Sunday, 7 April 2019

My Upcoming London Walks Tours

DC Editor Adam writes…

Dear All, 

I'll be away from The Daily Constitutional (and also from my walking tours) for two weeks (starting tomorrow 8th April).

I'll be back on the blog (and the streets!) from the 23rd. Here's my schedule of public tours with London Walks for the last week in April…

London Horror Story

Tuesdays 23rd & 30th April

Saturday 27th April 

Meet at St Paul's tube 7.30pm

Ghosts, murder and mayhem - 2,000 years of dark history

£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…

The Rock'n'Roll London Pub Walk with LIVE Music

Wednesday 24th April 2019

Meet at Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1) 7pm

£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…

Old Kensington

Thursday 25th April

Meet at High Street Kensington tube

A walking tour of London's royal village…

£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…

Inside Covent Garden

Thursday 25th April

Meet at Covent Garden Tube 10.00a.m

The West End revealed - looking beyond the shops and chain caf├ęs to the rich history of London's playground. Where possible, we'll take in a few interiors, too.

Tour ends in Trafalgar Square

£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…

The London Music Tour

Friday 26th April

2pm Tottenham Court Road tube (exit 1) 

The history of pop and rock music in London…

£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…

Want to book a private tour? Get in touch!

Keep In Touch…


Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Bart! 10 Reasons Why Lionel Bart Is My Hero

DC Editor Adam Scott Goulding writes…

On the 20th anniversary of his death, here are 10 Reasons Why Songwriter Lionel Bart Is My Hero…

Lionel Bart pictured in 1962 on the sleeve of Blitz!

• East Ender, True Londoner

Lionel Bart’s trajectory seems nigh-on a fairy tale today. He was born Lionel Begleiter in Stepney in 1930. His Galacian Jewish parents had fled the pogroms. His talents in art (he was a scholarship boy at St Martin’s School of Art) and then music saw him rise to the very top of England’s post-war creative establishment.

• Oliver!

Oliver! opened at the New Theatre in the West End (now named the Noel Coward Theatre) in 1960. Oliver! remains his most famous show and it ran for 2618 performances and has enjoyed three successful, star-studded revivals since then. But regardless of who plays the show-stealing role of Fagin, the songs and the lyrics remain the stars of any production.

You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or TwoI’d Do AnythingWhere Is Love?It’s a Fine LifeConsider Yourself… a banquet of memorable tunes as rich as the repast envisioned in the opening number, Food Glorious Food. Witty words, too:

Peas pudding and saveloys  – what next is the question?
Rich gentlemen have it boys in-di-gestion!

But it's not all about the clever-clever rhymes. On As Long As He Needs Me, Dickens’s simple London girl Nancy is unencumbered by fancy rhymes. Bart’s plain speaking love song is totally in service to the character. Even the great Sondheim, as a young lyricist on West Side Story, made this mistake – his equally simple Maria is almost buried in flashy lyrics. And Sondheim was trained and influenced by the best. Bart knows instinctively when it is right to show off with language and when to rein it in. The gift of a true Cockney.

And let’s not forget the sleeping partner, here: C. Dickens. Surely a composer can’t go wrong when borrowing from such a book? Think again. Back in the 60s, a musical of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s failed to survive previews on Broadway; closer to home, the musical of Tess of the D’urbervilles flopped spectacularly.

Bart and Dickens collaborate seamlessly. Bart comes neither to bury Dickens with his music nor praise him with reverence. Bart’s chutzpah in approaching the project as Dickens’s equal is VERY East London: we're the equal of anyone. And this delicious brashness flavours the entire work. But more important than that is empathy. Empathy is the key to the success of Oliver!: both Dickens and Bart loved London. Both men experienced tremendous poverty here. It is the perfect collaboration.

Oliver! took 23 curtain calls on its opening night.

• The Sheer Energy & Drive of The Man

Music, book and lyrics ALL. An egomaniac? I would jolly well think he was. A force of nature? Well that comes over clearly in the work. Only a boy running from the very real spectre of poverty could travel at such a lick and achieve so much along the way. Where are the 21st Century Lionel Barts in a show business establishment that seems, like our political stage, to be peopled with the privileged?

• He Started The OTHER British Invasion

Oliver! was the first modern British musical to be a hit on Broadway. It was already a hit when The Beatles arrived to play Ed Sullivan. The Beatles' impact on American popular music was, of course, instant. Bart’s was more of a slow-burning revolution. In Bart’s wake it was the pop-influenced composers such as Lloyd-Webber and Rice who grew to dominate the world of the musical by the 1980s. Bart was the pioneer. And he had to surmount greater obstacles than his Liverpudlian counterparts. The Fabs, let’s be honest, met with very little resistance on the bland American pop charts of 1963. Bart, however, had to hold his own in a golden age with the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

• Self Taught Pop Music Genius

I never think of Lennon and McCartney as composers without thinking of Lionel Bart. Together they are the giants of mid-20th Century British popular song. We still exist in their shadows today. That all three were autodidacts only adds to their legend.

• Fing’s Ain’t Wot They Used T’be

Harder to love than Oliver! but a classic in its own right, Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be (1959) was staged at the Theatre Royal Stratford under the auspices of the great Joan Littlewood. More a play with music than a traditional book musical, Fings… transferred to the Garrick and ran for 886 performances. The piece brought the Cockney accent to the West End in all its profane glory in a way that was neither patronizing nor stagey. This is Brecht & Weill and John Gay through the picaresque prism of a blitzed and battle-calloused East End. Please sir, can we have a National Theatre revival?

• The Rise and Fall

Hollywood wouldn’t dare make it up. From somewhere beneath rags to beyond riches, from Stepney to Kensington. The rise is exhilarating. There’s also the crucial fall from grace that allows the Greek chorus of middle England to chime, “I told you so” at the Icarus fate of ambition on such a visible scale. “He didn’t,” they tut, “fulfill his potential.”

Fulfill his potential! He wrote Oliver!! In this alone he fulfilled the potential of 10 composers. What a show.

In his ravenous approach to life, again: what a show.

If he’d been born in Hell’s Kitchen there would be a theatre named for him on Broadway.

Why no such commemoration in the West End? 

Does his multiple-outsider status – gay, Jewish, working class – make him unfit for such an honour? 

Or is it the perceived vulgarity of his fabled rise that makes the theatre establishment turn up its nose. Here’s the story of the famous golden bathroom fixtures by way of illustration…

• Best Line

Bill Sykes to Nancy when she asks whether the rogue loves her or not. The black-hearted Bill’s reply? Salty, veiled but not coy: “I live with ya, don’t I?”

• Best Song

As Long As He Needs Me. And here’s Georgia Brown (another Londoner) giving it LARGE on Ed Sullivan…

• The Exclamation Mark!

Oliver! So much more thrilling than plain-old Oliver. Every! Musical! Should! Have! One!

And that’s why Lionel Bart is my hero.

Keep In Touch…


Monday, 1 April 2019

In & Around London… Less London

DC Editor Adam Scott-Goulding writes…

Monday is ALMOST mute here on The Daily Constitutional. I always launch the week with a few London photos, grouped on a theme or neighbourhood.

This week: Less London

The controversial findings of the Mayors 4:1 Committee dedicated to finding ways of reducing the size of London were put into practice just over a month ago. Today we see just how The London Reduction Scheme  or Less London as it is popularly known  is already progressing

The Shard, as you can see, is already a third of the way dismantled

and it should only be a matter of time before the Olympic Stadium dis-erection programme reaches its final phase

And its not only modern structures that are being cleared. Some unsightly period properties in Waterloo are being methodically taken down ready for imminent transfer to the Museum of London where they belong

No.1 Canada Square at Canary Wharf, as you can see from our picture, has already been reduced to a pile of sand

Meanwhile his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, having personally pressed the button to swing the wrecking ball at that dated carbuncle Clarence House this morning, today takes up residence at The Barbican (pictured below). This 1960s development was once described by Prince Charles himself as being the most picturesque, the most beautiful, the most totally, eye-wateringly bloody lovely development in all England.

More news from the 4:1 Committee and its Less London programme to follow after I've had a bit of a lie-down

The Monday Photoblog will return next week. In the meantime, if you'd like to share a London photo with me, please do! Perhaps you joined me on a tour and snapped a great shot. Drop me a line.

Click the button below to book a place on one of my scheduled public tours…

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Sunday, 31 March 2019

My London Walks Tours This Week

All the scheduled public tours led by Adam Scott-Goulding for the famous London Walks company in this coming week.

Tours last 2 hours and cost £10 for adults, £8 for students & seniors. 

Click the Book Your Tour buttons to pay & reserve your place. 

Bookings are handled via our online shop Pay A Tour. There are NO booking fees.

A Village In Piccadilly

Monday 1st April 2019

Meet at Piccadilly Circus tube (by Eros) 2.30pm

Fancy shops and royal traditions…

£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…

London Horror Story

Tuesday 2nd April

Meet at St Paul's tube 7.30pm

Ghosts, murder and mayhem - 2,000 years of dark history

£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…

The Rock'n'Roll London Pub Tour with LIVE Music From Your Guide

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

7pm Tottenham Court Road tube (exit 1) 

The history of pop and rock music in London with pub stops and LIVE Music from your guide!

£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…

The London Music Tour

Friday 5th April 2019

2pm Tottenham Court Road tube (exit 1) 

The history of pop and rock music in London…

£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…

Saturday 6th April 2019

11am Marylebone tube 

The Beatles in London – tour ends at Abbey Road

£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…

Want to book a private tour? Get in touch!

Keep In Touch…


Saturday, 30 March 2019

Clocks Go Forward Sunday! Name That Clock 5

DC Editor Adam writes…

Don't forget that the clocks go FORWARD on Sunday! So it's TIME to play… NAME THAT CLOCK!

Regular readers will know that I never miss an opportunity to post this pic…

Click the button below to book a place on one of my scheduled public tours…

Keep In Touch…