Fuck knows what’s happening today — emerging reports of more attacks.

World Media

The world’s TV networks are still skulking around. No sign of them to the casual glance, but walk anywhere around the backstreets of Aldgate, and the satellite uplink vans are parked three deep… and yes, those Coke ‘love’ posters are on every billboard in the area. Nice.

2 Days Later

The weeks after the subway attacks in 1995, Tokyo was a city living on rumour and nerves. Armed police on every street corner, wild stories of hidden Russian tanks and helicopters ready to spray death across the city. The Friday after the atrocity, rumours of more attacks spread like wildfire — people left the city in droves, my friends bulk-buying tickets out and offering them to anyone who wanted to leave. We stayed. It was a beautiful Spring evening, pink blossom in Aaoyama. Nothing happened. London, two days after the bombs, seems psychically back to its old self. True there …


Walked home yesterday afternoon, against a tide of people walking out of the City. Very zombie movie — emergency vehicles screaming past, jams of traffic followed by empty streets, mobile phones dead. All the buses corralled in sidestreet, strangely drivers still respecting the bus lanes. People at bus stops pissed off that there were no buses — hadn’t they heard the news? By 8 in the evening, everything apparently back to normal, even near Aldgate, although the station was locked and crime scene posted. Feeling restless we went out for a drink in Hoxton — British resilience on display: all …

London Bombing

11:00 We’re OK. I’m at Anne-Fay’s place in Dalston, Helen is on her way to Paris on Eurostar. All tube lines shut down, all buses, possibly all trains into London (rumour). Latest report is at least 20 dead. Aldgate and Aldgate East, which are my local stations, just around the corner from my house, look on TV to be completely shut down with emergency vehicles everywhere. Mobile networks and lines out of the UK overloaded or shut down (to avoid remote-triggering of more bombs? It’s a rumour). Not attempting to get home any time soon. Bad memories of Tokyo. Trying …

London 5

After a long, long wait, the revised Pevsner London 5 — The East End is finally in print. My copy turned up from Amazon a couple of days ago. It’s a brick of a book, not exactly the kind of thing to take on long walks, which is kind of a shame, as that’s the best way to use these guides. Of the current editions, only London Churches is really portable: it’s a big shame that there isn’t an ebook (or even XML) version, which in addition to its portability, would open up endless possibilities for integration with mapping software, …

Court of Hours

Walking from home to lunch and the Helen Chadwick retrospective at the Barbican the other day, discovered, down a sliproad of London Wall, the Worshipful Company of Barber-Surgeons’ herb garden, in a little park in the shadow of a fragment of the wall. Perfect place for a picnic ala Jeffrey Smart, in the shadow of some of London’s ugliest buildings.

Monochromes Of London

Sitting outside at The Approach with a pint of Prospect ale, enjoying the lingering Indian summer. Just visited the Wilkinson Gallery, which is exhibiting David Batchelor’s The Found Monochromes Of London 1-80 (1999-2003): …the culmination of four years’ work during which time Batchelor photographed over 100 simple white rectangles found in the streets. Presented as a slideshow, it’s very cool. The found rectangles form the centre of each picture, with a background of urban London spilling around the edges of this blank focus. The series has a lingering Entrances To Hell kind of effect after leaving the gallery, changing the …


Spent the day packing things into large orange crates. We’re moving the day after tomorrow. New address is 19 Victoria Mills9 Boyd StreetLondon E1 1NH Of the area I know nothing apart from the proximity of both the Bell Foundry and the site of one of the Ripper murders. Nice.

Mayhew on London Markets

From Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor, on the subject of Borough Market (from the wonderful …still the costermongers are only a portion of the street-folk. Besides these, there are, as we have seen, many other large classes obtaining their livelihood in the streets. The street musicians, for instance, are said to number 1,000, and the old clothesmen the same. There are supposed to be at the least 500 sellers of water- cresses; 200 coffee-stalls; 300 cats-meat men; 250 balladsingers; 200 play-bill sellers; from 800 to 1,000 bone-grubbers and mud-larks; 1,000 crossing-sweepers; another thousand chimneysweeps, and the same …