A Weekend Diary

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

Archive for the tag “Royal Festival Hall”

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’…

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Late August meanderings…

Unlike last year’s photoblog, where daily uploads were obligatory, this year’s treads an altogether less disciplined path, so here are a few images captured from the last few days’ wanderings in Hampshire and London…

The first two were taken in Fareham in Hampshire, where I sometimes stop off for a cup of tea before continuing on into work…

Looking eastwards, outside the Shopping Centre, in West Street, Fareham

Looking eastwards, outside the Shopping Centre, in West Street, Fareham

When I indulge in this morning cuppa, it’s invariably at B & Bs in Fareham Shopping Centre, and this photo is in recognition of Emily’s charity walk along the Great Wall of China, a year or whenever ago. She told me she walked about a hundred miles, in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, so well done to Emily, who sometimes serves me with my cup of tea here in Fareham ;)…

Emily with her sum raised charity cheque outside Great Ormond Street Hospital...

Emily with her sum raised charity cheque outside Great Ormond Street Hospital…

Not sure precisely where I took this photo, but it was doubtless in Hampshire in the past few days…

Probably taken in Titchfield...

Probably taken in Titchfield…

I do know where this picture was taken, and it was in Titchfield. The image actually has an allegorical meaning to me, but I’ve no intention of explaining it here ;)…

Walking back to work after a lunchtime pint at The Holiday Inn...

Walking back to work after a lunchtime pint at The Holiday Inn…

Okay, so back to London, and all too often this summer, the Northern Line has been closed at weekends due to Engineering Work, and I’ve been catching buses a lot as a consequence. So it was again yesterday, when I caught an 82 bus from the Tally Ho in North Finchley to Baker Street. The following were taken during a ramble through Marylebone, to Regent Street and beyond, and onto the South Bank…

En route, nearing Oxford Circus, I passed this little gathering outside the Langham Hotel, and I was curious and bemused at first, but didn’t linger long, and settled for a few pictures, one of which was this….

Awaiting Lady Gaga...

Awaiting Lady Gaga…

Nearby, in Langham Place, is the beautiful All Souls’ Church….

All Souls' Church...

All Souls’ Church…

So on I rambled, through Oxford Circus, down Regent Street, through Chinatown, and over Hungerford Bridge to the Royal Festival Hall, on London’s South Bank…

In the Members' Bar of the RFH, there was no no Curious Brew, so I settled for Birra Moretti instead

In the Members’ Bar of the RFH, there was no Curious Brew, so I settled for Birra Moretti instead

View over the RFH Terrace, from the Members' Bar, to the River Thames and Hungerford Bridge beyond...

View over the RFH Terrace, from the Members’ Bar, to the River Thames and Hungerford Bridge beyond…

An alternative way of relaxing, by Lift 3, Green Side...

An alternative way of relaxing, by Lift 3, Green Side…

A hot summer’s day in London Town…

For those of us whose homes lie on the Northern Line of London’s Tube network, we’ve been experiencing a lot of weekend engineering work this year, and that was true again this weekend, with no trains running on the Northern Line between East Finchley and central London (on the High Barnet Branch) nor any trains running between Golders Green and central London (on the Edgware Branch). So it was, I found myself on a crowded Replacement Bus Service between East Finchley and St Pancras today, and once we’d all been disgorged into Midland Road, I decided I’d take a nostalgic ramble southwards towards the river, taking a few pictures along the way…

First stop was a visit to the courtyard of the British Library, which is just to the west of St Pancras Station on the northern side of the Euston Road. Here, I stumbled across a display by some Morris Men, as part of an event called The Full English Discovery Day…

BritishLibrary0

BritishLibrary1

BritishLibrary2

Along with the Morris Men, other displays included as part of this Full English Discovery Day, were traditional English entertainments such as Maypole Dancing, but as I was intending to pay a visit to Trafalgar Square for the day’s event there, the London Evening Standard’s ‘Readathon’, I left the courtyard soon after the Morris Men finished their performance. However, before leaving, I took a couple of photos of Eduardo Paolozzi’s 1995 wonderful statue of ‘Newton, after Blake’…

Newton1

Newton2

Then, across the Euston Road, for a photo of St Pancras Station, before continuing the journey southwards..

One of the glories of English railway architecture, St Pancras Station, as seen from the far side of the Euston Road...

One of the glories of English railway architecture, St Pancras Station, as seen from the far side of the Euston Road…

Given the day’s heat, at some point in the afternoon I would inevitably be taking some liquid refreshment, but as tempting as it was, I gave ‘Mabels Tavern’ a miss, as I wanted to make sure I got to Trafalgar Square by four o’clock or soon after…

'Mabel's Tavern' a Shepherd Neame (a Kentish Brewer) pub on the corner of Mabledon Place and Flaxman Terrace...

‘Mabel’s Tavern’ a Shepherd Neame (a Kentish Brewer) pub on the corner of Mabledon Place and Flaxman Terrace…

I must confess here that until today, I had never even heard of the man celebrated in this statue in Cartwright Gardens, but he was evidently a man way ahead of his time in his political opinions :)…

John Cartwright (1740-1824), an English political radical...

John Cartwright (1740-1824), an English political radical…

On I rambled southwards, stopping off in Brunswick Square to buy some food and water in Waitrose, before continuing on past Russell Square, to Holborn Tube station, at the top of Kingsway. Between 1988 and 1996, Kingsway was my working address, and I have many happy memories from those years :)…

The door of St Anselm and St Caecilia's Roman Catholic Church in Kingsway, London, WC2

The door of St Anselm and St Caecilia’s Roman Catholic Church in Kingsway, London, WC2

When working in this area, I spent countless lunchtime hours visiting Covent Garden to the west, either for lunch or visiting the market stalls there, and the following building, is on the Covent Garden side of Kingsway, at 1, Kemble Street. It’s called Space House, and is a Richard Seifert building dating from 1962…

Space House, as seen from the west...

Space House, as seen from the west…

And in nearby Wild Street, I found this vehicle parked…;)…

Pink Limousine, Wild Street, London, WC2

Pink Limousine, Wild Street, London, WC2

And a few more WC2 places in the vicinity…

Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London, WC2

Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London, WC2

Some 'Boris Bikes', awaiting hirers...

Some ‘Boris Bikes’, awaiting hirers…

'War Horse', Parker Street, WC2...

‘War Horse’, Parker Street, WC2…

Ballet pumps, in a shop window of one of the many shops selling dance-wear in the Covent Garden area...

Ballet pumps, in a shop window of one of the many shops selling dance-wear in the Covent Garden area…

Monmouth Street, WC2, in the heart of London's Theatre-land...

Monmouth Street, WC2, in the heart of London’s Theatre-land…

I eventually wended my way down to Trafalgar Square, arriving well after four o’clock, and just managed to capture this shot of the author Kathy Lette as she was leaving the ‘Readathon’ stage…

Kathy Lette, saying her farewells after doing her bit for 'Readathon'..

Kathy Lette, saying her farewells after doing her bit for ‘Readathon’..

The following photos show the cast of ‘Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain’ (Benedict Martin and Lauryn Redding) doing their performance of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn on the ‘Readathon’ stage. The two are currently performing ‘Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain’ at the nearby Garrick Theatre, at the bottom of the Charing Cross Road…

Henry and Anne get introduced to one another...

Henry and Anne get introduced to one another…

Some kind of wooing going on...;)...

Some kind of wooing going on…;)…

...but all good things come to an end... :(...

…but all good things come to an end… :(…

Methinks it'd take more than a sparrowhawk to frighten this pigeon away from Trafalgar Square..;)...

Methinks it’d take more than a sparrowhawk to frighten this pigeon away from Trafalgar Square..;)…

Two double-deckers, one old, one new, in front of Charing Cross Station...

Two double-deckers, one old, one new, in front of Charing Cross Station…

Embankment Tube Station, at the southern end of Villiers Street...

Embankment Tube Station, at the southern end of Villiers Street…

The band performing in the 'With Love from Lambeth' festival in the Clore Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall, late on Saturday afternoon...

The band performing in the ‘With Love from Lambeth’ festival in the Clore Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall, late on Saturday afternoon…

Alas, I never discovered the band or this singer's name, but she did some good covers of stuff like 'Summertime (When the Living is Easy)' and Etta James' 'At Last'... :)

Alas, I never discovered the band or this singer’s name, but she did some good covers of stuff like ‘Summertime (When the Living is Easy)’ and Etta James’ ‘At Last’… 🙂

A model of the 1951 Festival of Britain site, near the front of the Royal Festival Hall...

A model of the 1951 Festival of Britain site, near the front of the Royal Festival Hall…

Overlooking the Thames at the Members' Bar at the Royal Festival Hall

Overlooking the Thames at the Members’ Bar at the Royal Festival Hall

Another view from the Members' Bar...

Another view from the Members’ Bar…

A bronze head on a wall of the Members' Bar...

A bronze head on a wall of the Members’ Bar…

Duly refreshed, I went outside to have a look around the South Bank towards the London Eye...

Duly refreshed, I went outside to have a look around the South Bank towards the London Eye…

In the foreground, a modern sculpture called the 'Jubilee Oracle', and in the distant yonder, The Houses of Parliament...

In the foreground, a modern sculpture called the ‘Jubilee Oracle’, and in the distant yonder, The Houses of Parliament…

Susana Silva, a Portuguese singer, and South Bank busker...

Susana Silva, a Portuguese singer, and South Bank busker…

The said Susana, in her South Bank context...

The said Susana, in her South Bank context…

The work of a portrait sketch artist on Hungerford Bridge...

The work of a portrait sketch artist on Hungerford Bridge…

View upstream from Hungerford Bridge...

View upstream from Hungerford Bridge…

And finally, Swan Lane Open Space in Whetstone, London N20, which I wandered through after catching a number 34 bus to Barnet Church, from Arnos Grove Tube Station on the Piccadilly Line...

And finally, Swan Lane Open Space in Whetstone, London N20, which I wandered through after catching a number 34 bus to Barnet Church, from Arnos Grove Tube Station on the Piccadilly Line…

I am breathing…in the Cherry and Walnut Room, 60 Cannon Street, London

Neil, Louise and Oscar...

Neil, Louise and Oscar…

When I was a teenager, many moons ago, one of my Dad’s elder sisters was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, so I was always going to make the effort to watch this film.

http://www.iambreathingfilm.com/film

It’s not a film that’s on General Release, but there was a showing of it at the MWB Business Exchange in Cannon Street, London on Friday evening, 28 June 2013, and I was there, along with sixty or so other souls, to watch it…so adding the above link to this post is the very least I can do to increase awareness of this particularly cruel and devastating illness :(…

The Royal Exchange, Cornhill, City of London

The Royal Exchange, Cornhill, City of London

Cannon Street Station, City of London

Cannon Street Station, City of London

Piles of Evening Standard newspapers outside Cannon Street station, awaiting collection by homebound commuters...

Piles of Evening Standard newspapers outside Cannon Street station, awaiting collection by homebound commuters…

St Paul's Cathedral, from St Paul's Churchyard

St Paul’s Cathedral, from St Paul’s Churchyard

The Young Lovers, by Georg Erlich (1897-1966) in St. Paul's Churchyard

The Young Lovers, by Georg Erlich (1897-1966) in St. Paul’s Churchyard

Sculpture, and London buses, St Paul's Churchyard

Sculpture, and London buses, St Paul’s Churchyard

St. Paul's Cathedral, from the top of Ludgate Hill

St. Paul’s Cathedral, from the top of Ludgate Hill

Crossing Southwark Bridge...

Crossing Southwark Bridge…

An alternative view of the London Olympics, in Park Street, Southwark ;)...

An alternative view of the London Olympics, in Park Street, Southwark ;)…

Fund raising for the Globe Theatre...

Fund raising for the Globe Theatre…

Shakespeare's Globe, New Globe Walk, Southwark

Shakespeare’s Globe, New Globe Walk, Southwark

The Globe Theatre, South Bank

The Globe Theatre, South Bank

Young jazz musicians, in the Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, about 9.15 pm on Friday

Young jazz musicians, in the Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, about 9.15 pm on Friday

View upstream from Hungerford Bridge, around half-nine, Friday, 28th June 2013

View upstream from Hungerford Bridge, around half-nine, Friday, 28th June 2013

A Wickham ramble…and the Wainwrights on the South Bank…

It was a beautiful evening last Tuesday, and eight of us went a-rambling in and around Wickham Common, north of Fareham in Hampshire…a five mile walk, after which, four of us went for a meal and a drink in ‘The King’s Head’ pub in Wickham…

Some back-lit leaves en route..

Some back-lit leaves en route..

Long evening shadows, and a football match beyond...

Long evening shadows, and a football match beyond…

Rambling into the setting sun...

Rambling into the setting sun…

'The King's Head' pub in Wickham...

‘The King’s Head’ pub in Wickham…

"I’m sitting in the railway station, Got a ticket for my destination…"... at Fareham station around 9.15 pm on Tuesday

“I’m sitting in the railway station, Got a ticket for my destination…”… at Fareham station around 9.15 pm on Tuesday

And segueing from Simon and Garfunkel to Loudon Wainwright III, last night I found myself at a (half-empty!) Royal Festival Hall, being richly entertained by the wonderfully eccentric folk singing of Loudon Wainwright, supported by one of his daughters, Lucy Wainwright Roche (he is also dad to Rufus and Martha Wainwright)…and a memorable evening it was too :)…

The 'support' was Lucy who did half an hour on her own, and later joined her dad for some duetting...

The ‘support’ was Lucy, who did half an hour on her own, and later joined her dad for some duetting…

Loudon and Lucy...

Loudon and Lucy…

Loudon Wainwright III

Loudon Wainwright III

Duetting on 'Love Hurts', first covered by the Everly Brothers in 1060, and many times since, notably by Nazareth and Jim Capadi amongst others...

Duetting on ‘Love Hurts’, first covered by the Everly Brothers in 1960, and many times since, notably by Nazareth and Jim Capaldi amongst others…

Journeying across the years…

I spent much of today tidying up my flat in north London, giving a literal meaning to ‘The Way is gained by daily loss…’ ;). Whatever, it meant that I wasn’t much inclined to go out picture-taking today, and I decided instead to indulge myself by uploading some of my favourite photos from bygone years. That’s something that would have definitely been verboten with last year’s photoblog, when it was important to me that the images originated from the within the specific day of the 366 that they were assigned to :).

So here are half a dozen photos taken between 1982 and 2006, all but one of them naturally enough taken with 35mm cameras, and probably all taken on colour slide film, which I subsequently converted to digital images via a Nikon Coolscan film scanner.

The first, second and sixth photos below I’ve downloaded from my flickr account, while the other three I simply uploaded from the hard disk of my PC.

The first was taken ‘on a drizzly Wednesday afternoon’ in 1982, and the bloke with the bird on his head was actually feeding the seagulls at the time. Even so, I think I was fortunate with the combination of elements in this particular shot, and I especially like the two gulls sitting on the wall watching, and perhaps doing the bird equivalent of laughing at what they see before them ;). Incidentally, at that time in the early 1980s, I was working in a factory in south-east London, doing two 15 hour shifts at weekends, then having the rest of the week off, which gave me a great opportunity to do a lot of photography in central London, which I often took advantage of :).

Man with a seagull on his head...

Man with a seagull on his head…

As for the next picture, taken on 23rd July, 1984, I like the inherent paradox of militant vegetarians advocating the slaughter of butchers! I’ve been a vegetarian for around three decades now, but I can’t say I’ve ever had murderous thoughts about butchers ;).

Chapel Market, Islington, London

Chapel Market, Islington, London

I was born in the county of Kent and this sunset was taken around West Malling, which is the area in which my Mum still lives…the picture probably dates from the 1980s sometime…

Sunset at Luck's Hill, West Malling, Kent

Sunset at Luck’s Hill, West Malling, Kent

The following photograph dates from the summer solstice of 1992, when I travelled up to Scotland to run my one and only Marathon race, around Loch Rannoch. It took me just under four hours, but I remember it being a lovely June day, and I have fond memories of it all :).

Mount Schiehallion, by Loch Rannoch, Perthshire, Scotland

Mount Schiehallion, by Loch Rannoch, Perthshire, Scotland

Below is what is now known as The London Eye, but when it was opened on the 31st December 1999, it was still called The Millennium Wheel. There must now be billions of photographs of The London Eye, although very few of them will show it looking quite like this ;).

The Millennium Wheel, being raised to the vertical, in the summer of 1999

The Millennium Wheel, being raised to the vertical, in the summer of 1999

Finally, I have spent countless hours on London’s South Bank, and many of them in the Royal Festival Hall, where this photograph was taken on the 9th June, 2007. Xue Fei was playing (exquisitely!) Francisco Tárrega’s ‘Recuerdos de la Alhambra’, which she described that afternoon as her favourite piece of music, and it was just a real privilege to be there to hear her play it :). It was a free concert incidentally, in the Foyer, to celebrate the re-opening of the Royal Festival Hall after a two year closure for renovations. This photograph was taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC LZ1 digital compact camera (which, ironically, I found today whilst tidying up the flat, and noticed that I’d last used it in 2009 ;)).

The Chinese classical guitarist Yang Xue Fei...

The Chinese classical guitarist Yang Xue Fei…

The snow returns to Whetstone…and down by the River Thames…

Swan Lane Open Space, London N20

Swan Lane Open Space, London N20

Frozen magnolia flowers

Frozen magnolia flowers

A children's plaything, Swan Lane Open Space

A children’s plaything, Swan Lane Open Space

A Canada Goose

A Canada Goose

A female duck

A female duck

A male duck

A male duck

Icy leaves and flower

Icy leaves and flower

Spring flowers

Spring flowers

In memory of Alf Jackson

In memory of Alf Jackson

Waterloo Bridge and the City of London beyond

Waterloo Bridge and the City of London beyond

St. Paul's Cathedral, as zoomed in from Hungerford Bridge

St. Paul’s Cathedral, as zoomed in from Hungerford Bridge

The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, on the South Bank, early Saturday evening...

The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, on the South Bank, early Saturday evening…

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