Saturday, 29 September 2012

On The Road – Jack Kerouac in London


On The Road – Jack Kerouac in London




Fifty-five years ago, in the face of public outrage in the U.S. at the publication of his On the Road, Jack Kerouac adhered to the first rule of pyrotechnics. Having lit his fabulous yellow roman candle, he stood well back: in Tangier (with erstwhile Londoner William Burroughs), in Europe and, for a brief few days, London. His account of this stay can be found in the 1960 collection Lonesome Traveller

The great surprise, from the man who fathered the 21st Century concept of hardcore Traveller over sedate Holidaymaker, is that his London highlights – pea-soup fog, policemen’s helmets, pints of bitter beer – read more like a checklist of touristy ephemera than a cache of rare gems unearthed by a seasoned adventurer. But the sheer, childlike glee with which Kerouac announces each “discovery” is infectious stuff. From St Paul’s (for a Good Friday performance of the Matthew Passion) to the Old Vic (for The Taming of the Shrew), Kerouac – a man patently in thrall to the city before he’s even stepped off the train at Victoria – finds his London of the imagination perfectly in rhythm with the real thing. 

Perhaps it was the dignity of old lady London, despite her still-ragged post-war weeds, that delighted the so-called King of the Beats most of all. Was there a city more Beat than London in 1957? Where better for Kerouac to live out his last few days of obscurity before heading into the teeth of the Beat Generation storm?


POST UPDATED 12/3/16

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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Friday, 28 September 2012

The London Nightly Photoblog



Welcome back to the London Nightly Photoblog at The Daily Constitutional.

We’ve been walking and blogging all day, and there’s time for just one last look at London before lights out.

Maybe you saw tonight’s pictured location on one of today’s London Walks. Perhaps it’s your shot, sent to us at the usual email address.

Of course some London Walks guides will still be out there, Londoning away into the small hours. For them, we borrow a famous London phrase… Goodnight, and good luck.


The future 1963-style – Archway Tower


We’re back tomorrow morning, blogging and walking. The blogging will be right here, so bookmark us.

For tomorrow’s walking tours CLICK HERE FORTHE LONDON WALKS CALENDAR 




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Jean 1933 – 2012

Today saw the memorial service for our friend and colleague Jean.



After the service, Jean's family were taking a collection for Macmillan Cancer Care. If you would like to donate to that great and valuable organisation, you can do so by clicking the picture below…





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Friday is Rock'n'Roll London Day





It’s Diamond Jubilee year in the world of Rock’n’Roll London, too. The NME is 60 years old.



Time was that we had four music newspapers every week – the NME (formerly New Musical Express), Melody Maker, Sounds and Record Mirror.

So Happy Birthday to the last man standing… there are 8 different collectable covers on this week’s issue. Here’s Noel Gallagher (above), who claims inside that he buy the NME when his brother Liam is on the cover so that he can catch up with their feud.


And it’s not the only anniversary this week. The Sex Pistols are celebrating 35 years of Never Mind The Bollocks with a £94 deluxe box set. How’s that for cash from chaos?





Our new promo video for the Rock’n’Roll London Walk is on YouTube now






Join the Rock’n'Roll London Walk on Friday at 2pm, meeting at Tottenham Court Road Station (Exit 3) – to book a Private Walk call 020 7642 3978 or email london@walks.com












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Thursday, 27 September 2012

The London Nightly Photoblog – Goodnight Herbert Lom



Welcome back to the London Nightly Photoblog at The Daily Constitutional.

We’ve been walking and blogging all day, and there’s time for just one last look at London before lights out.

Maybe you saw tonight’s pictured location on one of today’s London Walks. Perhaps it’s your shot, sent to us at the usual email address.

Of course some London Walks guides will still be out there, Londoning away into the small hours. For them, we borrow a famous London phrase… Goodnight, and good luck.



Something a wee bit different tonight. Here's Gilbert Scott's St Pancras Hotel…



… with Herbert Lom in the foreground. The great Czech-born actor died today at the age of 95. Here he is in one of his finest roles, as Louis the gangster in the Ealing Comedy The Ladykillers (1955). Set in London, it sees a gang of crims having their train robbery foiled by a little old lady. To escape, the gang must bump her off… but which one of 'em is ruthless enough to kill a sweet, white haired grandma? A most horribly funny film, we'd usually say at this point that London is the star of the show. But not this evening. Thank you Mister Lom, and goodnight.




We’re back tomorrow morning, blogging and walking. The blogging will be right here, so bookmark us.

For tomorrow’s walking tours CLICK HERE FORTHE LONDON WALKS CALENDAR 





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A Nice Sit Down And A Cuppa… #5


It's 4.00 o'clock (ish) London time, and our search for the Best Tea And Coffee in London, in which we are collecting recommendations from London Walks guides on the best cuppa in town, continues…



That Fiona don’t half look after us nice. Yesterday it was shoe recommendations, today she’s stirring up the debate on where to get the best tea and coffee in London, with a tip for those who just can’t break free of the chains…




“If you must buy tea from a coffee establishment, ask for milk on the side. That way it has slightly longer to brew before being cooled by the milk. Anywhere using a coffee machine for the hot water for tea will produce tasteless bleurgh, because the water is not hot enough. Tea likes boiling water, coffee just under boiling.”


Fiona
Fiona, a descendant of John of Gaunt, is an actress who also teaches juggling, circus skills and escapology (she made a famous break from the London Dungeon). Fiona leads the Jack the Ripper walk on Saturday afternoon and the Famous Square Mile walk on Thursday mornings.



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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The London Nightly Photoblog



Welcome back to the London Nightly Photoblog at The Daily Constitutional.

We’ve been walking and blogging all day, and there’s time for just one last look at London before lights out.

Maybe you saw tonight’s pictured location on one of today’s London Walks. Perhaps it’s your shot, sent to us at the usual email address.

Of course some London Walks guides will still be out there, Londoning away into the small hours. For them, we borrow a famous London phrase… Goodnight, and good luck.


A corner of St Giles WC2, bombed in October 1940, used as an NCP car park for years, now one of London's loveliest green spaces.





We’re back tomorrow morning, blogging and walking. The blogging will be right here, so bookmark us.

For tomorrow’s walking tours CLICK HERE FORTHE LONDON WALKS CALENDAR 




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One Can Never Have Too Many Shoes… #13 In Our Walking Shoe Series


This just in from LW’s Fiona, her twopenn’orth on the Great Shoes Debate…


For those who like MBT's, try Back In Action, Whitcomb St, beside the National Gallery. 

They don't have the whole range, and it is a slightly odd emporium, but if you have any long-term medical condition (in my case asthma) you don't pay VAT on the shoes. Makes the prices less eye watering. Click here for their website.








Fiona
Fiona, a descendant of John of Gaunt, is an actress who also teaches juggling, circus skills and escapology (she made a famous break from the London Dungeon). Fiona leads the Jack the Ripper walk on Saturdayafternoon and the Famous Square Mile walk on Thursday mornings.




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