From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Posts Tagged ‘History

Sunday Swoon. 10th November 2013.

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I’ve not blogged for a while. I was thinking today that a lot of the things I put up on my weekly round ups really inspire me (apart for food, that’s just a primal urge I guess). I’m genuinely grateful that music can move me to tears, books can transport me to another place and London never ever fails to impress and engage me. Anyway, it’s been a brilliant week.

1. I’ve had to try to limit the amount I watch the Spike Jonze directed live music video for Arcade Fire featuring Greta Gerwig. The song Afterlife is hugely emotive but I love how dance really adds to the sentiment behind this track. Frances Ha is definitely my favourite film this year and Great is perfection in this creative genius.

2. I’ve just finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I barely put it down. Cleverly told story of an eccentric and brilliant mother told via traditional fiction interspersed with emails linking the characters together from an author responsible for the likes of Arrested Development and SNL.

3. I’m guilty of emerging from most gigs with the glow of alcohol rosy on my cheeks sighing “that was my gig of the year” on most occasions but Villagers at Heaven under the arches on Thursday really was utterly magical. I think it’s a modern indication of a bands brilliance live by the lack of mobile phones you see glowing in the crowd. I barely saw one, the audience rapt and attention focused on being in the moment.

Seventies advert on Platform 2

Seventies advert on Platform 2

4. Aldwych disused station tour only opens a handful of times a year and we were lucky enough to travel underground on a guided tour with London Transport Museum. Did you know not only did the station shelter thousands of Londoners during the war but also the Elgin Marbles and armed guards kept watch over the National Galleries collection? The station is a listed building, the history fascinating and has been used for films, shelter and drills during the Olympics last year if something was to go wrong with hundreds of people on the tubes. If you ever get the chance to do this don’t hesitate in booking up. More photos on my instagram.

Remnants of when Aldwych station was called The Strand

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Sunday Swoon. October 13th 2013.

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1. Pizza Pilgrims permanent home on Dean Street in Soho has stolen my heart. Although all that usually takes is somewhere that serves a Negroni (they do) the pizza’s here are the best in London served by happy smiles and polite staff (the complete opposite of how Pizza East seem to be serving people recently). Order the Napoli Salami and you’ll never look at a pepperoni again. I’ll be making many return visits for a pizza fix and next time I want to save room for Affogato (vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso). Two pizzas and four (alcoholic of course) drinks came to £36.50.

2. Aside from my sister chanting “Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher” Have I Got News For You, and especially Ian Hislop, was the first thing to make me not only pay attention to politics and the press (closer bed fellows than we once thought) but to also make me question what I was being fed. That would have been as a teenager (it’s been running for twenty-three years). This week I got to sit in the studio audience, completely in awe and giddy with nerdy happiness. Amazing experience.

3. I was heartbroken when LCD Soundsystem called it a day. But my heart is slowly healing seeing as James Murphy is filling his time remixing, elongating and producing tracks from some of my favourite artists. This week his mix of David Bowie’s Love is Lost.

4. You only have one more week to see The Memory Palace at the V&A, it’s worth dashing to South Kensington for. Hari Kunzru latest work of fiction is a walk in book with illustrations from illustrators, designers and typographers, set in  future London. From lamenting the NHS to glimpses of our Olympic Village in ruins. You get to save one memory in this future. In the V&A you get to submit yours at the end.

Tony Ray-Jones. Approach.

Tony Ray-Jones. Approach.

5. The Science Museum has opened a Media Space and launches with Only In England. Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr. This runs until March 2014, photographers and people curious in our culture and social characteristics would find this fascinating. Both men documented English life, focusing on our seaside towns. Shots of Margate and Broadstairs especially giving me that warm cosy feeling of reminiscing of our family holidays to those destinations. Above is Tony Ray-Jones approach to photography tips, don’t take boring pictures being my favourite. Below is from his note-book.

“British characteristics and qualities. 

Love of tradition

Love of stability
Art of compromise & muddling through
Privacy
Apathy & indolence [from the security of the welfare state]
 
A country lacking in drama and yet the people have a fine sense of drama”.

Sunday Swoon. March 24th 2013

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1. Polica live wasn’t quite what I was expecting but by singer Channy Leaneagh’s own admission she was finding herself “out of sorts and nervous” at Shepherds Bush Empire this Thursday. But when I’m sat with a rum and coke next to amazing friends watching live music then I’m always going to be blissfully happy. Especially as Wandering Star means a great deal to my closest friend who was there with me. Also epic double drummers are always a treat to watch.

2. I read my first Ray Bradbury book this week and can feel a new obsession coming on. Something Wicked This Way Comes made me miss tube stops, read under the duvet and utterly fired my imagination. For any bookworm who has been as rubbish as I at discovering him treat yourself this weekend. His writing is poetry at times light and in love and at others dark and gothic.

3. Adam Buxton’s BUG is something I instinctively knew I would adore before ever getting the opportunity to see it. Tuesday at Leicester Square Odeon I laughed more in those three hours than the entire month. I’ve since realised that when people have asked what BUG is I can’t do it justice with my summaries. “So he reads YouTube comments out…” is met with strange looks as I elaborate. So just go, laugh and still be smiling about it days later. To quote one enthusiastic Bowie fan mentioned “He is the tasty egg of my breakfast glory”.

4. The BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere played all last week. I don’t listen to audiobooks and only ever listen to 6 Music so this initially felt slightly odd  for my brain. But I was soon lost in London Below as an amazing cast (Benedict Cumberbatch, Sophie Okonedo, James McAvoy, Bernard Cribbins and Natalie Dormer to name a smattering). I’m not sure how long it will be on iPlayer for but turn off the lights and listen to it, Dirk Maggs has done a tremendous job and the music featured is stunning.

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5. Finally Wilton’s Music Hall will get its own blog post at some point down the line as it is thoroughly deserving of its own limelight. I visited on Saturday for the historical tour and a quirky, borderline immersive, theatre production of The Great Gatsby followed after. This grand but crumbly music hall hidden away between Whitechapel and Shadwell epitomizes why London is such a great historical city, much like Dennis Severs’ house in Spitafields. I am booked in for a further two events so expect a fuller more detailed post soon.

Jimmy Doyle – Hoxton Boxer

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Our great (and evil) Aunt passed away recently, aged 97. She lived a spartan existence and there was no evidence of the memories we collect through our lifetime. No photo’s or letters. There was however a press clipping about Jimmy Doyle who would have been my grandad’s half-brother.

For a long time I’ve toyed with attempting to research my families chequered and colourful history. The paternal side of my family are from Hoxton. Back in the days when trousers not meeting your ankles was down to having to get clothes that didn’t fit from the missionaries because you were poor, and not because you’re a hipster. Finding out about Jimmy, former professional boxer, and local lad who kept the local boxing club during the war and kept score during the 1948 Olympics, has made me more curious to find out more.

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The photo’s aren’t fantastic and the print has worn down but I have transcribed what we believe the full newspaper clipping says.

“The man who defied Hitler’s Luftwaffe to keep Hoxton’s Crown and Manor Boys’ Club open throughout the war years is dead. Former professional boxer, Jimmy Doyle, who devoted a lifetime to running the Wiltshire Row club, died recently aged 84. Past and present members of the club paid tribute to their former leader whose service spanned 29 years. As a youngster he boxed as an amateur with the Hoxton Manor Club and won two London Federation of Boys [illegible] 1922- 1924. The Hoxton Manor Club merged with the Crown Club in 1939 to form the present Crown and Manor Club. He became assistant leader of the Crown and Manor Club when it was formed in 1939 and two years later he became its manager. “He managed to keep the place open during the war despite it being bombed” said club spokesperson, Dave Munday. “After the war he continued as club manager, being appointed a boxing score: during the 1948 Olympics. He finally retired from club activities in 1959”.

If anyone has any experience or tips on tracing family history I’d love to hear from you.

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Written by Anon PA

January 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Sunday Swoon. January 6th. 2013

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1. I cannot recommend a visit to Dennis Severs’ house enough. At 18 Folgate Street in Spitafileds stands a house frozen between 1724 and 1914. While I could bore you with my adoration and excitement of every room from basement to attic part of the wonder was going in blind and uneducated. Don’t read up too much, Dennis Sever intended for us to let the sights, sounds and smells fuel your imagination. I think if I went during each season I would have a different experience each time (so I plan to do so this year). You can book via their website.

2. There’s a ton of new music due out shortly that I’m geeking out over. Starting 2013 off with a new Pulp song produced by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy is a start I wasn’t expecting.

3. Life of Pi is one of my favourite books and it’s hard for me to believe I first picked it up 11 years ago, intrigued by the cover. I always get itchy when films do their take on literature. This is visually beautiful, one of those rare films where 3D does add to the overall experience. My only concern is people are going along to look at the animals and missing the spiritual message that is key to Yann Martel’s book.

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4. Voodoo Ray’s on Kingsland Road, Dalston, is officially my number one pizza spot in London (Franco Manca’s held on to its title for a year). Authentic New York pizza by the slice, Brooklyn lager, super friendly service that comes with genuine smiles and a very talented in-house artist who decorates the pizza boxes.

5. I wish I’d had thought to do a Twitter Q&A on The Hobbit when it was released, answers courtesy of my mum who knows everything there is to know about the book. I didn’t realise just how much of a super Tolkien nerd she was even though this would have been one of the fist books she read to all her children. I loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy from Peter Jackson (it’s funny to see how dated it now looks). The Hobbit didn’t disappoint, although no need to pay extra for 3D. Great to see so many English Actors in main roles.

NB: You can tell it’s Christmas blockbuster time at the cinema seeing as I’ve been twice in the space of two weeks. That’s nearly half the amount of times I went during the whole of 2012.

Sunday Swoon. July 8th

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From old Bedlam’s bones long underground to the tallest building in London’s skyline…

1. I thought I’d have one of those rare moments of clarity when I stood with thousands of other people dotted across London waiting for The Shard to light up and laser beam its arrival across the city. Like a literal light bulb coming on in my head and telling me what I wanted to do with my life, what I had to achieve. Nothing. Still, we spend so much time ignoring one another in London it felt communal to all be littering the streets for the same spectacle and it was worth heading to London Bridge for the choral “Whooooooooooo” that resonated the moment it lit up, and the laughter that immediately followed the well-meaning, if slightly sarcastic sounding, response. For all the miseries professing the anti-climax of it all I am glad I was part of the crowd.

2. As Crossrail build a new line across London they have given archaeologists access to the sites affected, Bison to Bedlam was held in South Molton Lane on Saturday. A free exhibition which makes you see a rail company in an entirely different light but more importantly gave you access to talks from Museum of London and Oxford archaeologists. Fascinating, utterly mind-blowing. From a post-medieval chamber pot with the words “Oh what I see I will not tell” inscribed inside to a piece of amber found in canary wharf dated at 55 million years old (photo above). I do hope Crossrail continue to support their archaeology programme.

I have to mention a man called Michael Henderson who was talking us through the remains of a Bedlam patient for his superb and engaging talk, but also for his response when someone asked them if they’d named the skeleton yet. He looked bemused, furrowed his brow and said “Errr… No. We don’t really do that”.

This chap hasn’t been as lazy as I in dedicating only a couple of paragraphs. Here’s a full blog from London City Nights if you want to read a full review.

3. I had truly given up any hope of Tilly and the Wall returning after four years since their last release but Monday morning I woke to the news of an album due out in October and this new track, Love Riot. Perhaps too kitsch for some they truly are one of my favourite bands. A tap dancer instead of a drummer. What’s not to adore. This feels a bit Bow Wow Wow to my ears. 

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