From Bespoke Suits To Thongs


My rambles around London brought me into touch with a variety of different faces of England’s capital. None more contrasting perhaps than those seen in this batch from my Streets of London series of colour slides made in July 2005. Having been once more beset by wind and rain, I worked on these today.

Savile Row W1 7.05

We begin with a couple of most expensive streets in the region of Regent Street. Savile Row W1 is the home of bespoke tailoring, and not, perhaps, where one might expect to come across a chained bicycle of this nature.

Vigo Street/Burlington Gardens W1 7.05

Vigo Street which becomes Burlington Gardens is a turning off Regent Street. Careful viewers may see my portrait hanging in the window of Burlington Paintings. The motor cyclist is leaving Savile Row. Had he turned left and taken the first turning right, he could have ridden down

Sackville Street/Piccadilly W1

Sackville Street onto Piccadilly. The crypt of St James’s Church, the clock tower of which is seen here, was the scene of the brass-rubbing debacle featured in ‘Meandering Through Soho’.

Pall Mall East SW1 7.05

A month before these photographs were produced, London’s bid secured the 2012 Olympic Games. Banners celebrated this feat. From this corner of Pall Mall East we see Nelson’s column with its lions and the famous fountains. The gentleman in the foreground peruses The Financial Times, the first pink paper.

Spring Gardens/The Mall SW1 7.05

 The Mall itself offers another view of Trafalgar Square, incorporating its backdrop of The National Gallery. The bus advertising Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s ‘The Woman in White’ is looking ahead to the musical’s first performance on 15th September that year.

Concert Hall Approach SE1 7.05

The Archduke restaurant was a regular lunch venue for me and my dapper late friend, Wolf, at this time. Here he waves as I advance on Concert Hall Approach SE1.

Sturmer Way N7 7.05

We shift to north Islington and Sturmer Way N7. More comfortable than she appears, this lady willingly consented to pose beside her car. I did explain that I wanted to feature the street name in the picture.

Stock Orchard Street N7 7.05

Graffiti merchants have even left their mark on a satellite dish above the offices of William Hill’s betting shop in Stock Orchard Street N7.

Surr Street N7 7.05

Two more readers occupy a bench in the sunshine in Surr Street N7, in an area of development off North Street.

Formosa Street W9 7.05

Neither of these two nor this gentleman outside The Prince Albert pub in Formosa Street W9 appears to favour The Financial Times. This fine Grade 2 listed Victorian public house, built in 1856, still sports etched glass and mahogany fittings.

Honeywood Road NW10 7.05

The Willesden Junction Hotel stands on the corner of Station Road and Honeywood Road NW10. The pub closed soon after I took this photograph, and now seems to be functioning as a restaurant.

Curzon Crescent NW10 7.05

‘The L Word’ series ran from 2004-2009. This was concerned with the life and loves of a group of lesbians, their friends, and families, living in Los Angeles. As can be seen, its striking advertisement stole the limelight from the graffiti of Curzon Crescent NW10.

This evening we enjoyed our usual excellent dining experience at Lal Quilla. My main course was king prawn Ceylon; Jackie’s was chicken sag; we shared mushroom rice and an egg paratha, and both drank Kingfisher.


Emily Lee

Jackie drove me to and from New Milton for the Waterloo train to lunch with Norman at The Archduke.

Golden Jubilee BridgeGolden Jubilee Bridge stepsGolden Jubilee Bridge supports and craneGolden Jubilee Bridge 2Jimi Hendrix

Before meeting my friend, I walked along Concert Hall Approach and up the steps to the Golden Jubilee Bridge, the supports of which paralleled the structure of a nearby crane.

On our previous visit to the restaurant I mentioned the change of decor reflecting the new jazz theme. Greats such as John Coltrane, Theolonius Monk and Jimi Hendrix now grace the walls.

John Coltrane

Norman and I both chose superb sea trout on a creamy pecan risotto, followed by tasty pecan pie and clotted cream, with which we shared an excellent Sicilian shiraz.

On leaving The Archduke, I was drawn to return to the bank of The Thames by the strains a powerful and exciting voice, which was itself unstrained. This emanated from a vibrant, humorous, young woman, who also had the engaging personality to hold crowds transfixed on a day that was cold enough to urge sightseers to keep moving. She is Emily Lee, who is soon to release a CD. She claimed to be suffering from a persistent cough which didn’t appear to detract from her performance. Look out for her.

Emily Lee 1


Emily Lee 2                                                                                                                                       The train on our return journey was as packed as ever. Three seats opposite or beside me were occupied by the bags of neighbouring passengers. A couple in their fifties approached the seats, looked at them, and said they would sit on the floor by the gangway. They were ignored, and this they proceeded to do. As awkwardly and painfully as usual in this tiny cramped accommodation I rose to my feet, walked over to the people on the floor, and told them they need not be so uncomfortable when available seats were occupied by luggage. The woman said it was very sweet of me, but they opted to stay where they were. I returned to my seat.

I ask you.


10402799_767381023355226_1388469684459486508_nI wouldn’t have mentioned the contribution I made to the singer’s collection, but after posting this, I went on to her Facebook page to send her the link to this post. She had already posted her busking session, complete with photograph. This is what she said:

‘Busking next to the London Eye and a £5 note that a lovely guy gave me goes flying straight into the Thames. Damn you wind.’




A Robotic Swivel

At New Milton station, where Jackie delivered me on this bright, cold, morning for the Silhouttes on bridgeLondon train, the strong sun silhouetted travellers crossing the bridge linking the two platforms.
Norman and I changed our venue today. We lunched at The Archduke on Concert Hall Approach Road opposite Waterloo Station. I had not been there since, when we both worked in London, Wolf and I frequented it up to about five years ago. It has changed ownership and now has a jazz theme. The food, wine, and service was as good as ever. My choice was Cumberland sausages, mashed potato and onion gravy followed by pecan pie with clotted cream. We shared an excellent bottle of Sicilian red wine.
Station Approach roadAs I was early for our rendezvous I took a walk along Lower Marsh  and back to Waterloo The Incredible Hulkvia Station Approach Road, where the graffiti constantly changes. In a tunnel behind a metal grill, perhaps fitted to keep him contained, The Incredible Hulk prepared for action.
By the time I left Norman and walked to Carol’s via South Bank and Westminster Bridge, the light had failed and the sky clouded over. Westminster Winter Festival was again South Bank and Big Beninstalled on the South Bank. A jolly little train was parked in the sidings in sight of Big Ben.
Living statueA metallic military living statue stood motionless beside the stalls. With my now customary comment: ‘If it’s worth a photograph……..’ I made a donation, in the process dropping an additional 5p piece which, because my lower back still has a knife stuck in it, I was unable to pick up. I told him this, and that he was welcome to it. He smiled, swivelled robotically, and raised his hand in acknowledgement.
Guantanamo demonstrationOn Parliament Square a demonstration urged the immediate cessation of Guantanamo torture.
Again early, I sat in Christchurch Gardens for a while before visiting Carol for our usual enjoyable conversation. Afterwards I returned home by the usual methods. Jackie, of course, was waiting at New Milton on time.