Thursday, 27 February 2020

And Now The Weather…

DC Editor Adam writes…

As regular readers and walkers will know, I like to brag that I last looked at the weather forecast in earnest back in November 2018.

I don't – shock horror! – have a weather app on my phone.

As I blog this, the rain is rattling on the office skylight above my head (it's about 6:15a.m on Thursday 27th February). I figure it's going to be a bit of a cold and rainy day ahead. Maybe even snow or sleet.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how – I firmly believe – they update the weather on the BBC website and app… by looking out of the window.

Let's look at the facts:

It's February… we are pretty far up the northern hemisphere here in London… so the weather's gonna be pretty shitty from time-to-time.

When the lovely folk who join my walking tours ask, "Is it going to rain?" I reply, "It's certainly possible…".

Which, let's face it, is a fair summation of almost all weather forecasts.

Is London especially notorious for bad weather? I really don't thinks so (he types as the rhythm of the rain on the skylight goes from Ravel's Bolero to Stravinski's Rites Of Spring!) but I do think we have A LOT of weather. By way of example, here's a photoblog from the archive - snapped around this time of year back in 2018 over the course of four consecutive days leading walking tours…






Early March 2018 and I walked in, through and beneath…


White, green and pink in Chester Square



A Constable sky in Kensington


Milky sunshine in Trafalgar Square



A River sunset reflected in Vintners Hall




A sodden Spitalfields


See you out there! Book my public, scheduled tours here…








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Monday, 10 February 2020

Winter Sunset In Trafalgar Square

DC Editor Adam writes…

It's a quintessential London glad-to-be-alive moment – a winter sunset over Trafalgar Square.

Once seen, never forgotten…






But it's worthwhile keeping an eye on your fellow Londoners also enjoying the view. It's stirring stuff, a real moment of bonding in the centre of Western Europe's busiest city. The camera phone has woken our poetic souls…













P.S. "The Colly" just up the road doesn't look too shabby, either……






My Public Scheduled Tours for 
February 2020



13th February 2020 – Inside Covent Garden – 10am Covent Garden Tube

13th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

13th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)


14th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

14th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

SOLD OUT 15th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

15th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube


27th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube


27th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

27th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)


SOLD OUT 28th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

28th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – The Beatles + The Rolling Stones in 1960s London – 10.30am Leicester Sq Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube










Keep In Touch…

   


Saturday, 8 February 2020

Winter Tincture

DC Editor Adam writes…

I'm reblogging this one from the archive.


It's widely regraded to be my weirdest post.

Enjoy? 



Outside in all weathers, tour guides know a thing or two about battling the cold weather. So what do we do if we catch a cold?

Here you go.

Don't say I'm not good to you…





The Daily Constitutional Cough Tincture




I fear I am beginning a journey into eccentric old age akin to that of Kurtz in Conrad's Heart of Darkness – when they send a team to get me back, I will be too far gone to ever return home.

I have taken to making my own cough medicine.

In my all-too-rare moments of clarity I catch sight of myself and sigh, "Dearie me."

Having said that, it is outstanding cough medicine.

Here's the recipe…



You will need…

50g Soft Eating Liquorice

Balsamic Vinegar

Dried Sage

Chamomile flowers

Honey

Whole cloves



Method


Chop up the liquorice into small pieces and place in a pan with half a mug of water.

Add a good glug of Balsamic Vinegar and 6 cloves.

Bring to the boil, stirring continually, and simmer until the mixture is slightly gloopy and the liquorice has more or less dissolved.


While the mixture simmers…

In a mug or small teapot, place three heaped teaspoons of dried sage and one teaspoon of chamomile flowers. Fill with boiling water and allow to brew for a few minutes – for about as long as a good cup of builder’s tea.

Strain the mixture and add the result to the simmering liquorice solution.

Stir in 2-3 table spoons of honey.

Strain into a jar or bottle.


How To Take…

This tincture works best as a gargle.


Exercise caution with the cloves and never replace them with clove oil, which is much more potent and can burn, even small quantities.


And please take note: don’t keep it hanging around in a bottle/jar for more than a couple of days, due to lack of preservatives. Similarly, don’t brew up vast amounts of the stuff as it is sure to go off and/or blow up your medicine cabinet.






My Public Scheduled Tours for 
February 2020



13th February 2020 – Inside Covent Garden – 10am Covent Garden Tube

13th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

13th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)


14th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

14th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

SOLD OUT 15th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

15th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube


27th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube


27th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

27th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)


SOLD OUT 28th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

28th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – The Beatles + The Rolling Stones in 1960s London – 10.30am Leicester Sq Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube








   


Friday, 7 February 2020

A Slice Of Rock'n'Roll History

Archive: First posted back in September 2010 from the Rock'n'Roll London walk…



Meet The Stringtones!

Adam writes…

“The Stringtones are back! A mere 44 years after they last graced our shores, 60s Swedish rock’n’roll sensations The Stringtones are back!

That’s them pictured below: six of the nicest fellas I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting on a London Walk.


Their story is this: back in 1966, this vocal and instrumental combo arrived on these shores for an audition with Vicki Wickham, the producer of legendary pop TV Show Ready Steady Go!

On the same visit they stopped off to hear some live music at the famous Marquee Club – one of our ports of call on the Rock ‘n’ Roll London Walk. I had to ask: ‘Who was playing that night?’ Their casual answer: ‘The Yardbirds.’

In 1966 this would have been the incarnation of The Yardbirds with Jeff Beck on guitar – the man who succeeded Eric Clapton in the role of lead guitarist. Beck played lead on the successful singles Heart Full of Soul and Shapes of Things.

As it turned out, another path beckoned The Stringtones and the Ready Steady Go! gig didn’t materialize. But they made it back to see us here in London. And it only took them 44 years. Of 1966, they said:

‘We had a great time. AND we got to see The Yardbirds.’

Thanks for joining us guys.”


A little later I added this…


Remember The Stringtones? The chaps from Sweden who joined us on my Rock’n’Roll London Walk a few weeks back? They were back in London for the first time since 1966 when they’d been auditioning for the greatest TV pop show of them all, Ready Steady Go.

Well, Anders Ericson of The Stringtones has been back in touch.

“We, The Stringtones, had a wonderful weekend in London remembering most of the moments we had in 1966. We even had a wonderful start Thursday before our Rock'n'Roll Walk, listening to Alan Price and Zoot Money at the Bulls Head in Barnes.

“Please find enclosed,” he writes, “a photo of The Stringtones at Piccadilly Circus in 1966.”

Here it is…


Anders also included…

“Photos from Marquee and the concert with The Yardbirds with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, 44 years ago.”


The first remarkable thing about the picture is that fabled guitarist Jimmy Page is playing bass guitar, the role in which he originally became a Yardbird – he would later move on to dual-lead guitar alongside Beck.

The second point of note is that the photo captures Page in his live debut with The Yardbirds at the Marquee. The date is 21st June 1966. At the mic is Keith Relf, the Yardbirds frontman who passed away in 1976.

Anders adds:

“I also have a photo of the band who played before Yardbirds. I do not know the name.”



Having done a little digging, we can tell Anders and the rest of The Stringtones that the support band is Clayton Squares, a Liverpool group noted for their twin saxes. Signed to Decca (forever the label who turned down The Beatles) Clayton Squares broke up a few months after this picture was taken.

As a P.S Anders adds this pic of the Rock'n'Roll London Walk on Denmark Street…




Thanks to Anders and the guys in The Stringtones for sending these great photos.






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Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Variations On A Theme Of Kensington I

DC Editor Adam writes…

One of my NEW tours for 2020 is Musical Kensington – Variations On A Theme Of W8. Over the next few weeks I'll be building and sharing a playlist to accompany the tour.


The playlist will feature pieces, songs and artists associated with the route of the new tour as well as the wider Kensington neighbourhood beyond – everything from Queen to Flanders & Swann.

In introducing the Kensington Playlist there’s only one possible starting point. Hubert Parry and his most famous piece, Jerusalem…


   



The Royal Albert Hall will be one of our ports of call on the Musical Kensington tour and Parry is woven into the fabric of the place. The most famous night in the calendar of the concert hall affectionately nicknamed "The Kensington Gasworks" is the Last Night Of the Proms – and Jerusalem is a cornerstone of the night.


We swing by Hubert Parry’s former residence on the regular Thursday afternoon Kensington tour, too…




… and he'll also play a part when we discuss the Royal College of Music on the new Musical Kensington tour.


The second piece is, perhaps, a little more off-the-beaten track.

I’ve been listening to the music of 20th Century English composer Sir Arthur Bliss (1891 - 1975) lately - inspired by Tom Service’s excellent BBC Radio 3 programme & podcast The Listening Service.



Download & listen here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06gy3b3


My Bliss-binge, combined with the changing of the seasons - spring will be underway when the Musical Kensington tour goes out – brought me to Bliss’s The Approach of Autumn from his ballet Adam Zero (1946).

Bliss wrote the piece while resident in Kensington, at 15 Cottesmore Gardens where he lived during the post war period.


   


Adam Zero was premiered at Covent Garden in 1946 with Constant Lambert* conducting. Lambert was also a sometime Kensingtonite, residing at 42 Peel Street from 1929-31. The piece is melancholy and intensely dramatic, dominated by pensive woodwind and nagged by chilly strings. I love it…

   

Bliss was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music in 1953 and in this capacity he composed pieces for the funeral of Winston Churchill and the investiture of the Prince of Wales.


In 1936 he composed the score for the early British sci-fi film Things To Come (based on H.G Wells's The Shape of Things To Come). Here's the trailer with Bliss's histrionic score wonderfully at odds with the stiffly posh actors…





Bliss is represented elsewhere on the London landscape with a blue plaque in Hampstead.

   


I'll be updating my Kensington Playlist over the next few weeks.

I’m out and about in Kensington every second Thursday leading the Old Kensington tour for London Walks - book HERE.


Musical Kensington - Variations On A Theme Of W8 joins the London Walks repertoire on Saturday 3rd may at 2.30pm. Book here…





*Constant Lambert, influential 20th Century conductor, composer and critic will crop up later in the year on another of my NEW tours Musical Marylebone which goes out in November.


My Public Scheduled Tours for February 2020


13th February 2020 – Inside Covent Garden – 10am Covent Garden Tube

13th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube



13th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)


14th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

14th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

SOLD OUT 15th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

15th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube



27th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube


27th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube



27th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)


28th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

28th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – The Beatles + The Rolling Stones in 1960s London – 10.30am Leicester Sq Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube












Keep In Touch…