A Weekend Diary

…words and images from England's green and pleasant land…

Erhu busking, HMS Warrior, the London Jazz Festival, and Albert Road, Southsea

Gerrard Street is the main street in London’s Chinatown, bustling with tourists and visitors most weekends of the year, so this solitary erhu player, photographed on Sunday afternoon of last week in Gerrard Street, is somewhat untypical, but here he is anyway, one of the very few erhu buskers on the streets of London…

Busking with an erhu, in Gerrard Street, Chinatown, London...

Busking with an erhu, in Gerrard Street, Chinatown, London…

On Tuesday afternoon, I was down at Portsmouth Hard, supping a pint in The Lady Hamilton pub (where incidentally, I chanced upon Adam Ant in the bar around three years ago; he was staying in bed and breakfast there at the time) as I awaited a coach to London’s Victoria Coach station at half-four. Following is a photo of HMS Warrior I took that afternoon; it’s a ship that I never tire of looking at…

HMS Warrior, the world's first ironclad warship, 1860, at Portsmouth Hard

HMS Warrior, the world’s first ironclad warship, 1860, at Portsmouth Hard

The trip to London was to take me to a gig in the Purcell Room on South Bank, part of the London Jazz Festival this year, and specifically to a concert by Christine Tobin, singing The Songs of Leonard Cohen. I very rarely buy jazz records, but I’ve seen a lot of live jazz in London over the years, including a few years ago, gigs by both Christine Tobin and Huw Warren, who accompanied her on accordion (and piano) on Tuesday evening.

First up on Tuesday night in the Purcell Room though, as support act, was the Georgia Mancio Trio, who performed half a-dozen songs, including a version of David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’, sung with a Brazilian Portuguese lyric…and there was also a song by Simon and Garfunkel ;)…

Georgia Mancio Trio, with Gareth Lockrane on flute, and Geoff Gascoyne on bass

Georgia Mancio Trio, with Gareth Lockrane on flute, and Geoff Gascoyne on bass

Christine Tobin’s set consisted almost entirely of covers of Leonard Cohen’s songs, material for an album she’s releasing next spring called ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’. (The only exception to Cohen songs on Tuesday was a John Martyn song from the 1970s, ‘Go Down Easy’ which she did as an encore). It was interesting though to hear Leonard Cohen’s songs interpreted in a jazz context, and the highlight of the evening for me was her take on ‘Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye’ from Cohen’s 1967 album ‘The Songs of Leonard Cohen’.

Christine Tobin, in monochrome

Christine Tobin, in monochrome

Christine Tobin, in glorious redheaded colour

Christine Tobin, in glorious redheaded colour

I got back to Portsmouth around midnight that evening (having endured the dubious pleasure of some inebriated teens or twenty-somethings, misbehaving on the homebound train, but mercifully they got out at Woking) and I took the following day off, to accompany my partner to couple of meetings she had in Portsmouth and Southsea that day. All the following photos were taken in Albert Road, Southsea on that Wednesday…

Indepedent Republic of Albert Road (Southsea)

Indepedent Republic of Albert Road (Southsea)

'Bored of Southsea' is a shop on the other side of the street....

‘Bored of Southsea’ is a shop on the other side of the street….

A row of shops on the south side of Albert Road

A row of shops on the south side of Albert Road

Above 'The Vaults' pub, on the north side of Albert Road

Above ‘The Vaults’ pub, on the north side of Albert Road

SoundZ record shop, on the south side of the street

SoundZ record shop, on the south side of the street

One of several different Albert Road banners in the street...

One of several different Albert Road banners in the street…

The western end of Albert Road...

The western end of Albert Road…

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North Finchley Remembrance Sunday 2013

North Finchley War Memorial, soon after 11.00 this morning

North Finchley War Memorial, soon after 11.00 this morning

The Memorial is outside Finchley United Services Club

The Memorial is outside Finchley United Services Club

The Police closed off the northbound part of Ballards Lane by the Memorial, causing a long tailback of traffic towards Finchley Central

The Police closed off the northbound part of Ballards Lane by the Memorial, causing a long tailback of traffic towards Finchley Central

Looking northwards towards Whetstone, outside the Tally Ho pub, North Finchley High Road

Looking northwards towards Whetstone, outside the Tally Ho pub, North Finchley High Road

The Lord Mayor’s Show 2013

For me, the annual Lord Mayor’s Show in the City of London is by far the most watchable of London’s street processions, even when the rain is pouring down, as it was for the outward journey this year…

Awaiting the return procession to the City...

Awaiting the return procession to the City…

The morning had seen a lot of rain...

The morning had seen a lot of rain…

View downstream from the Victoria Embankment

View downstream from the Victoria Embankment

The Victoria Embankment as seen from near Blackfriars Bridge

The Victoria Embankment as seen from near Blackfriars Bridge

The Bathstore, awaiting their return to the City

The Bathstore, awaiting their return to the City

Keystone Cops heading back to the City..

Keystone Cops heading back to the City..

The Bolivia float...

The Bolivia float…

The Thames upstream from near Blackfriars Bridge...

The Thames upstream from near Blackfriars Bridge…

Blackfriars Bridge from north of the river...

Blackfriars Bridge from north of the river…

Propellors

HongKongComics

GiveADogAHome

ScotsRegiment

Frogman

InflatablePig

CoupleOnSofa

HomeOrgUk

BlueBanners

WorldNeedAHug

BlueSky

MauveRobot

BritishArmy

GreenCarriage

MountedLifeGuard

And here she is, the new Lord Mayor of London, Fiona Woolf, a lawyer…

NewLordMayor

The Black Friar pub, opposite which I was standing for the last twenty pictures....

The Black Friar pub, opposite which I was standing for the last twenty pictures….

And some photos taken whilst wandering down the Victoria Embankment, on my way to Victoria Station…

RiverSilhouette

HMSPresident

CityBoundary

SBTopiary

The Rest is Noise

The Rest is Noise is a year-long festival that digs deep into 20th-century history to reveal the influences on art in general and classical music in particular, inspired by Alex Ross’ book The Rest is Noise

Such is the blurb that introduces the eight page A4 printed handout for this weekend’s instalment of the festival on the South Bank, which was given the title:’Politics and Spirituality in the Late 20th Century’.

To be honest, I’ve not taken a lot of interest in ‘The Rest is Noise’ festival until now, but there was something uniquely compelling about this weekend’s events, given its focus on life behind the Iron Curtain in the 1970s and 1980s, and my own interest in the Russian language, an interest which culminated in the acquisition of an O-level in 1984 (a strangely appropriate year given its Orwellian connotations ;)) and led to a continuation into A-level Russian studies in the mid-Eighties, which I never actually got around to completing, but which left me with a love of Pushkin’s work, and Gogol’s ‘The Overcoat’, and inculcated in me an enduring love of the beauty of the Russian language.

So it was, I spent much of the day on the South Bank, taking in some of the many available sessions this weekend. Unfortunately, several of the sessions that I would have liked to have attended clashed with others taking place at the same time; for instance, I would have particularly liked to have seen Astrid Proll, a member of Germany’s notorious Baader-Meinhof gang, talking about her life living undercover amongst London’s alternative squatter community, until she was tracked down in 1978. However, I opted instead for the simultaneous talk on the Beatles rocking the Kremlin…

The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room on London's South Bank (as seen from the ground floor of the Royal Festival Hall)

The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room on London’s South Bank (as seen from the ground floor of the Royal Festival Hall)

Catherine Merridale, a leading historian on the Soviet Union, here giving a lecture on Soviet society in the 1970s and 1980s...

Catherine Merridale, a leading historian on the Soviet Union, here giving a lecture on Soviet society in the 1970s and 1980s…

Catherine Merridale, in discussion with Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, after the (11.00 am)  opening lecture in the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Catherine Merridale, in discussion with Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, after the (11.00 am) opening lecture in the Queen Elizabeth Hall

In the early afternoon, I opted for some lunch, and headed to Marks and Sparks at nearby Waterloo station to get a sandwich, and there discovered free drinks were being handed out on the station concourse…:)

A free chocolate milk drink, being given away during a promotion on the concourse of Waterloo station on Saturday afternoon...

A free chocolate milk drink, being given away during a promotion on the concourse of Waterloo station on Saturday afternoon…

Next event for me was a showing of one of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s ‘Dekalog’ films, originally made for Polish television in 1988. I really enjoyed this, and I’ll be seeking to get the nine in the series that I’ve not yet seen on a DVD sometime….

Inside the Sunley Pavilion on Level 3 of the Royal Festival Hall, about to watch Dekalog 2, one of the ten Dekalog films being shown over the weekend...

Inside the Sunley Pavilion on Level 3 of the Royal Festival Hall, about to watch Dekalog 2, one of the ten Dekalog films being shown over the weekend…

The Front Room in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, venue for the discussion on the Beatles seditious effect in undermining Soviet  political orthodoxy... ;)

The Front Room in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, venue for the discussion on the Beatles seditious effect in undermining Soviet political orthodoxy… 😉

The subject interested me enough to buy a copy of this book, and get it signed by Leslie Woodhead, the author...

The subject interested me enough to buy a copy of this book, and get it signed by Leslie Woodhead, the author…

Final event of the day (that is, excluding an evening concert), was a lecture by the philosopher Alain de Botton, followed by a discussion hosted by Jude Kelly, who afterwards described the session as ‘thought-provoking and invigorating’, which I thought was fair comment…;)

Alain de Botton, during his lecture on 'sprituality and consumerism'...

Alain de Botton, during his lecture on ‘sprituality and consumerism’…

Portsmouth Hard, and Fareham Shopping Centre

Not my usual journey into work, but the bus I normally catch didn’t turn up this morning, so I thought I’d take a more romantic journey to my workplace, via Portsmouth Harbour, the Gosport Ferry, and Fareham. To be sure, it wasn’t as quick a journey as usual, but it was a lot more satisfying one…:)

HMS Warrior, The Hard, Portsmouth, around 8 o'clock this morning..

HMS Warrior, The Hard, Portsmouth, around 8 o’clock this morning..

Aboard the Gosport Ferry, leaving The Hard, Portsmouth...

Aboard the Gosport Ferry, leaving The Hard, Portsmouth…

Heading for Gosport, with the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth on the horizon...

Heading for Gosport, with the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth on the horizon…

A Gosport Ferry, heading for Portsmouth...

A Gosport Ferry, heading for Portsmouth…

Poppy Appeal Stall, outside Boots, in Fareham Shopping Centre...

Poppy Appeal Stall, outside Boots, in Fareham Shopping Centre…

Snow White figurine, in the Disney Collection, in  H. Samuel, in Fareham Shopping Centre...

Snow White figurine, in the Disney Collection, in H. Samuel, in Fareham Shopping Centre…

Lasered block, on a stall in Fareham Shopping Centre...

Lasered block, on a stall in Fareham Shopping Centre…

Happy Halloween, schoolchildren's display in Fareham Shopping Centre...

Happy Halloween, schoolchildren’s display in Fareham Shopping Centre…

Another stall, in Delme Square, Fareham Shopping Centre...

Another stall, in Delme Square, Fareham Shopping Centre…

First shoes...in Clarks, Fareham Shopping Centre

First shoes…in Clarks, Fareham Shopping Centre

More Micro Four Thirds Experimentation…

…and this time with a Sigma Mini Wide II 28mm lens on the Panasonic GF 1 digital body…

On a wall alongside a pathway leading to Lodge Lane Car Park, London N12

On a wall alongside a pathway leading to Lodge Lane Car Park, London N12

Graffiti on the wall in Lodge Lane Car Park, London N12

Graffiti on the wall in Lodge Lane Car Park, London N12

Woodside Park Tube Station, North Finchley, London N12

Woodside Park Tube Station, North Finchley, London N12

Houses of Parliament, done in sepia...

Houses of Parliament, done in sepia…

A rainy trip to the British Museum, and beyond…

Photography has played a major part in my life for a very long time, both in studying its history, and in taking my own photographs over the past few decades. In the course of the latter, I gradually acquired a range of good quality 35mm lenses using the Contax-Yashica mount, and with the demise of 35mm photography, swept aside by the coming of the digital photographic age, I was pretty much resigned to the prospect of some excellent 35mm lenses gathering dust and never being used again.

However, I fairly recently discovered that the digital Micro Four Thirds system, pioneered by Olympus and Panasonic, allows for the use of 35mm lenses, by means of a manual adaptor, on a digital body. So, I picked up a second-hand Panasonic GF1 body, and a Contax-Yashica adaptor, and here are some experimental shots taken with a Tessar f2.8 45mm lens.

I decided to try out the combination in the British Museum, and on a subsequent ramble down to the South Bank. I have to say there was a high failure rate, due mostly to camera-shake, and the mis-focussing of the lens (you’re obliged to use such a non-native lens in manual mode), and I also found it quite restrictive to use a fixed length lens which effectively has a focal length equivalent to around 90mm in 35mm terms. However, I’m still learning, and I’m happy with some of these pictures, so I’ll perservere for a while yet ;)…

A female statue in the British Museum...

A female statue in the British Museum…

A couple of ceramics, juxtaposed...

A couple of ceramics, juxtaposed…

Maybe Venus, maybe someone else ;)...

Maybe Venus, maybe someone else ;)…

A rainy courtyard, British Museum...

A rainy courtyard, British Museum…

James Smith & Sons, High Holborn

James Smith & Sons, High Holborn

Miniature Replica Guitars, in Cards Galore, in High Holborn

Miniature Replica Guitars, in Cards Galore, in High Holborn

Ena Sharples, in the window of Wild and Coffee Company, New Oxford Street

Ena Sharples, in the window of Wild and Coffee Company, New Oxford Street

View of the City, from the north side of Waterloo Bridge...

View of the City, from the north side of Waterloo Bridge…

On the South Bank, beneath Hungerford Bridge...

On the South Bank, beneath Hungerford Bridge…

Autumn sky above the Houses of Parliament...

Autumn sky above the Houses of Parliament…

Same bloke  (Christopher Werkowicz by name) as was busking at South Ken yesterday afternoon, now in front of the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square

Same bloke (Christopher Werkowicz by name) as was busking at South Ken yesterday afternoon, now in front of the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square

On my way back to Leicester Square station, for a Piccadilly Line train to Arnos Grove, I passed a group of excitable screaming teenage girls surrounding a car outside the Capital Radio building, so I took this snatch shot of one of the objects of the girls’ desire. Apparently the band is called Union J, and for generational reasons, I’ve never heard of them…but then, I’d guess they’ve never heard of King Crimson, or Blodwyn Pig either ;)…

Outside Capital Radio, at the bottom of the Charing Cross Road...

Outside Capital Radio, at the bottom of the Charing Cross Road…

A visit to the Science Museum…

There was a very specific reason for heading to the Science Museum in South Kensington on this occasion; there are a handful of photographic exhibitions that I’m intending to see in London in the coming weeks, and not least amongst them was ‘Only in England’, featuring the work of the late Tony Ray-Jones (1942-1971) and Martin Parr (b. 1952), which is currently showing in the Media Space at the Science Museum.

It cost me eight quid to get in, but it was money well-spent; there was a particular fascination for me in Tony Ray-Jones’ images taken in English seaside towns in the late Sixties, unique and wry observations of the English at leisure in a bygone age.

I’ve been revisiting ‘High Windows’ of late, Philip Larkin’s 1974 final volume of poetry. The first poem in that book, ‘To the Sea’ (completed in October 1969), seems to me to be a perfect literary accompaniment to Tony Ray-Jones’ English seaside pictures taken almost half a century ago.

The taking of photographs wasn’t allowed in the ‘Only in England’ exhibition space, so here’s another, more comtemporary, example of English quirkiness, taken in Exhibition Road on my way to the Science Museum on Saturday afternoon. I’m not altogether sure what that tuba-like brass instrument is, but, whatever, it breathed fire, as a photo I took outside the National Gallery early the following evening shows ;).

Christopher Werkowicz busking in Exhibition Road

Christopher Werkowicz busking in Exhibition Road

Front door of the V & A Museum, in Cromwell Road

Front door of the V & A Museum, in Cromwell Road

Heading back from the Museums, towards Knightsbridge Tube station

Heading back from the Museums, towards Knightsbridge Tube station

Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square…and around Charing Cross…

A rainy Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Friday afternoon, 11th October

A rainy Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Friday afternoon, 11th October

Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices, opposite Portsmouth Guildhall...

Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices, opposite Portsmouth Guildhall…

North side, Trafalgar Square, with The National Gallery, St Martin's-in-the-Fields, and the Fourth Plinth...

North side, Trafalgar Square, with The National Gallery, St Martin’s-in-the-Fields, and the Fourth Plinth…

'Save Rosia' an environmental Action Group...

‘Save Rosia’ an environmental Action Group…

A juggling uni-cyclist , performing in front of the National Gallery...

A juggling uni-cyclist , performing in front of the National Gallery…

A London City skyline from Hungerford Bridge...

A London City skyline from Hungerford Bridge…

Another view downstream from Hungerford Bridge...

Another view downstream from Hungerford Bridge…

Nelson Mandela statue, outside the Royal Festival Hall, on London's South Bank...

Nelson Mandela statue, outside the Royal Festival Hall, on London’s South Bank…

A Marathon, the Manfreds revisited, and a World Cup qualifier at Fratton Park…

Had an interesting week in Hampshire last week, beginning on the Sunday with a trip down to New Milton to lend some moral support to a friend who was running her first Marathon (the New Forest Marathon) and I’m pleased to say she got round okay, despite suffering from calf cramps from the half-way point, so well done Jenny :)…

I actually got to New Milton at elevenish, and with the Marathon runners not due to finish until early afternoon, I decided to wander down to nearby Barton on Sea to have a look around. There’s not an awful lot to do in such a sleepy seaside town, although there are a few good cliff-top/beach walks to be had…

Looking eastwards along the cliff-top towards the Beachcomber Cafe...

Looking eastwards along the cliff-top towards the Beachcomber Cafe…

And here are a few random shots from the race itself…

About 200 yards from the finish line, in The Arnewood School...

About 200 yards from the finish line, in The Arnewood School…

Looks in pretty good nick considering he's just run 26 miles... ;)

Looks in pretty good nick considering he’s just run 26 miles… 😉

'Come on Dad!'...some young kids have just spotted their dad (in the yellow top)...

‘Come on Dad!’…some young kids have just spotted their dad (in the yellow top)…

And on the wander back to New Milton railway station, this cartoon caught my eye, in a Dentist’s in Osbourne Road…

Yes, quite...one for cat owners ;)

Yes, quite…one for cat owners 😉

On Wednesday evening I made one of my occasional visits to the Ferneham Halls in Fareham, to see a gig by the Manfreds, who I’d also seen (with a slightly different line-up, that included Mike d’Abo) at the King’s Theatre in Albert Road in Southsea, during the Manfreds’ 50th Anniversary Tour in 2012. That was one of the best live gigs I’ve seen in recent years, so it didn’t take much self-persuasion for me to get a ticket for Wednesday’s event…

Paul Jones, lead singer and bluesy harmonica player...

Paul Jones, lead singer and bluesy harmonica player…

Simon Pegg, on keyboards...

Simon Pegg, on keyboards…

Tom McGuinesss, lead guitarist...

Tom McGuinesss, lead guitarist…

The final two songs the band played at this gig were ‘Pretty Flamingo’, and ‘Doo Wah Diddy Diddy’ (duly sung-along to) but I have a particular affection for the third last song that was played on Wednesday night. When the 1960s’ incarnation of Manfred Mann disbanded in 1969, Tom McGuiness went on to form McGuinness Flint, whose most successful song was ‘When I’m Dead and Gone’…

The gig ended at half-ten, after which I headed back home in light drizzle…

On my way back to Fareham railway station after the gig, a rainy West Street...

On my way back to Fareham railway station after the gig, a rainy West Street…

On the Saturday lunchtime before the New Forest Marathon, I’d watched, on BBC-1, England’s Women Football team World Cup qualifier against Belarus, which England won 6-0. And as soon as I discovered their next match would be at Fratton Park on Thursday evening I didn’t waste too much time in booking myself a ticket for the game (it cost a fiver on line, plus a one pound booking fee).

And thus it was, after work on Thursday evening, I made my way to Fratton Park, and joined some six thousand other spectactors at the game. Following are some photos taken at the match, but first are a few pictures of some of the rather artistic graffiti that surrounds Fratton Park. A couple of these feature stuff done by a chap who uses the tag Fark, who I chanced to meet walking his dog around the football ground one summer’s evening last year, so we had a ten minute chat about his work…

Artwork by Fark 1

Artwork by Fark 1

Artwork by Fark 2

Artwork by Fark 2

Abstract Pompey graffiti

Abstract Pompey graffiti

England v Turkey

England v Turkey

England pre-match bonding...

England pre-match bonding…

The number 4 here is Fara Williams, who has played over a hundred games for England, and scored three dozen goals. I mention her here because we are actually related to one another; her paternal grandpa was the brother of my maternal nan, so I guess that makes us second cousins or something…;)

Play underway...

Play underway…

England attacking in the second half...

England attacking in the second half…

A bit one-sided, but entertaining all the same ;)

A bit one-sided, but entertaining all the same 😉

The match programme...

The match programme…

Before ending this post I might add that this game was in fact the second women’s football international I’ve attended, the other being the London 2012 Olympics semi-final at Wembley, between France and Japan, which I was fortunate enough to get a ticket for last year…

http://yizhivika.com/2012/08/06/

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