Archive for the ‘Tourism’ Category
Since I was cutting the run short, anyway, I was pleased when I looked up from my fish treat and spotted what I reckoned to be another pub sign. Even better, this appeared to be a deviant bar so at last I might have an interesting write-up to do (no offense to the Tree, the Waterside, or the Coy Carp earlier this day). I eagerly approached the Carpet and Vinyl with thoughts of 70’s pubic hair and form-fitting/fluids resistance outfits.
Alas, it was non-euphemistically a carpet and vinyl shop. Sort of the old bait-and-switch (and, come to think of it, “The Bait & Switch” might make a good fetish bar name, too).
H is for Heathrow’s Third Runway, an expensive boondoggle that will cost more — and have less positive effect — than a similar expansion of Gatwick (although, what is really needed is to steer some of the traffic in the directions of Birmingham, Manchester, or Leeds). In addition to infringing on the Greenbelt, this project will have the added advantage of obliterating two of the villages on today’s route and placing a third one in the flight path at the end of the new runway. Yay!
Featuring in the Five Bells, Harmondsworth
It isn’t a done deal but it IS what the current government has planned so let this run write-up serve as an obit for the villages of Longford and Harmondsworth and commiserations with the property values of Sipson.
The road between Harmondsworth and Sipson: on the left goes the new runway .
Along with the displacement of people, there are several historic pubs — the King William in Sipson, the Five Bells in Harmondsworth, and in Longford the King’s Arms and the White Horse — that will either be flattened or find themselves adjacent to the fence or in the flight path a few hundred feet from the end of the new runway.
But, the encroachment on London’s greenbelt, the nature preserve that rings the city, is probably the worst thing. Hungry and in need of some ballast for the drinks, I stopped for a kebab along the dreadful hazardous waste site that is the current border with the airport. All of this can easily be rebuilt, true enough, and will be. More is the pity.
We joined a variety of other supporters and activists for the National Libraries, Museums, and Galleries March Saturday. Starting at The British Library, a few thousand of us chanted slogans and blocked traffic the 2 mile journey to Trafalgar Square.
The Police Support Officers were comradely and professional.
And, it was our first chance to really have a look around at some of the architecture we’ve passed, unnoticed, dozens of times before:
The speeches were plagued by multiple failures of the sound systems. My fellow socialists need a class in piss ups at breweries.
The bird logo also looks, appropriately enough, like a hand putting up two fingers.
I went to Shoreditch because it is renowned as Street Art Central and this would give me G for Graffiti as a run theme. However, I had a back up plan to hit pubs with G in the name. Here’s the net result.
Over the street market not far from Liverpool Street Station, I spotted one in the waning light and torrential rain (above). This would be easy, I thought. The occasional vandalism of the better thought out vandalism was inevitable:
But, it took a lot more hunting than I was led to believe to find anything like the treasure trove of spray can masterpieces that I was led to believe existed in this realm.
The graffiti pickings were pretty scant with most of the suggested roads (by friends and colleagues) heavily abraded for the sake of the Philistine homesteaders’ (who have gentrified the buurt) property value and presentation. A shame, really, but to be expected. Ironic art that they didn’t choose has no place in the hipster habitat; or, perhaps the irony is that this IS the habitat they chose before they pulled a Palmyra on the place.
If you really explore the still-dodgy-looking back alleys near the industrial and council estate parts of the neighbourhood, you can find a little bit of what I was expecting.
But, generally, this had no more (and, in many ways, less and not as impressive) thoughtful tags than even my suburban region way up in the Northwest (I really should document the A-40 ‘galleries’ outside Uxbridge sometime soon).
The best stuff seems to be commissioned for construction hoarding …
… and looks for all the world like the sort of stuff you get in Holland or Germany on every spare piece of trackside ‘canvas’ available.
So, I took what little was to be found in the rainy dusk. I gave up after a few miles and focused on the G pubs: the Grocer in Spitalfields, the Griffin at the northern reach of Shoreditch, the missing Golden Bee (no write-up as it has yielded to new construction), and the Globe just beyond Bunhill Fields on the way to Bank.
F is for Film! And, as I was remiss in mentioning the studios two weeks ago on the E for Ealing run, this crawl is meant to set things right.
Things started in Covent Garden with a trip to Nell of Old Drury which features in the Hitchcock film Frenzy (1972).
Nell of Old Drury a few days before Halloween 2016
Unfortunately, I pulled up during hours the house is closed and had to go around the corner to The Covent Garden which was until recently the Globe where Richard Blaney, the protagonist, tended bar before getting accused of being a “Neck Tie” sex killer.
Nell of Old Drury in Frenzy
With too much foot traffic on the main pavements, I headed to the wider paths of Embankment and spotted a sign for some Roman Baths hidden somewhere down those steps (something to keep in mind for the R run a few months from now):
The next stop was the Lamb just inside the Leadenhall Market in the City of London. This was the setting for the obligatory bar punch up when an American character is in England, this time in the John Wayne flick, Brannigan (1975).
It’s hard to think of John Wayne without thinking of John Wayne was a Nazi by Millions of Dead Cops. But, over the course of my brief pint there, I also associated him with The Ballad of the Green Berets and with John Wayne Gacy (perfect for the Halloween weekend).
The run segment took me across London Bridge, through Borough, and out to Lambeth (one of my favourite central London neighbourhoods).
A few hundred feet past the former Pelham Mission Hall, above, I found the Jolly Gardeners which was portrayed as The Drowning Trout, Vinnie Jones’ character’s local in Snatch (2000).
The final stop was at the far end of the street, The Black Prince, which featured in another comic bookish movie called Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015). The house is quite genteel compared to its portrayal in the picture.
Not sure what to do for G, but for those of you keeping score that will be the next one of these London A to Z runs. Suggestions are welcome.
E is for Ealing, the London Borough just south of mine and also a town of some renown and 5 Tube Stations around which I based this wee run and pub crawlette (only 3 this time).
Hopping off at Ealing Common Station — which of the 5 is the least Dead Common — I made my way mapless to South Ealing and found no pubs on the route I took but got lucky on my way to West Ealing (which is actually a National Rail stop and has nothing to do with Transport For London). The pub that finally broke up the run was the Foresters, a fine old house.
Making my way past West Ealing, Gordon Road bypassed Ealing Broadway on my way to North Ealing under which lights I found the Greystoke, another fantastic old pub where I met a Network Rail employee and had a grand conversation.
Returning to Ealing Broadway, I popped in the Lodge which was a major disappointment after the previous two.
I understand Ealing is also famous for Films, but I already have that set aside for the F version of this 26 part Pub Crawl…next week.
The London A to Z runs are progressing nicely and are up to D, this time for Dr Who. I probably should have started at Baker Street (named, of course, for the best Doctor), but instead opted for something closer to the pub featured in a Dr Who episode earliest across all series (that is still open). Scenes of The Invasion starring the 2nd Doctor, Patrick Troughton, were shot in and around The Morpeth Arms as were parts of Terror of the Zygons with Tom Baker as the 4th Doctor.
Sticking with Tom Baker for another stop, St Stephens Tavern featured in Genesis of the Daleks and is conveniently located across from the Palace of Westminster.
Moving up to Trafalgar Square, we skip the dreadful range of Doctors following Peter Davidson (#5) and tried to pick things up at Halfway to Heaven where Doctor #9 Christopher Eccleston met Rose (Billie Piper); also of note, on this run the first green space I passed near Victoria Station was Eccleston Square (spooky). David Tennant (Doctor #10) also used this watering hole in the Christmas Invasion. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances had this City Centre gay bar closed on a Friday evening:
Nearby on Villiers Street, the Princess of Wales from Aliens of London provided a resting spot and a little adventure (Eccleston again). After a quick one there and a dash back to Parliament, the Red Lion completed the tour. It, too, was used in Aliens of London as well as another Eccleston ep, World War III.
Bonus Recipe: Sonic Screwdriver — Freshly squeeze some orange juice then screech and point a penlight at it whilst pouring vodka in it. Drink.