Back to Brick: London TR w. fotos

Old Jun 18th, 2023, 02:19 PM
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Back to Brick: London TR w. fotos

A year ago, Mrs Z and I returned to Ol Blighty for the first time in 35 years, our first trip there together since being 'cut and carried' (married). We visited London plus the Cotswolds, a total of nearly 5 weeks self-catering. The latter will feature in a TR further down the road. This report is all about that ever-changing city London. As always, we will feature a quirky mix of imagery, mixed with music and humour (bubble bath=laughs). Hopefully, the tips that we offer here may be of some use to those who are London-bound. We have included a few examples of rhyming Cockney slang plus dated street argot in a misguided and pathetic attempt to score street-cred points.

Our copious photo collection themes will include (in no particular order):
Shoreditch and our rental there off Brick Lane; Richmond; Kew Gardens (we bought a membership); Brixton; food markets (Borough plus Herne Hill); Hampstead inc. Golders Green; street art (we stayed within Banksy Central); the immediate post-Jubilee period plus political opinions; some classic rock history; pubs and more.

Cor Blimey china plates (mates) 'tis expensive. Back in the '80s, a St. Ives innkeeper and I quibbled over their room rate. "That's not what it says in your Let's Go listing!" I'd naively protested then, holding up my dog-eared copy of that Harvard guidebook. As if. That backpacker version of myself would faint and fall into Old Father Thames if they were to learn the current cost of a London trip (bees and honey=money).
En-joi.

We boarded in Toronto, full of advice from our London-born neighbour: "You two won't recognize it. Plenty of changes since you've been." We eventually loomed into London, unawares of the remarkable aerial view that awaited. Our flight was part of the 70% that use the Eastern approach.

Scattered across both sides of the Thames, that unexpected birds-eye view of the London skyline revealed (in no particular order): Canary Wharf docklands; the Shard, the Gherkin/Leadenhall (cheese grater), the Tower of London; City Hall, various bridges inc. Tower and London; HMS Fodoria; the London Eye; the Walkie Talkie plus a sizable chunk of East London and more.

Mayfair, don't you know.

An exotic tree at Hampstead Heath's little sister, Golder's Green. Pretty sure that this was a Tibetan cherry tree.

Andre is a vendor at the Herne Hill Farmers Market. A man playing the nearby Public Piano was just then doing a lovely version of the Beatles' 'Golden Slumbers'. Many sang along. That brought tears to my eyes. 'Once there was a way...'

The future of England. She is cavorting in the fountains of Somerset House. We visited its Courtald gallery days prior to an incident wherein young eco-protestors glued themselves to the Van Gogh. By the way, a clueless young Brazilian tourist came this close to crashing into us as she did cartwheels for her boyfriend's camera lens. Also, a wealthy Brahmin lady frowned at the results after I agreed to her request that we take a few shots of her posing by the dancing waters. Sorry, your highness.

The past of England. HRM (without any eye contact): "So you're the new addition to my bodyguard. A Canadian they tell me, is that so?" Me: "Yes maam." HRM (calmly): "Well you're off to a bad start, I must say." Me (alarmed): "Oh no. H-howz that maam?" HRM: (between clenched teeth): "You're stepping on my foot!"

The Zetter Townhouse.

Exotic fruit in Brixton.

The 'thee-a-tawh.'

Pretty flower at Kew Gardens.

Oi Gov', its the Posties innit! The Jago was once one of London's most notorious impoverished neighbourhoods. Such irony: its old location is not far from The City, the business hub of downtown London that is now the richest real estate on the planet.

Needs no intro. At the base, we witnessed 'The Purple Primper'. That was the nickname that Mrs Z and I later gave to the young tourist woman who posed for an endless series of Insta selfies. It was wince-worthy: duck lips, hands on hips plus every other pose that one could think of. Her lack of regard for those trying to pass on the sidewalk was remarkable. She wore purple clothes.

Smithfield market: site of the death of a beloved local firemen who'd just done extra heroic duty during the Blitz. As well, the site of a rather impatient photographer who tried to shoo us lesser-thans away.

Leadenhall Market, aka Diagon Alley for 'arry Potter fans like my wife.

Right! I'm the award-winning old goat at Spitalfields City Farm. Oi mates, can you believe it?! Now they make ice cream for bleedin' DOGS!!


An old Bedford truck near 10 Downing plus St. James Park.

Sir John Soanes Museum.

The Shard. Completed in 2013, this mixed-use tower is the highest viewing gallery in London. At 1016 feet, visitors may view a wide range of the city.

Hampstead Flask Walk got style.

Little darling at a wedding. An outdoor chess tournament had also commenced there by St. Johns Gate.

Plotting the overthrow of Boris (Richmond). The pub shown in Ted Lasso can be seen with the red awning. Btw, only the gatehouse remains of the palace where Henri VIII once spent his adolescence. Sir Attenborough lives close by.

One must sign up ahead to be part of a tour through the historic Dennis Severs House (no 'dustbin lids'...err kids). The building is his imagined portrayal of Huguenot family life, an intimate visit wherein talking is discouraged. After experiencing the several levels and their associated sound effects, visitors may buy beeswax candles and extra-looooong matches.

Lovely Josie is the owner of 'Greedy Goat', a fixture at the Borough market ('Burra'). Her range of goat-milk ice cream flavors and her friendly service made our day.

This pair of assertive young ladies insisted that I take their photo! Their Brick Lane neighbourhood reminded us of Brooklyn or maybe our own Leslieville--a contentious gentrification central.

A pair of bumbling Canuck travelers in Brixton.

A hand-painted hanging sign located at 4 Wilkes Street. Some believe that the building below is haunted.

Good advice above. We used Bus #11 a lot in London (get it? stick legs).

A couple of somber reminders. Count your blessings if you live in a fortunate place.


Gotta love the Brit sense of humour.

Check out the slogan on the far right blue socks.

Street art is everywhere in East London. Some of it was spray can graffiti, while some of the best was stencil work such as the brilliant Banksy (see more later).

Again, the sense of humour. Danieli Ice Cream placed this ingenious door-stopper where no-one could possibly miss it. I very nearly picked it up for them!

Hoxton and Dalston have a reputation as Hipster areas.

A laughing man in the Queen's garden at Kew Palace. This is the end of Part one. Subsequent imagery will be presented by theme e.g. Little Venice.

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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 03:26 PM
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But first some music. It'd be impossible for me to skip any mention. From a very young age, I have been very keen on music, sweet music (thx Jimi). England is the Holy Land for Classic Rock and there are any number of bands who belong in the Rock Royalty category. Shame on the so-called 'Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame' for omitting so many of those fine artists ("Urine into Wine!"--I agree with the Sex Pistols' assessment). Blondie before ELP? Metallica over Jethro Tull??!! Before my blood pressure issue rears its ugly head again, I'll refrain from further comment. And so, some related imagery, followed by some select songs, iconic ones that never seem to get tired. *We will also include some non-rock music below.
IF YOU"RE NOT INTO ROCK THEN SKIP THIS SECTION.

The East End record booth located within the broader 'Backyard' market beside Truman brewery. Amy Winehouse remains a recent local heroine. Dunno who those guys are below her, but they'll probably never make it.

Some Brick Lane street art depicting poor Amy. One helluva voice, yeah?

Love the choice of paper for this street artist's poster.

The Bowie Memorial in Brixton. Its under glass now. I'd asked for directions like a fool, not realizing that it was right behind me! There also some great stencils of him, showing his image from the Thin White Duke-era.

I was part of the crowd at a Q&A held at Rough Trade Record shop for the band 'Porcupine Tree'. The shop was a block from our rental! They were promoting their reunion album. Seen holding the mic, star Gavin Harrison, fresh off drumming for the final 'King Crimson' tour. Leader and guitarist Steve Wilson stares at me. Keyboardist Richard Barbieri, formerly of 'Japan' on left. My question for them: how had Rush influenced their works?

This Elizabethan-era pub right by the Kew stop was once the location for Jimi Hendrix to celebrate during early '67. He and his 2 new bandmates had just posed for some promo fotos taken at nearby Kew Gardens. So much hash was apparently smoked later behind that patio fence shown here, that the shutterbug-in-question remarked recently, "Thank God that we'd arranged a driver to take us back to the City!"

Perhaps Rock's finest frontman. It seems that a young Freddy was once the coat-check attendant at the exclusive Soho rock club that Jimi Hendrix frequented. At such times, Freddy apparently had a chat or two with the superstar guitarist. Jimi's tour manager later went on the become the manager for Queen. No doubt, he had many stories to share.

Some of the finest albums ever put on vinyl. The Vintage Vinyl booth owner was most sympatico, there in the basement off Brick Lane by Truman brewery's west half. Near the popular Sunday Upmarket, surrounded by clothing booths.
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 03:31 PM
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Lets get this party into gear!
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 03:33 PM
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"And I see a face comin' through the haze..."
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 03:38 PM
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And now for something completely different...
If you've not yet heard the following, then you are in for a treat my friend! Producer George Martin's son's remix and pairing of 2 Beatles songs. Brilliant.
Remember, the band had progressed onwards in just 3 short years from 'Love me do.'
Jayzus.
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 03:42 PM
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Lets mix it up, yeah. Sandy Denny folk classic.
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 03:44 PM
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With Jools.
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 03:47 PM
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'This what you get when you mess with us.' Radiohead.
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 03:51 PM
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'For her merchandise he traded in his prize.'
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 03:55 PM
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Bert Jansch's instrumental 'Angie' was considered THE benchmark when guitarists were auditioning for folk/jazz acts. Either you could play it note-perfect 'or you saw the door on the way in.'

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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 03:59 PM
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'Electric Avenue' by Eddy Grant. Named for a famed Brixton street.
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 04:04 PM
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'We're all so pretty vacant!'
My Brit friends, know that for the longest time that above line went right over our heads here in North America!
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 04:09 PM
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The Police playing their oh-so original hybrid rock. Loved this album. Taped them live from the audience as they were touring it at a concert hall here in Toronto's Greektown (Nov. '79).
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 04:11 PM
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Fripp & Eno: 'Wind on Water'. A suitable song for a city on a river (on an island).
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 04:12 PM
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This is excellent and very timely! We will be in London starting next weekend for a Cubs-Cardinals game (after a Peter Gabriel concert in Manchester on Friday). You've given us some great ideas, especially around the music things. The Porcupine Tree photo caught our eye. We've been big fans for a long time - saw them not long ago in Chicago.
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 04:14 PM
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Blimey, lets try it again, a different number. Fingers crossed, yeah?
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 06:02 PM
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Very entertaining, and great photos as always. Looking forward to more (incl your Cotswolds experiences).

Am "Lucky" to be returning to the UK later this year. "No Surprises" will take some time off after my work is done, in Cotswolds and the Lake District. Your extended trip report is "All I Need".

I am done. Radiohead fan.
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 06:13 PM
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For MSGO, the following Peter Gabriel classic. Was gonna save it for the Cotswolds section (his Real World studio is in Rye, near Bath on the edge of the area) but hey, why not here instead?
Will Marcus Stroman be starting in that game?
Never trust anyone who does not love this number.
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 06:18 PM
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Thank you ANUJ. Here's to hoping that your London return goes smoothly, and the same with MSGO too.
Btw, our Glasgow-born band confidante and still good friend, once saw Radiohead play a small tent at our city's CNE fair. Twas their first North American tour, 'Creep' and all that.
I was gobsmacked (see wot I'm doing here with the language---its a set-up for the next section) to see the massive collection of confiscated weaponry at the door when we saw them on the OK Computer tour!
Next: language. English I mean.
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Old Jun 18th, 2023, 06:27 PM
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Various & sundry examples of the language which we all use. En-joi.















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