Giant Robots Are Coming
A while back, so long ago in fact that I don't even know how long, I had an idea to work on an album of spoken word material. I tried out some ideas here and there but just couldn't get it the way my ears wanted it to be - which was somewhere in between Jim Morrison on his A game and Dylan Thomas on his last night on earth.
Or maybe it was the other way around.
Yesterday evening, I came back to this place and tried a new way of doing things and it turned out to be pretty good. A little later, I listened back to it and it still sounded good so I will persist and attempt to nail something concrete down in a more complete fashion over the next few days.
It will look something like this when it's finished.
Small Person is heading to college this week, which makes it the end of the summer holidays in a big way. Never again will the summer hols be the same as it once was... i.e.: six weeks of it being absolutely find to do nothing at all.
I'm pretty sure I've spent most of the last six weeks promising we could do something, so this past Friday afternoon, we did and went to see what we could discover at the British Museum - which as always is excellent. You can spend hours and hours there and never see the same thing twice, but I also had another plan. I thought it would be useful to introduce her to some of the London I know... except a lot that of that has disappeared too.
Still, it's no bad skill to have some street skills. We walked from the train station to the museum with only a general idea of where we were going (well, I knew where we were but there's no harm in keeping such things to yourself) taking in such lesser known London sights as back street travel agents, places where people work that I know (just in case you get in real trouble) and cafe's where you can eat for the day without handing over all the money you have in your pocket - those kinds of things. We even took in a couple of well known hotels along the way - places you can go and sit in the lobby without being questioned when it's raining or when it gets late at night but you still have a long time to wait for your train home.
Are these good skills to teach your daughter? No idea but it's better than not handing such things down the line.
London is changing fast though. As alluded to last week, Soho has almost been scraped off the face of the city and on a visit to Denmark Street (also known as Tin Pan Alley - look it up) because I just wanted to see how the guitar shops were faring, I found that too is being taken apart brick by brick. I took the closing of The Astoria (down the street) on the chin - and I took it well because it had been a long time since any band I was interested in had played there - but to see Denmark Street impaled on a spike, is a soul-crusher.
The NME and Melody Maker began there. I bought my first harmonica in that street. I auditioned for a band there once. I have interviewed people and also hung-out for no reason at all there too. For a street that would take you less then 30 seconds to walk one side to the other, it had soul. There's a great article about it on The Guardian website here - the best quote from it being:
This was a tiny corner of London that retained its personality and escaped the signs of soft corporate power that pervade almost every other high street in the land – no chain stores or branded coffee shops, no Subways or McDonalds, and unlike the traditional “alternative paradise” of Camden High Street, no “I Heart London” keyrings, faux-wooden iPhone covers and badges saying “free the weed”...
So that didn't quite pan out how I thought it would but never mind. People will have progress no matter the cost to the soul.
I guess if things never changed there would be no need for such a thing as the British Museum. Maybe the London I knew needs to die with my generation. This new London - just like this current version of New York and many other cities - will become the London my kids grow up with but I can't help feeling that as things turn over for the next generation, this is a big one.
An extremely sanitised turnover in which all cities will soon look the same, with all the same things in them. Sometimes I hate myself for contributing to the continued longevity of Starbucks
Welcome to The Metropolis.
When 'they' eventually decide to put a big perspex dome over it so it never rains, run.
Run like the fucking wind, but don't ask me where to.
Talking of Denmark Street... Strike is quite excellent. I haven't gotten into a British cop show this much since Life on Mars. So far, so good. That Galbraith chap... sure knows how to write many different things that's for sure, so if you're lagging behind with the novels, get on board - the BBC have played it very faithfully and for that we should all be grateful.
That's right people who made Rebus. I'm talking about you.