Thursday, 30 April 2015

#London Plaque Tiddlywinks No.30! Back To Square One! Sorry, That Should Read Circle One!


WE MADE IT! PLAQUE NUMBER 30!

Every night in the month of April we've been jumping from one literary London plaque to another, connecting each plaque to another literary figure commemorated elsewhere in London with a nugget of literary trivia. Creative collaborations, romantic entanglements, feuds, places-in-common, the links have varied, but over the course of the past 30 days we have covered poets, biographers, novelists, humourists, critics, thriller writers and more…




30. BRINGS US FULL CIRCLE!  John F. Kennedy, President of the United States 1961 – 1963 lived in London when his father was U.S Ambassador to the Court of St James. Kennedy wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning Profiles In Courage, published in 1956. Among his own favourite books, Kennedy listed From Russia With Love, the James Bond thriller written by…


Thanks for reading! Blue Plaque Tiddlywinks will return for another series later in the year. 

In the meantime, catch up with all 30 connected Literary London plaque posts here…


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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Another Busy #London Thursday

DC Editor Adam writes…


A few weeks ago I blogged about Thursdays (catch up with that post here).

Thursday is my busiest – and favourite – day of the week. Today was no exception.

This afternoon I snooped around inside Ezra Pound's house in the company of 20-or-so London Walkers. A steal at £4 million. Sing goddamn!

And I covered the capital as is my Thursday wont, from St Giles in the morning (prep for my rep walk this Saturday at 10:45a.m)…


… to springtime Kensington…


… under dramatic skies…



… to Tower Hill…


… and Mitre Square…



Next Thursday I'm in Westminster & the East End.

I love this town.







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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The #London Reading List No.30: The Glory Game


Throughout March & April 2015 we'll be compiling our definitive London Reading List. 

We've asked London Walks Guides & London Walkers to recommend a favourite book or story, and we've also raided the archives here at The Daily Constitutional to bring a rich and varied selection of London-themed and London-set reading matter.

Whether you live here in London, work here, play here or if you are in the throws of planning a trip to visit us here, these are the books you need to read. As usual, you can give us a shout with your own recommendations – thrillers, literary classics, biographies, anthologies, anything! – at the usual email address, via Twitter or Facebook, or simply leave a comment below.






No.30 The Glory Game (1972)

By Hunter Davies
(Mainstream Publishing)

It seems like an age ago now, but there was once a time when football (by which me mean soccer) was a topic of conversation reserved only for those in-the-know. A codified world, largely working class, almost totally masculine.

Then came Nick Hornby’s book Fever Pitch.

Hornby’s eloquent memoir of the trials and tribulations of life as an Arsenal supporter crossed over into the literary mainstream, garnered great reviews outside the sports pages. And deservedly so. It is a great book, by a great writer.

But then the deluge.

In the wake of Fever Pitch, football too entered the middle class mainstream. Before long, every celeb, every telly actor, every politician was shoehorning references to “footie” into their public utterances.

If you’d like to know what the world was like before such working class heroes as Tony Blair (ahem) and David Cameron (ahem-ahem) were spouting off about their love for Newcastle United and Aston Villa (!) then The Glory Game is the place to begin.

In the two decades before Fever Pitch, Hunter Davies’s warts-and-all portrait of life behind the scenes at North London’s Tottenham Hotspur Football Club was the only book on football. The only one. Sure there were “memoirs” of retired pros, formulaic, ghostwritten affairs intended as Christmas stocking fillers. But nothing insightful, nothing that the clubs didn’t want us to know.

Davies’s book changed all that.

Published in 1972, Davies had enjoyed unprecedented access to the club to research The Glory Game. This access included the dressing room, the training ground and even the players’ homes. Davies witnessed rivalries and conflicts first hand. Everything ended up in the book.

“His accuracy,” wrote former Arsenal and Scotland goalkeeper Bob Wilson, “is sufficiently uncanny to be embarrassing.”

If Davies’s book was such a revolution, one might ask, then why didn’t it start its own avalanche of copycats? The answer is simple. His portrait of life behind the scenes at a major football club was deemed by everyone inside the game to be so explosive that no writer was ever allowed such unfettered access to a club again. In today’s climate, with every club running a well-oiled publicity machine, it is unlikely that such access will ever be granted.

The Glory Game, therefore, stands alone as a fly-on-the-wall account of the internal politics of football. And it remains a classic 40 years on.


And here's our London Walks Podcast on football…








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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The #London Reading List No.29: London by Edward Rutherfurd


We've asked London Walks Guides & London Walkers to recommend a favourite book or story, and we've also raided the archives here at The Daily Constitutional to bring a rich and varied selection of London-themed and London-set reading matter.

Whether you live here in London, work here, play here or if you are in the throws of planning a trip to visit us here, these are the books you need to read. As usual, you can give us a shout with your own recommendations – thrillers, literary classics, biographies, anthologies, anything! – at the usual email address, via Twitter or Facebook, or simply leave a comment below.





No.29. London by Edward Rutherford


Here's Kim

Books - I could go on all day and night so if I have to restrict myself to one and if I put myself in the position of someone who wants a good story and to discover the history of the city then head for Edward Rutherfurd's "London".  

An epic novel that begins with the birth of the Thames, takes us through Roman era and to the medieval, jumps to the Tudor and Puritan 17th century and then we are jumping through the centuries to come right up to date.  There are wonderful characters who are skilfully woven together so that families overlap through generations and we know, but they don't, exactly where they've come from.  

It was such a good read when I first encountered this that I bought the one for New York and read that before I made my first visit there.  It was perfect.  I  had a great overview of the development of Manhattan, Brooklyn and further afield and I knew what I was looking at.  For someone trying to get to grips with London this is a great start with a story.





Kim
Kim, who has worked in the House of Commons and the European Parliament, is another 24-carat Blue Badge Guide: she won the London Tourist Board's Guide of the Year award in 2001.






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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