Wednesday, 26 May 2010

London eye

After a rummage I found the list I referred to in the robot bar post. It was (of course) in a shoe box under the bed. I've put an asterisk next to the ones I've actually visited.

Karl Marx's Tomb
Top of the list and still not been. One for autumn.

Thames Flood Barrier
Probably made a big impression on me in the days when I used to watch Blue Peter. A bit awkward to get to I think.
The Blind Beggar*Rubbish, just a really boring pub.

The Prospect of Whitby
Because my parents had their engagement bash here. And it's got a funny name.

Boat from Westminster to Richmond
On a hot sunny day. I like falling asleep on boats on hot sunny days.

Greenwich Market
Other than I love markets not sure why this was so important.
Savoy GrillVery intimidated by big fancy restaurants so haven't been here yet.

Regents Park Zoo
Walked past it a few times, not really bothered about this one now.

Row on the Serpentine
I like rowing. A friend of a friend fell in here once. Couldn't have happened to a nicer person.

Hampstead Heath*
Nice, but to misquote Scoobius Pip, just a park.

Somerset House*
Been a few times but not for ages now, can't really get there in a lunch break anymore.

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir*
Absolutely mindblowing. Everybody was very friendly but I felt like an interloper. I'd be peering at a statue and someone would come along and start praying to it. Weird.

Brick Lane Market*
Went a few years ago - had a fantastic day.
Sherlock Holmes statue*Walked up and down Baker Street looking for this and somehow managed to miss it. Maybe he was being polished that day.

Peter Pan statue
No longer care about this, I'm less whimsical these days.
Old Bailey murder trialI worked just round the corner for years and never popped in.

Globe Theatre
Still really want to do this one. Quick check of the website...Henry IV, pt 1, that's a possibility.

And two that weren't on the list but which I'll add now:
Big BenLike in the Thirty Nine Steps. My fear of heights and of oversized Victorian machinery probably adds up to this being a fairly nightmarish experience, but I can't help myself.

Battersea Power stationI’ve always wanted to get close up to this. I read a great article (in the Independent I think) proposing that instead of developing the station it should be allowed to stand as a picturesque ruin and the area around it should be a park. I think that’s one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard. Instead we will of course get a boring bloody hotel/luxury apartments/shopping mall monstrosity. That’s if they don’t just knock the thing down outright.
And finally, one that was on a proto-list but which had fallen off the list I found.

Wormwood ScrubsJust to walk up to the gates - are you allowed to do that?

Monday, 24 May 2010

My beautiful caff

Wandering about Kingston at brunch time last Monday I was saddened to discover that the Eden Cafe had closed for the last time. Such was my job dissatisfaction recently I did some research into opening a cafe. Just the fun bits really – coming up with a menu, costing the various bits of kitchen equipment, trying to decide on the seating, looking up retail leases. Stuff like that.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Phallus uber alles

Have you ever heard of The Monument? Built by Wren, to commemorate the Fire of London? I hadn’t until my dad mentioned it in passing during a tale about his going to see a rugby final at Wembley back in the day. Once I’d heard of it I had to go – it just sounded so weird. A giant, freestanding Doric column? Tucked away near London Bridge? It seemed so unlikely.

Anyway, it was still there and so obviously I had to go to the top. I’m not good with heights but as the ascent was up an enclosed, narrow staircase I thought I’d be alright. This was disproved about half the way up when I suffered a severe dose of the fear caused by a crowd of Italian school children surging around me on their way down. At the top my previously unimpressed wife started to gambol about saying how great it was and cooing at the view. I held grimly onto the hand rail and, with leaden legs, made the one circuit of the viewing platform demanded by my pathetic male pride. You get a little certificate for going to the top.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

The lost robot bars of London

When I moved down to London I made a list of places that I was determined to visit. I've not seen it for a while, but from what I can remember I don't think I've done very well over the last decade. Cynthia's Robot Bar is one of the places I did get to. It was a bit depressing actually, the robot Cynthia wasn't even switched on.

Anyway, I was thinking about doing a podcast with the theme being "Robot Disco", I only got so far though.

Imitation Electric Piano: What We Do We Do

I reckon that's the riff from "WIld Flower".

As you might know (or have guessed) Imitation Electric Piano are a Stereolab off-shoot. The track above is from the excellently titled "Blow It Up, Burn it Down, Kick It 'Til It Bleeds" - an album I was drawn to after hearing the impossibly breezy "I Mean Wow", which I wasn't going to post because it's not really robotic sounding, but I've mentioned it now...

Imitation Electric Piano: I Mean Wow

Friday, 7 May 2010


It's not so bad is it? The Tories are in a bit of a spot aren't they? They can either try to go it alone and be humiliated in the Commons on a regular basis. Or they can be left outside of a Lib-Lab pact. The other option of the Lib Dems supporting the Tories just seems so unnatural, with such glaring descrepancies between virtually all their policies. How can that lead to a strong and stable government?

The best Cameron could offer in his first statement was something called the pupil premium - I'd not even heard of that. How can the Lib Dems countenance going into alliance with a party that wouldn't give them anything on massive issues like Trident, tax, Europe and PR? Members of one of the parties (let's face it, the Lib Dems) are sure to be left very disappointed and left wing supporters (the majority? And me, for instance) will leave them in droves - just in time for the next, probably quite imminent, general election. Does it seem insane to think that Labour are actually in the best middle to long term position?

Two mad election things - one of my sisters in law voted Tory. It took a whole day to establish that she wasn't just winding us up. I can't believe it. My wife's sister I'm glad to say, my own family name remains untainted. Secondly, one of my oldest friends has featured quite prominently in the election coverage - he's the copper getting all the abuse in the polling station in Sheffield.