Sunday, 30 June 2019

I Love Wimbledon

Adam Scott-Goulding writes…

Wimbledon starts tomorrow.

I love Wimbledon. And I love London. What a great two weeks we have ahead.

Way back in 2013, when Andy Murray – back then just plain old MISTER Andy Murray – won his first Wimbledon singles title, my friend Moray was spending his Sunday evening, as so many of us did, in celebrating the Scot's famous victory

Moray, like Murray, is a Scot.

Mid-celebrate, there was a knock at Moray's door. It was his Serbian neighbour bringing him a bottle of something nice by way of congratulations.

A Serb and a Scot serving up a gladiatorial festival of tennis at the All England Club in green and pleasant southwest London. Serbs and Scots celebrating and commiserating together.

I love this city.

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Saturday, 29 June 2019

Karen's London Walks Tours for the Month of July 2019

Public tours led by Karen Pierce-Goulding for the famous London Walks company in the 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.

Karen writes…

Come and join me on a London Walks tour!

Pay on the day or book in advance via Pay-A-Tour (no booking fees).

Old Westminster

Saturday 6th July 2019 11:00a.m
Saturday 20th July 2019 11:00a.m

Meet at Westminster tube (exit 4) 

1,000 years of royal history, politics, architecture & scandal (!).

Tour ends near Westminster tube

Darkest Victorian London

Monday 8th July 10.45a.m

Meet at Monument (Fish Street Hill exit) 

A vivid exploration of Victorian south London.

Tour ends at London Bridge tube

A Village in Piccadilly

Monday 8th July 2019 2.30p.m
Monday 22nd July 2019 2.30p.m

Meet at Piccadilly Circus tube (by Eros)

Royal history and fancy shops!

Tour ends at Green Park tube

Past The Palace

Tuesday 8th July 2019 2.30p.m
Tuesday 23rd July 2019 2.30p.m

Meet at Piccadilly Circus tube (by Eros)

Offbeat royal history.

Tour ends at Green Park tube

British Museum Highlights

Wednesday 17th July 2019 2.30pm
Saturday 20th July 2019 2.30pm

Meet at Russell Square tube 2.30pm

Tour ends at The British Museum

Legal & Illegal London

Wednesday 17th July 2019 11:00a.m

Meet at Holborn tube 

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Friday, 28 June 2019

The Last Days Of Bookspotting on The London Underground

DC Editor Adam writes…

Don't get me wrong.

I'm all for new technology.

But with every technological advancement, something changes.

Sometimes we have to give something up – something that we have grown rather fond of – to make way for the new stuff.

And that's what is currently happening on our Underground trains as we move over in ever-greater numbers to e-readers.

Bookspotting on the London Underground is becoming an endangered pastime.

As I glance along my carriage right now I can see three e-reader devices. Many of my fellow passengers are reading Metro, the free newspaper. But the books on display are still revealing and surprising.

At the far end of the carriage, a 20-something guy is reading a Terry Pratchett paperback (from this distance I can't tell which one, but it is predominantly blue in colour so may well be the very funny Mort). Sir Terry was also once listed – dubious distinction, this – as the author most likely to be stolen from libraries.

Next to Discworld Boy, a 20-something woman is reading a battered Penguin Classic (an olive green one from the 70's or 80's). Two seats along from Green Penguin, a woman is fanning herself with a chunky potboiler. (I am rather snobbishly assuming it is a potboiler because it has shiny, embossed lettering on it although I can't actually see the title because she is wafting it quite vigorously.)

When she stops wafting, I can see that it is Edward Rurtherford's Dublin. I make two mental notes: one, to re-read his excellent London, and the other… not to be so sneering about books with shiny, embossed lettering.

At Shiny Embossed Woman's shoulder is a man in a suit with a walking stick and he is reading something called Interpret the Earth: Ten Ways to be Wrong. Very intriguing title, a book I’d never heard of, and I jot down the title for future reference.

Next to Serious Book Man I see The Invisible Man – okay, I didn’t “see” The Invisible Man, ha-ha, I saw someone reading a newish Penguin edition of H.G Wells’s classic. A few Metro newspapers along from him there’s Ian Rankin’s Tooth & Nail – in which Rankin’s Edinburgh cop Inspector Rebus comes to London).

I’ve lost count now of the number of times I’ve been inspired to buy a book having seen someone reading it on the Underground – that's how I discovered the graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

It was my first graphic novel experience and I doubt that I would have thought of it without having been “prodded” by my fellow passenger.

My Book Snob self can see the advantage in an e-reader: I can now read trashy fiction in public without fear of judgment from others in the Book Snob community (and we are a very judgmental bunch, dontcha know).

But as the e-reader slowly, but surely, spreads through the carriages of the London Underground, I’m enjoying the tail-end of an era. Someone’s just got on at Highgate clutching a copy of Marx for Beginners. Very Highgate.

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

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Spider-Man In London

DC Editor Adam writes…

You will have spotted by now the poster for the forthcoming Spider-Man movie on the Tube featuring Big Ben (sans scaffolding)…

It's all VERY exciting. 

Spider-Man has visited us here in London before, of course.

In fact if you pop into Orbital Comics on Great Newport Street (as I did last Wednesday) you can pick up this reprint of the London-set adventure Trap For A Terrorist (first published back in the 1970s)…

Regular readers and some of my walkers will already know how much I love my comics and cartoons. For new readers, you might want to catch up with my Cartoon & Comic Book London blog, covering everything from Scooby Doo to Spiderman to James Gillray. 

It's a while since I've updated it, but I hope you'll find something fun to fascinate your London curiosity there.

A little later in the year I'm hoping to stage my walking tour Pow! A Cartoon & Comic Book Tour Of Westminster again, so watch this space…

Click the Email button at the bottom of this post if you'd like to book a private Cartoon & Comic Book Tour.

In the meantime, here's a repost of my Spider-Man & Marvel in London piece from 2015… 

Panel 13: Marvel in London

As we saw in an earlier post, Disney has long-loved London. In recent years Marvel has grown to love us, too, with film adaptations of The Fantastic Four

The Silver Surfer above the London Eye

And Thor

The God of Thunder catches the tube
… being filmed here in the capital.

But using film adaptations on my tour is cheating a little bit. I'm looking for cartoons and comic books. And, as with Disney, Marvel seems to be in love with Big Ben…

I absolutely LOVE this cover from the 70s! 

There's Big Ben plopped down right where the Tower of London should be! One London landmark just wasn't London-y enough. The red double-decker pushes the point home. Great stuff.

Our tale sees Spidey battling terrorists on a bridge that looks a little more like the Brooklyn Bridge than our own dear Tower Bridge.

It's a lot of fun and highly theatrical. But illustrator John Romita shows his research chops in the detail. I particularly love the street lamps…

… the like of which can be found in Westminster and along the Embankment. Nice touch.

Tower Bridge also features in a more recent Marvel book, Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet. In fact, here I am at my desk reading said publication instead of working…

Deadpool is a sociopathic mercenary with a mordant line in wisecracks. His superpower – to remain almost un-killable thanks to special regenerative powers – is also his undoing. His moral dubiety and bleak worldview seem to stem from his invincibility. His life is truly relentless and he is duly jaded. The process that turned Wade Wilson into Deadpool has left him physically as well as mentally scarred. Complicated, deeply politically incorrect, and very funny, he's my favourite Marvel character by quite some way. 

At the commencement of Dracula's Gauntlet we find Deadpool spiralling toward London in an out of control helicopter. And here we go again with the Big Ben/Tower Bridge thing…

And where the hero usually gets the gal, here's the gal running away from Deadpool when he takes off his mask to reveal his less-than-moviestar visage…

The drawing of Tower Bridge here seems to have been based on source material dating from the mid 20th Century, with almost industrial surroundings (it's all clean and shiny today).

There's also a great fight scene with a vampire at the base of the Victoria Memorial as a guardsman looks on impassively from his sentry box and, as with Spiderman, that third London icon, the red double decker, makes a cameo appearance…

A less knockabout Marvel title is Neil Gaiman's Marvel 1602 (published in 2003) illustrated by Andy Kubert. 

This eight-part series sees Gaiman take classic Marvel super hero characters and place them in Elizabethan London. A typical bravura feat from the wildly imaginative Gaiman. (My 7-year-old daughter* is currently reading The Sleeper & The Spindle, his collaboration with one of my cartooning heroes Chris Riddell, for the second time since Christmas.)

(*She's 12 now and still loves Neil Gaiman.)

The London locations are subtly handled by Kubert, my favourite being The Temple church…

The cover…

…is inspired by a sketch featuring the gunpowder plotters of 1605…

…a London tale that will take us neatly on to our next stop with Alan Moore's modern classic V For Vendetta.

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