sir_guinglain: (Default)
( Jul. 1st, 2015 04:16 pm)
The heat in London is not exaggerated. I've never walked around in an atmosphere so warm. It's cooler indoors, and I'm working today at J's flat, with the windows open and curtains closed. There are even more emergency services sirens going than usual, potentially through heat-related incidents. I am waiting for the thunderstorms to reach us; the rain at least will be a relief.
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The colour film found at this site of London in 1927 is quite evocative for those who at all know the place.
sir_guinglain: (Default)
( Jan. 22nd, 2013 07:14 pm)
Improving London's transport
The National Archives have a Flickr set of photographs from a 1946 edition of The Railway Gazette, illustrating improvements made to the London Underground between the late 1930s and mid 1940s. Areas covered include the construction of the present Kings Cross St Pancras Metropolitan and Circle tunnels and platforms, opened in 1941; the extension of the Bakerloo tubes to join the Metropolitan above ground at Finchley Road, opened in 1939; changes to the Central Line in west, east and central London during the 1940s; and some of the new station buildings on the Metropolitan Line in north-west London.

Self-employed struggling with debts beyond their earnings - The Guardian
I empathise with this, though my position in this regard seems not so bad contextualised.

The Secret Mansion - History Needs You
Matthew Ward's pictures of a ruined country house on Anglesey.

England Under the White Which, by Theodora Goss - Clarkesworld
A story of one empress's search for the perfect winter, and those who serve under her. As recommended by [livejournal.com profile] gervase_fen
I am too tired to mount an exhaustive exploration of last night's Olympic opening ceremony. I enjoyed it tremendously. It was a self-aware exploration of the force of imagination and narrative in the face of social and economic transformation. The incorporation of 'Flower of Scotland' among the national anthems gained greater resonance as the ceremony progressed, suggesting not conflict between peoples, but resistance to whatever Westminster can throw at the people of Britain altogether. Escorted to Stratford by James Bond, the skydiving sovereign practically became a symbol of authority, political or sporting, as a game of hopscotch on the squares of fiction and reality. The rejection of historical national heroes, with an ambivalent portrayal of Brunel-as-Prospero by Sir Kenneth Branagh as presiding genius, emphasised that this was a pageant of social and cultural history, and Danny Boyle's overhauling (in both senses) of the national stereotypes many across the world no doubt expected to be rehearsed was exhilarating.

ETA: Not Brunel-as-Prospero, but Brunel-as-Caliban. Ambivalence upon ambivalence.
A friend on Facebook is reeling at the disappearance of non-sport programmes from BBC1 for the duration of the Olympic Games, with an expanded BBC3 schedule being swelled by the Olympics. This inspired me to hunt down a broadcasting schedule for a random day in the 1948 Olympics, the last to be held in London. I thought I'd also share it here.

Friday 30 July 1948's BBC Television schedule consisted of a Demonstration Film from 11am-12noon, with Olympics coverage from 2.30-4pm, 5-6.45pm, 8-8.30pm and 8.45-9.15pm. The only other programmes were Newsreel at 8.30pm, Inventor's Club from 9.15 to 10pm, and News (sound only) from 10-10.15pm.

On BBC radio there were Olympics reports on the Home Service from 1.10-1.20pm, 6.15-6.30pm, 9.15-9.20pm, and on the Light from 12.55-1pm and 10.15-10.30pm. The Third, as might be expected, ignored it. So as close to blanket coverage on television as might be expected, with a token non-Olympics or news programme, but more absent than I had expected on radio.
sir_guinglain: (UKPolitics)
( Nov. 16th, 2011 01:57 am)
It's just like old times - I'm writing in the middle of the night. This is because I'm only fairly recently back from London after a family-and-friends trip to see A Walk On Part at the Soho Theatre Downstairs, adapted from the diaries of Chris Mullin, MP for Sunderland South 1983-2010, by Michael Chaplin. I was told by one who has read the diaries that Chaplin's drastic abridgement successfully represented content and flavour. I thought the performances tended towards over-caricature at first, but they settled down, with John Hodgkinson displaying great skill in his portrayal of Mullin, effectively a two-hour monologue with interjections from the other four cast members, who shared ninety-six parts between them, from the prime minister of Ethiopia and a Northumberland landowner to a Ukrainian refugee schoolboy and a Sunderland newsagent, via Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and other players of the New Labour era.
The BBC announced today that the sale process for Television Centre has begun. Whatever the commercial arguments, this is a sad day for a generation who grew up with Television Centre at the heart of their collective popular imagination, though part of the existing structure is likely to survive as part of the broadcasting business in some form. The retreat of the BBC sprawl from Wood Lane has already begun, with the move of BBC Worldwide from Woodlands, just north of Westway, where the flags of Radio Times and Doctor Who once flew, and one wonders if the BBC logos have already been removed from the road signs further down Wood Lane.

In the meantime, this film is a record of the construction period made to inform BBC staff; it has a haunting, concrète soundtrack from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (John Baker?), provides glimpses of the buildings demolished to allow Television Centre to be built (mainly associated with White City stadium, I think, but including the old Wood Lane station on what was then the Hammersmith branch of the Metropolitan Line), and shows those curved corridors (built, it's said, because in those convivial days few BBC employees could walk in a straight line) taking shape, as well as the statue of Helios being elevated into place.

Doctor Who: Meglos )
There's an insistent chugging within hearing distance, as if a car engine is running all night, a private generator to power all-night pirate radio, perhaps. Otherwise it's a trick of the night, as road traffic concentrates along Talgarth Road. It's not that cars in side streets are rare, though, as the residents of town houses return from parties, or maybe arrive at parties, or at discreet private clubs demure behind basement doors. Low monologues pass my window now and then; there are those who do their best deals after one. An eighties ballad I'd forgotten soars for a second, then is lost in a croak. I cough, more because of my lingering cold than because of any poisons in the metropolitan atmosphere. I have six hours left in which I can sleep, before business calls.
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