Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year from The Daily Constitutional

Dear Daily Constitutionalists & London Walkers,

A Happy New Year to each and every one of you! To see out the old year, here's my version of Robert Burns's most famous work Auld Lang Syne – recorded here in East Finchley last New Year's Eve (2015) and sent out to you with love and thanks for a great year.




Best wishes for a prosperous 2017


Peace & Love

Adam Scott-Goulding
Editor
The Daily Constitutional
East Finchley 31st December
(Just before heading off to lead my Ghosts of the Old City tour)





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.



Happy New Year Graham

DC Editor Adam writes…


By a quirk of the calendar and rota, it turns out that I'm leading the Ghosts of the old City walk at Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) for the second year in a row.


Last year, as I had a coffee before the walk started, I blogged the following post (below) from Paternoster Square in honour of my countryman and colleague Graham.

We Scots believe that Hogmanay is a powerfully mystic time of year - so perhaps it's more than a coincidence that I'm leading Graham's old walk for the second year at year's end.

In that spirit, it would be tempting fate not to reblog my tribute to my late colleague…


(First Posted 31st December 2015, this is my second last Daily Constitutional post of 2016)

Adam writes, from Paternoster Square...



Politician Willie Ross once pronounced: "The Scots are a disputatious people."

It is a line beloved of Scots everywhere (your correspondent particularly). It even features in an episode of The Simpsons - Principal Skinner describes Groundskeeper Willie as disputatious, at which Willie barks: "You just made an enemy for life!"

Superstitious, too.

Especially at Hogmanay - the Scots word for New Year.

At New Year we "first foot" our friends and neighbours - visit their homes after the stroke of midnight bearing gifts - a lump of coal for the fire and a slab of black bun (dense fruit cake) are the traditional gifts. To arrive empty handed is to bring certain misfortune upon the head of your host for the duration of the year ahead. Similarly, if the first foot - the first person to step over the threshold in the New Year - is fair-haired, then disaster will surely befall the household.

At Hogmanay the ghosts crowd around in the words of the old songs, in the tall tales and, most of all, in the "presence" of our absent friends.

A superstitious people right enough.

You can see it in our writers, too. Conan Doyle's flirtation with spiritualism is surely a good example. Burns's epic Tam O'Shanter, the poem in which the drunk and randy Tam is chased by demons when he gatecrashes their evil midnight rites at auld Alloway Kirk. Robert Louis Stevenson's "fine bogie tale" Jekyll and Hyde continues to fascinate. The devil himself is central to my all-time favourite work of Scots literature, The Private Memoirs & Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) by James Hogg.

In about an hour I'll be leading my final Ghosts of the Old a City tour of 2015. The last outing for this ghost tour before Hogmanay. I'll spend two hours spinning yarns, calling up the spirits, waving my arms like a broken helicopter and generally bulging my eyes like Fraser out of Dad's Army.

Subtle it is not. And I love every minute of it.

But as the walk starts, the absent friends will already begin to assemble for the Hogmanay revels. And first among them will be the man who taught me this walk, my late colleague, my countryman, my friend, Graham.

Graham trod this beat on a Tuesday night for many a year before passing on the mantel to this grateful guide a few years ago. He was tired of leading London Walks at nighttime but carried on his daytime tours for a good few years after this. I was always happy to have inherited this walk from Graham in such circumstances.

Graham passed away earlier this year (2015).

Graham was always a dapper fellow, always wore a tie. And so tonight, in tribute, I'll break my usual habit and do likewise...


Okay, Graham's knot would NEVER have been as slovenly as mine, but I hope it's the thought that counts.

So here I go, a Scot following in the footsteps of a Scot, following a long line of Scots revelling in the telling of fine bogie tales and calling up demons in the very shadow of the church - not Alloway this time, but St Paul's - as my countrymen are wont to do. We're aye whaur extremes meet, to paraphrase the great Hugh MacDiarmid, and the meeting point of the pious and the profane is always a happy hunting ground for the Scots storyteller.

Thanks for the walk, Graham, and a Happy New Year to you. I'll be at the Old Bailey not a minute later than 8:30pm. I'm delighted to know you'll be looking on and checking your watch.

Adam Scott-Goulding

Paternoster Square, London


29th December 2015





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.



#plaque366 The Finale! Thomas Tompion & George Graham


A London commemorative plaque for every day in 2016. 

The plaques are selected from all walks of life, and all points of the London compass – and I'm taking requests too!

DROP ME A LINE or leave a comment below if you'd like to nominate a plaque for inclusion in the series





Adam writes…


I MADE IT! A year of plaquery on the Daily Constitutional comes to an end with TWO subjects on one plaque!

And what better subject for New Year's Eve than time?




Tompion, the father of English clockmaking. His protege George Graham (who married Tompion's niece) became, in turn, a great advisor and supporter of John Harrison, the inventor of the marine chronometer,







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 Daily Constitutional Editor's Diary 2016 December: #JohnLennon, @theatrehell & @BlkGullBooksLdn



At the end of 2016, The Daily Constitutional's editor Adam looks back at his walking & blogging London year…


December…


Wise words at Leicester Square…






Some great Fringe Theatre…





In December I also got together with Andy on the London Walks Christmas Special Podcast




You can catch up with that here…




And at the annual London Walks Christmas Party I performed Last Night I HadThe Strangest Dream. (There will be a highlight vid of all the performances that night appearing here on The DC very soon)…






VIP treatment for the best turkey in town…








Walking it all off with TWO London Walks tours on Boxing day…








HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A.S-G 31st December 2016

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.



The Daily Constitutional Editor's Diary 2016 November: #DenmarkStreet, #AlleyCatBar & @SpursOfficial (Again!)


At the end of 2016, The Daily Constitutional's editor Adam looks back at his walking & blogging London year…



November

In November I added a new element to my Wednesday night Rock'n'Roll London Pub Walk: a live gig!


At the first pub stop – the Alley Cat Bar in Denmark Street – I perform a 20 minute acoustic set featuring songs that crop up along the route of the walk. Come and join me when the tour resumes again in March 2017!


Also in November I was gifted a ticket to see Spurs at Wembley by a London Walker! Nick Idolini from Florida, traveling with his wife and sister to watch the NY Giants in the NFL game at Twickenham gave me the ticket at the end of my Jack the Ripper tour. (I blogged about it HERE.)

Thanks Nick!


The great coincidence of November was that I had already been booked to take family, associates, sponsors and journalists from Spurs' opponents Bayer Leverkusen on a tour of Covent Garden and the West End on the morning of the match!



They were a lovely bunch and, at the end our tour in Trafalgar Square I was able to say that I hoped they enjoyed MOST of the rest of their day in London!


Thanks to Nick and family from Florida for the ticket!


My fave London snap from November was captured on my iPhone whilst out for an early morning run – sunrise in East Finchley Cemetery…



November is also Christmas Cake month!














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.