Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Weekly Gallimaufry

Up for the Cup

Blue is the Colour


And so a London club – Chelsea, the Blues, the Capital’s most fashionable side – won the F.A Cup – beating Everton at Wembley 2-1 yesterday afternoon. Before the match, the supporters of both sides sang the hymn Abide With Me, a tradition born in 1927 when the F.A Cup left England for the only time as Cardiff City (of Wales) defeated London giants Arsenal in the final (by a single goal, scored by a Scot, Hughie Ferguson). Abide With Me was included on the song sheet because it was the favourite hymn of King George V and Queen Mary, who were both in attendance at the Wembley Final in that year. King George was also the first reigning monarch to attend the F.A Cup Final – which he did in 1914 (the last to take place at Crystal Palace) to witness Burnley defeat Liverpool 1–0. (King George V’s statue can be glimpsed on THIS WALK).

The F.A Cup Final is the match that traditionally puts our football season (by ‘football’, North American friends, we mean Soccer) to bed. Hereafter, we don whites to beat Australia in the Ashes and conquer Wimbledon with Andy Murray. Ahem.

(Keep an eye on the LW Blog later this summer for some London Cricket- and Tennis-related trivia…)


London Movies

Our raison d’etre here at the LW Blog is, of course, to get you out and about on a London Walk – on your feet, endorphins surging and burning off those calories – while at the same time making sure you’re not burning any fossil fuels on bus trips. We’re just SO 21st century. But from time to time we don’t mind if you take in the odd movie. We regularly fire you off in the direction of YouTube to view Jon Klein’s bijou masterpieces promoting London Walks. A couple of weeks ago we gave you a glimpse of the new Sherlock Holmes on the big screen (in fact, here it is again: click HERE.)

In the same spirit, one of London’s great, uncelebrated pop legends hits the big screen in June. Telstar tells the tale of record producer Joe Meek, the first genius of British pop who ruled the UK charts in the murky twilight between Elvis’s Hollywood exile and The Beatles. The man who has been referred to as everything from the first British punk to “The British Phil Spector” (ouch!) was brought to the stage in 2005 in a blistering performance by Con O’Neill – who reprises his portrayal in the new movie. View a trailer HERE. The movie also stars Kevin Spacey, current Artistic Director of the theatre that provides the crescendo to this walk.


Yum 2 (Or Yum Squared… By Which We Mean Yum Yum, of Course)

Those of you who bookmark/subscribe to or just regularly swing by the LW Blog will recognise the bustling wee fella pictured here. We call him Alphonse, the LW Blog maître d' and he’s the harbinger of one of the great delights on the London Walks Programme: Ann’s Foodie London Walks. Next Saturday (6th June) she’s doing her Foodies’ West End number, meeting at 10.45 am Green Park tube, Ritz exit. Almost as good as the walk itself is her unique little LW Blog post to accompany each outing. The next one goes up on Thursday.


You Ask the Questions


From time-to-time when guiding a London Walk, an intriguing question will rise out of the throng. And from time-to-time we’ll share the question, the answer, and expand on both here at the LW Blog. One such query arose on the Kensington London Walk with Adam last Saturday.

“What,” asked an Australian London Walker, as we walked away from our visit to Hornet’s, the unique and eccentric gentleman’s outfitter that is a regular stop-off on the Kensington walk, “is the original meaning of the word ‘bespoke’ and where does it come from?”

How about this definition from Savile Row tailor Thomas Mahon, taken from his website www.englishcut.com.

“A lot of people use the terms ‘bespoke’ and ‘made-to-measure’ interchangeably. They are mistaken.

'Bespoke' is actually a term which dates from the 17th century, when tailors held the full lengths of cloth in their premises.

When a customer chose a length of material, it was said to have ‘been spoken for’. Hence a tailor who makes your clothes individually, to your specific personal requirements, is called ‘bespoke’. This is unlike ‘made-to-measure’, which simply uses a basic, pre-existing template pattern, which is then adjusted to roughly your individual measurements.”

The Kensington walk goes every Thursday and Saturday at 2.00p.m. (Any more queries? Email 'em to the usual address: londonwalksblog@gmail.com.)

Join the London Walks Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Stars of the London Olympic Games No.1


Our new series pays tribute to celebrated Olympians of 1908 and 1948 and marks the third London Olympics in 2012. First out of the blocks…

Fanny Blankers-Koen
1918 – 2004
Holland
Sprinter/Hurdler
Four Gold Medals 1948


At the London Olympic Games of 1948 – nicknamed the “Ration Book Games” due to the straitened post-war climate in which they were staged – 30-year-old Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers-Koen won her country’s first track and field gold since the start of the modern Games in 1896. She took the tape in the 100m, 200m and 80m hurdles and won team gold in the 4x100m relay. The British coach Jack Crump was joined by a chorus of disapproving journalists in the build up to the Games in questioning Mrs Blankers-Koen’s age. “She is too old,” claimed Crump, “to make the grade.”

Despite having beaten three British women athletes into silver medal positions to take her individual golds, Blankers-Koen was taken to the hearts of the London crowd having endured the Nazi occupation of Holland. It later emerged that she had been pregnant with her third child while winning her medals. In stark contrast to the rewards on offer to sportsmen and women today, when she returned to Holland she was presented with a free bicycle from the city of Amsterdam.

In 1999 Blankers-Koen was voted "Female Athlete of the Century" by the International Association of Athletics Federations.




Saturday, 23 May 2009

The Weekly Gallimaufry

“I'm leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it's not raining.” Groucho Marx

Scootermania!

First things first… If you’re one of the multitude of London Walkers looking for David’s top tip on how to keep your kids from driving you mad on/preventing you attending a London Walk, click HERE. (This is the third week in a row for our most successful post EVER!)





In the Picture

London Walker and London Walks Facebook Group member Geraldine sends us a dramatic shot taken on the Greenwich Walk, looking up toward the observatory. Those of you looking in on the capital in 2012 via your TV screens will be treated to a version of this view when it serves as the backdrop to the equestrian events at the third London Olympic Games. (Later this week our new series Heroes of the London Olympics launches with the great Fanny Blankers-Koen.)

Thanks for the pic, Geraldine. Keep ‘em coming, everyone! Our email address is londonwalksblog@gmail.com.


Last Week’s Teaser


On last week’s Weekly Gallimaufry, we asked you to identify the origins of our Sherlock Holmes-themed strapline “What do you say to a ramble through London?” It comes from The Resident Patient which can be found in the collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. On the same theme (and same post), we asked you to pinpoint the literary origin of Conan Doyle’s famous Sherlockian catchphrase “The game’s Afoot”. It’s from William Shakespeare’s Henry IV (Part One) act I scene iii, the original line being: "Before the game is afoot, thou still let'st slip." (Our illustration is a Royal Mail stamp issued in October 1993 to mark the 100th anniversary of ACD’s tale The Final Problem.)
The In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes London Walk takes place every Friday at 2.00p.m from Embankment Station.


Walking Words on the Web


A great London Walks plug from the keyboard of London-based blogger Afternoon Tea Break who writes the timely blog Career Changing in the Credit Crunch. Her London’s Locales for Booklovers piece was posted on another excellent blog Laura Reviews, a blog which Laura describes (accurately, as it goes) as “a library of cultural conversation”.

“London,” Afternoon Tea Break writes, “is a great city for walking.” We would tend to agree, ATB. To the read the whole piece, click HERE. (Both are perfect blogs, being lively, informative and unique – do swing by and bookmark ‘em when you get a moment.)
Elsewhere in cyberspace, a London Walker has posted her review of London Walks, London Stories, the London Walks book. Read it in full HERE. The line in the review that reads “(The LW guides are) funny, informative – and sometimes even cute!” has led to great consternation over at London Walks Towers with Nick, Tom and Richard III all slugging it out for the title of “the cute one”.


London Walks: The Movie(s)


LW Blog readers who come to us via The Mothership (or www.walks.com to give it its full Sunday url) will have already seen the new London Walks film. Facebook Friends and Facebook Group members were also treated to a sneak preview last week. Now it’s the turn of LW Bloggers. Click HERE to view it.

The Cat’s Whisker


London on the wireless this week… Tuesday (26th May) on BBC Radio 4 (11.30a.m) sees a celebration of London’s great thriller writer Len Deighton in The Deighton File (see our earlier post London Reading List No.6 for a review of his wonderful alternative history thriller SS-GB… Also on BBC Radio 4 this week, Ian Hislop looks for the King who was always “chopping-and-changing”: The Six Faces of Henry VIII is broadcast on Monday morning (25th May) at 11.00 (London Links, opposite, for BBC Radio 4 website and their 7-day “Listen Again” facility.)

Join the London Walks Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

B

Friday, 22 May 2009

Blog Extra (or… This Train TERMINATES Here)


Full, as ever, of wise saws and modern instances, quick-witted London Walks guide Richard III read yesterday’s LW Blog post and spotted another peg upon which to hang a well-woven London Walk – in this case the All Change at St. Pancras walk on Bank Holiday Monday 25th May at 2.30pm.

Our Ladykillers post reminded him not only of St Pancras Station but of the poem The Levelled Churchyard by Thomas Hardy… a poem inspired when Hardy witnessed the clearing of a churchyard to make way for Victorian progress – a theme very much in keeping with the walk. Here’s the poem…

O passenger, pray list and catch
Our sighs and piteous groans,
Half stifled in this jumbled patch
Of wrenched memorial stones!

"We late-lamented, resting here,
Are mixed to human jam,
And each to each exclaims in fear,
'I know not which I am!'

"The wicked people have annexed
The verses on the good;
A roaring drunkard sports the text
Teetotal Tommy should!

"Where we are huddled none can trace,
And if our names remain,
They pave some path or p-ing place
Where we have never lain!

"There's not a modest maiden elf
But dreads the final Trumpet,
Lest half of her should rise herself,
And half some local strumpet!

"From restorations of Thy fane,
From smoothings of Thy sward,
From zealous Churchmen's pick and plane
Deliver us O Lord! Amen!"

Join the All Change at St Pancras walk on Monday 25th May at King’s Cross Station (Euston Road North exit) at 2.30p.m.

Join the London Walks Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

London on Screen No.2: The Ladykillers


Sedition was never very far from the surface in the great Ealing comedies: anarchy in Passport to Pimlico; flagrant disruption of the war effort in Whisky Galore. But surely they'd draw the line at attempting to murder a dear, sweet old lady? Think again. The Ladykillers (1955) remains a British – and a London – classic. Directed by Alexander MacKendrick and shot in seedy colour, five gangsters pose as a string quintet and rent a room from the unassuming Mrs Wilberforce – under whose innocent nose they will plan and execute their next caper, the robbing of the King's Cross mail train.
London, never content with a mere supporting role, elbows her way to the top of the bill with upstaging aplomb, particularly in the shape of George Gilbert Scott’s Midland Hotel at St Pancras casting ghastly gothic shadows on the proceedings. Of her co-stars, a young Peter Sellers is engaging and Alec Guinness doing his Alistair Sim turn is nothing short of a stroke of postmodern genius. But Herbert Lom as the sinister Louis has the best line. “Listen up grandma,” he growls to the sweet old Mrs Wilberforce, threateningly, “and listen with BOTH ears.”
It’s advice you would do well to adopt on Richard IV's London Walk this Sunday 24th May at 10.45a.m. when he leads us around the movie locations of the West End. The West End on Film walk meets at St James’s Park Tube Station.
(The Ladykillers is available on DVD – pictured – from Optimum Releasing priced £12.99.)


Join the London Walks Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE


TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Blog Extra: (or… His First Bow)


The first sneaky peek at the trailer for the forthcoming Sherlock Holmes movie was released today. View it at the official movie website HERE.

To listen to a snippet of the London Walk dedicated to the great detective, click this link: In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes (It's our resident Sherlock Holmes nut Richard IV in full spate). The game's afoot every Friday from Embankment Station at 2.00p.m.

TODAY'S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The Weekly Gallimaufry

“What do you say to a ramble through London?”

Scandal!


With the old fashioned hustings atmosphere of the BBC’s Question Time programme last week where MP’s were barracked by the audience over the current expenses scandal and the bureaucracy surrounding it, LW Blog was reminded of one of Charles Dickens’s most vivid pieces political satire. Chapter Ten of Little Dorrit is entitled The Circumlocution Office, subtitled Containing the whole Science of Government, and opens thus:

“The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office. If another Gunpowder Plot had been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody would have been justified in saving the parliament until there had been half a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official memoranda, and a family-vault full of ungrammatical correspondence, on the part of the Circumlocution Office.”

Vote for your favourite Dickens work in our Poll (opposite) and see Westminster up close this week on Monday (by gaslight), Thursday and Saturday.

The Game’s Afoot…

Another anniversary! This week BBC Radio7 is celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birth – and doing so in some style! Click HERE for the full schedule of documentaries and dramatisations of The Canon. And you can join Richard IV or Corinna as they lead us In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes every Friday at 2.00p.m from Embankment Station.
(For more from the year 1859, see last week’s Weekly Gallimaufry for our Wind in the Willows piece – and don’t forget to vote in our Dickens Poll celebrating the 150th Anniversary of A Tale of Two Cities, opposite right.)

A re-print. A Second Edition…

David’s piece from last week’s Gallimaufry generated so many LW Blog hits that we’ve decided to run it again. It’s about taking your kids on London Walks. (While on the subject of reprints… London Walks London Stories, the London Walks book has gone to a second edition just a few weeks after publication. David, Adam and Richard III are all selling copies on their walks so be sure to ask them.)

“Kids on walks. It’s usually not the best of fits. For obvious reasons. But help is at hand. Spectacularly so. In short, there’s a one-size fits all solution. Okay, almost all. It’s probably not right for wee winks. But 8-year-olds on up: well, here’s the answer.

It’s courtesy of an Australian couple who – along with their two kids – were on my Along the Thames Pub Walk last Friday. Of course I noticed they were toting scooters and asked the parents about them. This was the reply:

‘We learned about it from our friend. She loves walking tours. Her kids hate them – they get bored. So the last time she was here she brought the kids’ scooters along. Voila! Problem solved. Kids as happy as could be – tootling around on their scooters (within sight of the group of course) AND burning up lots of 9- and 10-year-old energy.’

And parents as happy as could be because they’re getting to go on their walk and not having their kids bored and fretting and squirming and ‘how much longer-ing?’

‘We’ve been on three walks so far – and it works a treat. We get to enjoy our walk; our kids are along for their ride (notice it’s ‘their’ ride, not ‘the ride’ – and they’re loving it. It’s absolutely brilliant.”

That’s the one-size fits all solution. There’s a much more painstaking solution – namely, pick your guide and your walk very carefully. Because some guides – and some walks – are right for kids. Even though the walks are pitched at adults, not kids. You want corroboration just take a look at the little film of Shaughan guiding his Ghosts of the Old City. Those two happy little people skipping along beside him aren’t short adults. They’re kids.

Finally, take a look at the Walks for Kids page on The Mothership.

Well, not quite finally. The whole episode crystallises something else - namely, why, we as guides, love guiding walking tours. It's in part because of the people you meet on them. Walking tour types are the sort of tourist you want to meet. They're bright, switched on, resourceful, good fun. It's not just a one-way street. In short, we learn from you guys, just as you learn - we hope - from us.”

Facebook

The London Walks Facebook group, London Walks Walkers is up and running. Join in HERE.

Coming Soon on the LW Blog

To mark London’s third hosting of the Olympic Games, an occasional series on Great London Olympians. The series will open with Fanny Blankers-Koen, the Dutchwoman who won four golds and the hearts of even the most war-hardened of Londoners in 1948. The series was inspired by a story of a great London-born Olympian from bbc.co.uk which can be found on the London Walks Walkers Facebook Group. Click HERE to read it.

Wrack Your Brain (Just for Fun)…


Our Sherlock Holmes headline above – The Game’s Afoot – is an oft-repeated catchphrase of the great detective. But do any LW Bloggers know the origin of the phrase? Drop us a line at londonwalksblog@gmail.com if you do. We’ll post the answer next week! While we’re at it… our strapline this week – “What do you say to a ramble through London?” – is a line from a Sherlock Holmes story. But which one. Email the usual address.)

Stay in Touch!

Got a question? Got a photo? Got a suggestion? Send ‘em to us at londonwalksblog@gmail.com.
Contact us/get updated through our Facebook group London Walks Walkers (see link below)
Sign up for our NEW subscription service by simply entering your email address opposite. You’ll receive LW Blog posts straight to your inbox.

Join the London Walks Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Go Somewhere Else this Weekend


Canada? Jamaica? Aberdeen? Amsterdam? Go Somewhere Else? Why would we ever leave London? Have we gone mad?

Don’t panic. We always adhere strictly to the oft-quoted Doc Johnson line about the fatal consequences of being tired of London. Only on Saturday mornings we do things a little differently.

Kick-start your weekend south of the river, down Lambeth way (as Frank Sinatra almost sang) with some of London’s most challenging architecture. Discover some of London’s most surprising hidden streets. Get an unexpected bird’s eye view of London. Finish in time for lunch and a pint of beer from London’s last independent brewery. And with its riverside walkways, Somewhere Else London is the perfect place to try out David’s top new Walking Tip For Kids on London Walks.

Meet Adam at Embankment Station this Saturday (or Steph next Saturday) at 10.30a.m for the Somewhere Else London walk. (And make sure to ask him about the London Walks book London Walks London Stories.)

Join the London Walks Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Blog Extra: (or… Keep in Touch!)


New functionality (sounds Orwellian, we know) on the LW Blog! Now you can be updated by email every time the LW Blog flickers into action. Sign up for email subscription by scrolling down the right hand column opposite and entering your email address. Simples.

Also… have a look at our Facebook Group where all this week we are running links to the burgeoning stable of London Walks films.

(P.S… our London Walks & Kids link from The Mothership is proving a bit hit, almost doubling our LW Blog traffic!. It's the next story down, so keep on scrolling…)

Join the London Walks Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Sunday, 10 May 2009

The Weekly Gallimaufry

It’s London, Baby! *

How to Walk #1
An Occasional Series of Top Tips on how to get the most out of a London Walk.

The series launches with David on taming the savage child…

“Kids on walks. It’s usually not the best of fits. For obvious reasons. But help is at hand. Spectacularly so. In short, there’s a one-size fits all solution. Okay, almost all. It’s probably not right for wee winks. But 8-year-olds on up: well, here’s the answer.


It’s courtesy of an Australian couple who – along with their two kids – were on my Along the Thames Pub Walk last Friday. Of course I noticed they were toting scooters and asked the parents about them. This was the reply:

‘We learned about it from our friend. She loves walking tours. Her kids hate them – they get bored. So the last time she was here she brought the kids’ scooters along. Voila! Problem solved. Kids as happy as could be – tootling around on their scooters (within sight of the group of course) AND burning up lots of 9- and 10-year-old energy.’

And parents as happy as could be because they’re getting to go on their walk and not having their kids bored and fretting and squirming and ‘how much longer-ing?’

‘We’ve been on three walks so far – and it works a treat. We get to enjoy our walk; our kids are along for their ride (notice it’s ‘their’ ride, not ‘the ride’ – and they’re loving it. It’s absolutely brilliant.”

Anything else? Well, yes. The scooters are extremely light. They fold up. And the Australian couple had even produced a nifty carrying bag (and strap) for each of them. Made from the legs of an old wet suit (a scuba diver’s wet suit). Light and cushiony. Let alone waterproof. How resourceful - how brilliant - is that!

That’s the one-size fits all solution. There’s a much more painstaking solution – namely, pick your guide and your walk very carefully. Because some guides – and some walks – are right for kids. Even though the walks are pitched at adults, not kids. You want corroboration just take a look at the little film of Shaughan guiding his Ghosts of the Old City. Those two happy little people skipping along beside him aren’t short adults. They’re kids.

Finally, take a look at the Walks for Kids page on The Mothership.

Well, not quite finally. The whole episode crystallises something else - namely, why, we as guides, love guiding walking tours. It's in part because of the people you meet on them. Walking tour types are the sort of tourist you want to meet. They're bright, switched on, resourceful, good fun. It's not just a one-way street. In short, we learn from you guys, just as you learn - we hope - from us."

Shakespeare in London


Outlandish claims Department Edict No.46732A: Shakespeare was a Londoner!

Sure, Stratford’s nice and all that. But Shakespeare worked in London. And he’s still alive here, too – not least in the shape of several London Walks, but in the theatres, too. The glorious Globe has opened its production of Romeo and Juliet (see illustration) and will follow it up with As You Like It later in May. Go to www.shakespeares-globe.org for more details, or see the London Links column on the right.


The Wind in the Willows


In the storm of anniversaries raging around London this year (The British Museum, Darwin, A Tale of Two Cities, to name but three) LW Blog is sorry to see that the 150th anniversary of the birth of the creator of the original “slacker classic” has gone largely unnoticed. Kenneth Grahame, writer of The Wind in the Willows was born on 8th March 1859.

Slacker classic? How so? Well if a novel with a central philosophy advocating “simply messing about in boats” as life’s greatest pleasure is nothing if not an elegant slacker manifesto, then LW Blog will eat his shabby, beaten but well-loved Panama hat (a hat purchased at Hornet’s in Kensington, of course).

LW Blog’s favourite fantasy literary image is that of Grahame in his stuffy office at the Bank of England (where he rose to the position of Secretary, retiring in 1908) gazing out at the grey London sky and dreaming of his beloved River Thames. Again, textbook slacker behaviour!

This week on BBC Radio 7 the planets of anniversary come into alignment when one of our greatest living writers, Alan Bennett (a confirmed Camdenite if not-quite-reformed Yorkshireman) has tribute paid to him on his 75th Birthday. Among the celebratory broadcasts are daily instalments of Bennett reading Grahame’s delightful classic for children of all ages. Go to bbc.co.uk for full scheduling details.

(The image is a downloadable poster from www.rrm.co.uk, the website of the River & Rowing Museum at Henley. Visit them at Mill Meadows, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 1BF, United Kingdom. Tel: 01491 415600.)


Facebook


The new Facebook group, London Walks Walkers is up and running. Join in HERE.


Stay in Touch!


Got a question? Got a photo? Got a suggestion? Send ‘em to us at londonwalksblog@gmail.com. Or contact us through our Facebook group London Walks Walkers (see above). That’s what Geraldine did last Friday. She wrote:

"Went on two London Walks last Sunday - was on a short holiday in London – one of which was the Dickens & Shakespeare's London walk – excellent. Also did the 'Jack the Ripper' walk that evening - my second time to go on this walk. Love the walks - and now try to go on at least one on each trip to London."

Thanks Geraldine! Did you take any pics on your trip? Want us to make you a Blog Star? Send ‘em in and we look forward to seeing you next trip!

***

(* Our strapline this week – “It’s London, Baby” – comes from that most unlikely of London denizens Joey Tribbiani in the London episodes of the U.S sitcom Friends, filmed at famous London scenes including Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London.)

Join the NEW LW Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Friday, 8 May 2009

Extra Blog Extra… (or: Big Brother is Watching You)


An LW Blog first: An extra Extra… (it’s Ed Glinert again… scroll down for his other Sunday special.)

“George Orwell’s 1984 is a bleak portrayal of a nightmare world in which a brutal totalitarian government keeps tabs on its citizens at all times, ruthlessly stamping out any form of dissent.

Er, not quite.”

(Stick with him, folks. The boy knows his stuff. LW Blog Ed.)

1984 is one of the funniest novels ever written, the sharpest of satires, but its humour is so black, so subtle, it is missed by most readers. Yes, this is a most misunderstood book, but it won’t be if you come on the Big Brother Is Watching You walk this Sunday morning (May 10th). We meet outside Oxford Circus station, Exit 6, telescreen or not, at 10.45a.m.”

Join the NEW LW Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Blog Extra (or… London’s War Against Terror)


(Like the famous Windmill Theatre, the LW Blog never closes! A last minute gem from Ed Glinert…)

“Lurking around every corner, hiding under every street, listening on every phone line is a secret world of spooks, spies, saboteurs and subversives. Those on the wrong side of the War Against Terror. The capital is full of them… or at least stories about them, as you can discover on Sun 10 May on the London’s War Against Terror walk.

“The walk, which leaves the Charing Cross Thistle Hotel at 2.30p.m. will be led by a man who has read too many dodgy dossiers stamped Top Secret! Confidential! and watched too many films with soundtrack supplied by John Barry. You WILL be taken to the Nazis’ embassy on the Mall to hear how the German ambassador was assassinated on Hitler’s orders; to a site above the government’s not-so-secret Pindar bunker; to the Whitehall office where the government established the ‘Flying Saucer Working Party’; and to the early home of MI6 where the director-general used to stab his wooden leg with a pen-knife to test the nerve of potential recruits.
And even when you head of home your mission may not be over. If you take the Victoria Line you will be using a route built secretly by the government to link major strategic sites across the capital. Above the line stands the new home of MI6, Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s war-time bunker and……”

And there, the signal went (gulp!) dead. The rest of this communication has been censored for reasons of security. Only those who need to know, or those willing to part with seven pounds on Sunday at 2.30p.m may proceed.

Join the NEW LW Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Eels are Alive with the Sound of Radar (Ouch)



Ann’s off on another foodie bunberry this weekend. And here’s her trailer:

“Londoners have always eaten eels – there were plenty of them in the Thames – so many that in the Middle Ages they had names for six different sorts. Now we may have a solution to the great eel mystery – how do they go thousands of miles from the Thames to breed in the Sargasso Sea? Researchers have tagged eels (some job: Slippery as an eel?) to trace the route they take. The name of the project? The Eeliad – clearly chosen by someone with a classical education.

Londoners prefer their eels cold, jellied, sprinkled with chilli vinegar and eaten from a paper cup. I like them smoked – and you can buy them in Borough Market after you’ve been on my Foodie Walk this Saturday, May 9th. Join me to hear more about the fish in the Thames – and other foodie delights, at 10 am, Monument tube, Fish St. Hill exit (where else?)”

(For more details go to www.walks.com and look for the Latest News story headed “You'll never be able to eat solidified floor wax again!”)

Join the NEW LW Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The London List No.11

Five London Olympic Venues from 1948



The XIV Olympiad (1948) was staged in London, with Wembley Stadium as the principal venue. But certain events were staged at venues away from the main sites, including:


1. The Herne Hill Velodrome
Track cycling in south London was an all-male event with France taking three golds and Italy two.

2. Champion Hill Stadium, East Dulwich
A Sainsbury’s supermarket now stands on the site where 20,000 souls once crammed in to watch Dulwich Hamlet – who now play in a smaller ground a few yards to the south. The football prelims were staged here. Sweden took gold at the Wembley final.

3. Harringay Arena (Basketball)
Only the second appearance for basketball at the Olympics. Rain had marred the final in Berlin 1936, so the London event was staged indoors. The USA took gold beating France 65-21 in the final

4. Finchley Pool, Finchley
Finchley was the unlikely venue for the water polo prelim rounds. The Italians remained undefeated and took gold at the Empire Pool, Wembley

5. Guinness Sports Club, Park Royal
Hockey preliminaries staged here. India took gold, the first gold medal for the newly independent nation.

POST UPDATED 6/4/16

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









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