what zone you live in this place is worth the trek. Friendly service, the shawarma was stuffed full of sweet tasting pickled peppers, crunchy red cabbage, shredded salad, chilli  and garlic sauce with chunks of partly fatty, part crisp chunks of lamb. All for £5.

5. Finally the latest video from Local Natives for Ceilings. Hummingbird has to be one of my favourite albums this year. This song wraps up the summer for me, especially seeing flashes of Glastonbury in it.

Sunday Swoon. December 2nd

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Not a peep of a Christmas song despite the fact it’s December, I shan’t punish you all yet…

1. The partnership of Hot Chip and Peter Serafinowicz continue their artistic relationship as he directs a third music video for them. Don’t Deny Your Heart was released this week. Spot the controversial refused handshake at the start of the Football match and try and work out where it will go from there.

2. Anyone sauntering past a book shop recently would have spotted The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Joasson as it seems to be in every window I pass by. Lovable characters from one unique imagination. Highly recommended read, would make a good stocking filler for a book-worm.

3. Finally got to see Mystery Jets live this week. Five albums in and somehow they’ve always alluded me but it was worth the wait to see them headline the Royal Festival Hall. Beautiful set taking us to sunrise through to a full moon, birds fluttering across the desert scene of their Radlands. Appearances from a gospel choir and Laura Marling to name a few. I was still grinning two days later from this gig.

5. Apart from Mystery Jets the song I’ve had most on repeat this week is Local Natives with this beautiful track Breakers. I’ve added them to my Glastonbury wish list.

Sunday Swoon. February 5th

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The second week of Sunday Swoon is brought to you by the following….

1. So far 2012 has brought a run of fantastic books to my eyes, and yes I am fully aware we’re only a few weeks into the year but I’m a bookworm and when they’re as good as When God Was A Rabbit I can’t put them down. Charming story of a girl called Elly that stretches from her childhood through to her thirties. Loveable characters, tragedy and charming hilarity. The best review I could find (that doesn’t give away the entire plot) comes courtesy of David Hebblethwaite for Huffpost if you want to read more.

2. Galleries & Museums. Had a blissful day with dear friends on Saturday. First at the Hayward Gallery for the brilliant David Shrigley exhibition where I left wanting to scribble, feeling like a creative juicy fruit. Then a chilly stroll up the The British museum where I fell utterly in love with a roof. Yes, you heard correct. The mummies fascinated me, the ancient Japanese scrolls impressed me with their minute detail. But it was the Norman Foster roof that wowed me the most. Major swoon.

3. M.I.A is B.A.C.K. Fell for this track immediately, video is another piece of genius from her. Only problem for me personally is every time she’s on the scene I get an itching for Hi-Tops and I am not a girl who would suit them in the slightest. Press play and you’ll be chanting “Live fast. Die young. Bad girls do it well”. Addictive.

4. I am massively clumsy. I am the one that will stumble across the needle in the haystack, discover said needle carries a disease and I’ll realise my tetanus is out of date. Due to these reasons snow actually terrifies me, always convinced that on the first tentative step I’ll end up on the floor with a broken hip. I usually enjoy the view safely indoors, this time I took my long-johns outside to get a closer peep. Yes I did fall over. It wasn’t so scary.

5. Album of the week goes to Django Django. First time I heard the track Default on the radio my inner monologue was screaming “I can’t put my finger on what this reminds me of”. I love that feeling, when something feels sparkly new and original to your ears. Listen to their album, and if it reminds you of someone else please keep it to yourself. I want to keep this feeling, it’s so rare. 

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Eggs and Tadpoles

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I grew up in a small seaside town, the type that Morrissey was scorning in Everyday Is Like Sunday. From a young age I learnt how to sneak into holiday camps, how to prise a Winkle from its shell and that if a bird shat on you it was good luck. I also fell in love with books.

Brixham had a small, tiny library in the town centre. It was essentially a hut. Spurred on by my mothers bedtime readings of The Hobbit, Funny Bones and Mrs. Gaddy and the Ghost (my favourite) we would visit the library on a weekly basis and choose a book for the week. A practise that I sadly suspect has declined over the years.

The book that I took out of the library the most was what I referred to as “the eggs and tadpoles book”. For some unknown reason (Feminism, a belief that we should choose our own books, a belief that knowledge is power) my mum let me continually check this book out of the library. Continually. I don’t exaggerate. I loved that book. It was a polite and inoffensive introduction to the reproductive system which left the below image burnt in my brain.

My odd obsession thankfully did not result in an over sexed teenager (in fact the extreme opposite as I was a painfully awkward teenager with bad skin and slightly batty enough to remain ensconced in my own strange little world but that’s another story), leaving my mum worry free and eventually able to be head of the local schools library once we were all at senior school. It seems her entire life, even that strange land us children can’t get our heads around, the time before there was an us, my mum has surrounded herself with books.

I have strong memories of seeing books being dried on the radiators, their pages crinkling under the heat and the print blurring from the shock of water, after she’d inevitably dropped them in the bath. A habit passed down from mother to daughter along with a love of reading.

It’s National Libraries Day on Saturday 4th February. It’s so important we keep literacy alive and our libraries from becoming extinct. Do go support your local library, even if it means getting out a book on the reproductive system.

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