We’ve looked at the concept of musical memorial benches on Another Kind Of Mind before, after I came across the late Ian Dury’s lovely bench with a view in Richmond Park last summer. It was not long after this that I was told about another bench in the London area commemorating a real musical hero of mine, someone I have also written about before – the wonderful and much-missed Kirsty MacColl, who was killed in a shocking boating accident in 2000 (the same year her Stiff Records labelmate Ian Dury died too).
Those who know Kirsty’s work will not be surprised to hear that her memorial bench is situated in London’s Soho Square, or that its plaque quotes lines from her song of the same name. Funded by fans and admirers, who still visit the site each year around about her birthday to pay tribute to her, the bench was unveiled in a public ceremony in August 2001 – exactly twelve years ago today it seems, strangely enough.
Before we start, I’d like to make it clear that I am very much a Bowie fan – indeed, when I compiled my Top 100 favourite songs last year, he was one of only a very few artists who appeared on my list more than once (‘Suffragette City’ and ‘Rebel Rebel’, if you’re interested!). I have long been fascinated by the musical and cultural history of the 1960s and 1970s anyway, so I was very excited when I heard about the David Bowie is… exhibition that’s currently running at the V&A in London. I obviously wasn’t the only one – this long-awaited and heavily publicised exhibition has been sold out for months, but we were lucky enough to get in to see it on Sunday.
For Bowie fans and cultural historians alike, there is much that is positive to see here. I was particularly interested in Bowie’s handwritten lyric sheets and set lists from various phases of his career, and the instantly recognisable hand-drawn storyboard for the infamous ‘Ashes To Ashes’ video – as well as the large selection of stage costumes on display that span the decades from the Ziggy Stardust days (and before) all the way up to more recent Alexander McQueen designs. Also on display here (and worth checking out) are two very striking portraits of Iggy Pop painted by Bowie during their notorious drug-fuelled 1970s Berlin period – and, much to my inner child’s complete and utter delight, Jareth the Goblin King’s crystal ball and sceptre from the cult classic Jim Henson film Labyrinth.
Despite this week’s rain and a wind so gusty that I almost thought I was going to be blown away like the queue of nannies in Mary Poppins, it seems that spring has finally arrived – much to the relief of everyone, including this lovely dog. Happily sunbathing on a lounger atop a houseboat moored on the Grand Union Canal at Ladbroke Grove, he sat up to watch me go by – and posed rather beautifully when I got my camera out!
Cute, aren’t they? This magnificent seven live along the Grand Union Canal at Ladbroke Grove in west London, and are being beautifully looked after by mum and dad. In fact, when I passed them this evening, they were sat on the grass, all trying to wriggle under mum’s wing at once to keep warm! I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of these seven little signs that spring has finally arrived…
It may still be distinctly chilly in London, but there are already signs of spring in the air. And this means that Syon Lane Community Allotment is beginning to come out of its winter hibernation at last. If you look very closely, you can see new growth appearing everywhere as the cycle of the seasons repeats…
Interested in what we’re doing at the allotment? You’re in luck. Spring also means that the Syon Lane Sunday open days are back each week from 12pm. All are welcome!
You can find more of my photographs from Syon Lane here.
It’s hard to believe that this year’s Reclaim Love was the tenth of these annual events in London. My first was in 2010, and that seems like a mere five minutes ago… (you can find photos from previous Reclaim Love events here, here and here).
After last year’s downpour, the weather gods were kind to us – and old friends came from near and far to celebrate ten years of bringing peace and love to the streets of London. Here’s a few pics from Saturday’s gathering at Piccadilly Circus…
May all the beings in all the worlds be happy and at peace…
The arrival of the huge Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square each December is a familiar part of the festive season for many people in the capital, Londoners and visitors alike. Some years back, entirely by accident, I found myself in the Square on the evening the tree was due to be lit. As darkness gathered over the city, carols were sung and speeches made – and, with great ceremony, the switch was flicked, lighting the tree to an admiring chorus of oohs and aahs from those watching.
It’s strange the things that remind us that Christmas is coming. For me, it’s the arrival of the skating rink at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, because that also means the arrival of the old-fashioned fairground-style merry-go-round (or carousel to our American cousins) that appears every year.
Walking through Shoreditch one chilly morning in early December, the last thing I expected to see on the streets was an angel of any sort, let alone the Angel Gabriel in all her Christmassy finery. But there she was, delicately perched on top of a bollard outside an office building and sparkling in the Winter sunshine. And she had a story to tell. But it’s not the one you might expect…