Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Keep In Touch With London Walks!

DC Editor Adam writes…


If you want to stay in touch with ALL the latest news from London Walks, head over to our Facebook Page…





We're also on Instagram as @londonwalksofficial…



Find us at 


But the main source of ALL London Walks news has always been The Mothership – that's the London Walks website at www.walks.com



Thanks for reading! Keep in touch!




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.



Friday, 25 May 2018

Friday is Rock'n'Roll London Day: An EXTRA #RollingStones Special!

Friday is Rock'n'Roll London Day. DC Editor Adam writes…



Well we had such a blast on Wednesday night with our Rock'n'Roll London Pub Walk Rolling Stones Special that we've decided to do it all again on Saturday! The scheduled EXTRA Rock'n'Roll London Walk tomorrow (Saturday 26th May at 2.30pm) will now be a Rolling Stones Special! Meet at 2.30pm Tottenham Court Road tube – pay on the day or book now via Pay-A-Tour (select 26th May from the drop-down menu



Here's one of our hardcore Stones fans (visiting from Chicago) showing her colours on Wednesday night…





If you want to do a little more 60s Stones exploring on your own, here's a map to accompany the recent On Air book & double album release…


It features the three locations where the double CD's tracks were recorded for the BBC plus seven other London locations as featured in the excellent accompanying book.




We had fun with THIS on Wednesday: Stones vs Beatles! The debate rages on - and we'll continue it on tomorrow's tour. Here's playlist to help you decide…

Stones v.s Beatles! Contrast and compare the two greatest 60s bands on a level playing field – the songs they covered in common, the artists both bands loved, and George vs. Brian on sitar!
 






For a little bit of background reading, the book I always recommend is Stoned by Andrew Loog Oldham. Here's my review on the My Back Pages vlog…







We also have a special offer for you. Book online now for tomorrow's Stones Special and get a 50% discount on the Chelsea Rock'n'Roll Walk on the 23rd June! Click the button below…





In the meantime, see you out there this afternoon for the Rock'n'Roll London Walk at 2pm!



The Rock'n'Roll London Walk meets at 2pm Tottenham Court Road station (exit 1) every Friday all year round and every Wednesday night at 7pm. 


Here's the trailer…










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.



Thursday, 24 May 2018

Our Latest Movie! Hello London - A Film by @newsocracytv Guided by @tourguidesimon

DC Editor Adam writes…

Filmmaker and friend of London Walks Jim Albritton of Newsocracy is safely back home in Mississippi having spent a few weeks here in London - much of that time spent filming our guides. Thanks Jim!

I'm really looking forward to sharing Jim's films with you over the next few weeks, starting with Hello London, guided by Simon… 



It's our latest film!




The Hello London tour meets on Wednesdays and Sundays at Exit 4 of Westminster tube



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.



Tuesday, 22 May 2018

More Glamorous Scenes From Royal History… Not

David Tucker writes…



Specially prepared.  

For those who are going on Wednesday’s or Sunday’s Tower of London Tour.

In the blurb for the Tower tour we call William the Conqueror – who gave us the Tower – the bastard. Which he was.

But I think of him as the Squitterer In Chief.  For two reasons. 

1. Because of his brood of male offspring. Four unforgettable – nose clothes-pin at the ready? – results of his squittering. And 


2. Because of his, William’s – THREE-LINE WHIP HERE, APPLY NOSE CLOTHES-PIN AT ONCE – death.



Especially what he did after he entered the long night.

A final forget-me-not.

Still wondering? Haven’t looked it up?

Squitter means – thanks for sharing this with me, OED – “to void thin excrement.”

Ok, let’s get stuck in.

A lot of talk about dysfunctional families the last few days. The Windsors. The Markles. King Lear and his family. (Lear in connection with great director Richard Eyre’s eagerly anticipated, about-to-open production of the play.*)

But the Windsors, the Markles, even Lear’s – they’re just toddlers, rank amateurs in the matter of showing the world what a truly dysfunctional family looks like.

Ok, here we go. Keep some of this in mind when you’re in there looking at the White Tower – William the Conqueror’s mailed fist of a building – on that tour.

William the Conqueror had four sons. His squitterings.

The eldest – of the three who reached adulthood – was Robert Curthose.

While the cat’s away…

Yeah, that’s right. Robert Curthose wanted the house for himself. Wanted dad’s native Normandy. Staged a rebellion.

Dad’s reaction? “I’ll sort that little shit out.” (Aside: little’s another mot juste. It’s in that name Curthose. Robert was fat and had short legs. Didn’t keep him from helping himself to “the beautiful mistress of an old priest.” Or from fathering a few bastards of his own.

Dad didn’t kill sonny. He probably should have done. Or at least locked him up – as Robert’s younger brothers did. For 28 years.

Because the lot of them – this was the dysfunctional family of all time, remember – quarrelled and bickered incessantly. With international consequences.

Out of control, the lot of them. But Robert might well take the cake. Tearaway. Rebellion after rebellion. Forever burning through his funds.

Doing for his father.

Big bad dad (the bastard, William the C) – now grotesquely fat – has to head back over to Normandy to sort out another rebellion. Iron fist brought down on the rebellious town of Mantes. And then – for good measure – he torches it. Having Zippo’d Mantes, William thought he’d take a show-‘em-who’s-boss ride through the town that he’d turned into a pyre. His horse stepped on a red hot ember. Hot footed, the horse reared. William the C, partridge plump, went up off the saddle like Humpty Dumpty on a trampoline. Came down hard. On the iron saddle horn, the pommel. Terrible internal injuries to his beachball stomach. Died in agony a few days later. His peeps stripped the jubbly stiff – yeah, I know – and cleared out.

Funeral time. More fun time. A few monks tried to stuff the bloated corpse into a small sarcophagus, like trying to get a beached whale into a suitcase.

Corpse splits open. Erupts. Talk about squittering. Stench like a convention of country and western festival portaloos fresh from the field of battle.

And that wafts us to second grown-up son, William Rufus. Who everybody loathed (and feared). Ticked pretty much all the boxes in the 11th century’s This Was One Nasty Piece of Work Checklist. He was a tyrant; he was an indiscriminate lecher (swung both ways); despite being anything but easy on the eyes he was vain: short (his mother was only just over four feet tall), thickset, blonde, red-faced (ergo that handle Rufus), ponced around in short tunics and shoes with long points which curled like scorpions’ tails; pissed on his aforementioned brother Curthose (visiting Robert C. he went up onto a balcony and urinated down on the heads of Robert and  Robert’s chums); he was bad news for the church; his punitive taxes were right at the top of the “let me show you how its done, son” league; the nobles couldn’t stomach his extravagance, let alone his homosexuality; he put 50 innocent Englishmen to the ordeal of the hot iron; and on it goes.

Was killed – arrow in the heart – in a hunting “accident”. There’s been considerable historical speculation that it wasn’t in the least an accident – that his devoted little brother Henri “arranged it”. Think you that meets the highest standards of dysfunctional familydom? Does by my books.

That said, this mob had form in these matters. Richard, the fourth brother – the one who didn’t make it into adulthood, who’s barely a footnote – was also mistaken for game – a young deer or perhaps a small boar? – and ushered into the long night at the point and shaft of a well aimed arrow.

Two for four. In baseball terms – a batting percentage –that’s world class.

Before we leave Rufus – no doubt rampaging, spoiling it for everybody – in the long night, anything to be said for Rufus? Sure is: Westminster Hall. The greatest mediaeval hall in Europe. Easy to imagine him thinking he’d torch his father’s memory: “White Tower? I’ll show that stinking bastard how you build an impressive building.”

Oh and he was supposed to be witty. The which is an elastic term, of course. Rufus may well have thought that anointing his brother and his brother’s friends with the yellow stuff was witty. Most people probably wouldn’t.

And that leaves Henri. Henry. Henry Beauclerc (because he was the only one of the four of them who could read and write). Henry I in the annals of English kingship. If he did in fact engineer his brother’s death – fratricide and regicide all rolled up into one – well, that’s setting the mark pretty high.

To that you can add his fathering, on a harem of mistresses, more bastard children – 20+ and counting – than any other English king. Eat your heart out Charles II.

And on that note, enjoy your tour. And make of it what you will that – thanks to London Walks – you’ll never be able to watch an old episode of My Three Sons (Fred MacMurray, anybody remember him?) without thinking about the Bastard’s bastards (and their bastards).




*King Lear and his mob have to be the most dysfunctional family in all of dramatic literature. And what – fascinating, this – has bearing on that is Shakespeare’s living with – he was their lodger – a hugely dysfunctional family of Huguenot immigrants when he wrote King Lear.  RSC actor Steve Noonan opens that episode up to view on Sunday afternoon when he’s guiding the Shakespeare (and Dickens) walk and gets his walkers into that neighbourhood.




 Tour The Tower of London with London Walks on Wednesdays and Sundays.



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.



Monday, 21 May 2018

In & Around #London #Photoblog… Flowers, Fancy Shops & Flags

The Monday Photoblog!

Flowers, fancy shops & flags - Elizabeth Street, Belgravia on the Monday morning after the wedding of the Duke & Duchess of Sussex 




















Any suggestions for the Monday In & Around slot? Do you have five London pictures you'd like to share? Drop me a line at the usual address.



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.