8th June 2018 : BACK TO BLOG OVERVIEW
I hadn't been to Kings Cross since my visit as part of the Monopoly project, but today I was here to explore the area a little more.
My friend Kevin and I started at Kings Cross and worked our way through Pancras Square (where I shot the first three images, along with the stained stonework and the water hydrants). Then over the bridge and into Granary Square.
Outside the House of Illustration was an old Saab 900 decorated with some great art including the London image (slightly edited) at the end of this post and the guitar and record player.
From there we worked our way east along the Regent's Canal Towpath all the way to the Kingsland Road. I have included an image of someone enjoying their lunch by the waters edge and a barge entering the Islington Canal Tunnel. We walked over the top of the tunnel through housing estates and the middle of Islington until the canal popped out 800 m later, along with the same barge we had seen going into the tunnel.
At the end of our walk, on the way down the Kingsland Road I was pleased to see the old St. Leonards Hospital site. I lived in the hospital briefly in the the early 1980's (while working at Bart's Hospital, where I ran the Doctors' bar. . . yes, they did have a bar within the hospital!).
I hope you like the images, if you have any comments please let me know.
The last main location for my monopoly project was Mayfair. I had already visited the east and west boundaries of the area in previous posts (Bond Street and Park Lane) so now I wanted to explore the central area. All three of the images came from Berkeley Square and Davies Street, which leads north from the square. I really enjoyed this area, up-market excess seemed the order for the day.
So, where should you go for your ancient art, your modern art or your latest couture frock? Simply pop along to David Aaron, Phillips Auction House or Vivienne Westwood in Mayfair.
I loved the area, the mad excess of it all. Hope you like it too!
The images for super tax all came from the Mayfair area of London, which is flanked to the west by my previous location, Park Lane. I thought for a while about how to represent super tax. In the end it came down to two ideas; the first that if you are rich enough (or powerful enough) then tax of any kind doesn't seem to be a problem, and the second that in the end for the rest of us, along with death our taxes are inevitable. So super tax doesn't really seem to exist anymore... unless you count the congestion charge, fuel duty, insurance premium tax, vat etc.
But back to photography. My images represent the super rich with the Bentley and Rolls Royce car multiple exposure, the super powerful by way of Starbucks and the rest of us with the tax paying barista and the certainty of death in the skull. Hope you like them as much as I enjoyed taking them!
The walk back to the west end from Liverpool Street Station was a nice enough stroll. There was a little sun but, it's still January, and it was cold.
I walked west from the station and then doglegged to the left so that I could walk through Finsbury Circus. Many years ago I would have lunch here when I worked locally in the late 70's and the sight of grass was welcome. I continued west walking through the Barbican Centre (an oasis of calm in the city). Then it was onto Charterhouse Street passing Smithfield meat market and stealing a glimpse of Bart's hospital (where I ran the doctors bar in the Robin Brook centre in the early 80's). I continued up to Holborn and just kept walking west, through New Oxford Street and then Oxford Street and finally to Marble Arch and the start of Park Lane to the south. I decided to walk down the central reservation of Park Lane. The street is like a 6 lane super-highway with houses and hotels on the east and Hyde Park to the west. It's busy, but by walking down the central reservation I got many good views and took a lot of pictures. I was going to focus on the Animals in war memorial as it was a moving tribute. However, further south I came across the "Moving Forward" sculpture by Jill Berelowitz, a collection of nine beautiful figures mounted on low stone plinths. The reflections from these were just my cup of tea and I hope you like them too. I recommend that you go and see them yourself, or visit her on the web. On one of the plinths is a poem by Jody Isaacs. I have been unable to find a link to her, or the poem, so have been unable to publish a link here.
There have been plenty of opportunities to take a chance on this project. Looking back at the image I have I thought these three were good illustrations.
The first was of the Playboy Club Casino where I think there could be a large chance of making a big loss on the roulette wheel if I were to play. The second is of a lottery ticket, where I guess there is a small chance of winning big. This particular one was in a news agents in Bond Street tube station and as it was Monopoly branded I just had to take the picture! Sadly I didn't win. The final image is of a picture being hung at the John Currin exhibition at Sadie Coles gallery in Mayfair.
I think there is little chance of the guy dropping this (as Jarvis Cocker looks on).
My walk from Bond Street to Liverpool Street Station was a long one. I chose the scenic route from the Piccadilly end of Bond Street through Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square then down to the Strand. It was then a pretty straight walk down the Strand, along Fleet Street (I feel I have done this a few too many times now!) then past St. Pauls Cathedral onto Cannon Street and up to Bank on Queen Victoria Street. From Bank it's a short(ish) hike up Threadneedle Street, past the Bank of England, then cut north onto Old Broad Street and keep going until you hit Liverpool Street Station.
It was late by the time I got there and most of the commuters gone home, so I ended up shooting two lost souls and a single found couple.
The first two images were of individuals, just waiting and watching (the trains and their phone). These images felt a little sad, but the final image of the couple (locked in an embrace) raised my spirits.
My next location (after Chance) will be Park Lane, that's another long walk from here, so I will save that for another day, when I hope the weather may be a little less dull!
<Back to Community Chest : See all posts : On to Liverpool Street Stn.>
Even after Christmas, Bond Street was buzzing! My last shoots had been taken at Soho Square, so it was a pleasant evening walk down through Soho to Piccadilly Circus and the back along Piccadilly to the beginning of (Old) Bond Street. The two streets, Old and New Bond Street, run from Piccadilly up to Oxford Street and have some of the glitziest shops in the West End (and more security guards than you want to be dealing with). At first you don't notice them, but then as you get out your camera and start shooting it becomes very obvious how many there are. The ones in the shops start looking out at you and using their radios and then you become aware of large men (with hearing aids?) out on the street taking a subtle interest in you. So, I took their pictures too and was happy to let them know that I realised who they were. I guess they have a job to do too and as they didn't didn't want to engage directly with me, I was happy to continue shooting. A little further up the street I saw two full size tanks driving down Old Bond Street. It was just a tourist activity, but one I feel sure the West End of London could do without! In the end the images I chose this week were of shop fronts without any obvious security... A busy street with rubbish put out for collection, a silhouette of a lady walking past a great shop front and a man looking at a picture in another shop window. I must admit that I liked Bond Street. It had some odd people and some expensive shops but it was vibrent and lively, even on a cold January evening.
<Back to Oxford Street : View all monopoly posts : On To Bond Street>
At the end of my Oxford Street walk I was thinking about the next challenge of Community Chest. At the time I was watching the world go by at Oxford Circus and was being blasted by the words of the Lord coming out of a small speaker next to this preacher standing above the tube station stairs. The words on the plackard were hard to read as they were covered in plastic, but the message was clear... 'It's Jesus or Hell'. I guess it pays to get to the point and I would like to thank the preacher for giving me one of my favourite images of this project. Later I found myself back in Soho Square, my idea was to shoot the Radha Krishna Temple, but in the end the two street cleaners, helping tourist find their way, was a more engaging image of community. My final image was of Centrepoint Tower at the junction of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road. This was one of the first tower blocks in London and has remained empty for much of it's life. At one time it was taken over to house the homeless and inspired the Centrepoint charity, which still promotes help for the homeless. So in a way the empty tower has inspired a community. Have a good new year!
<Back to Regent Street : All Monopoly posts : On to Community Chest>
Having walked the length of Regent Street all the way from Pall Mall up to Portland Place (in signt of the BBC Broadcasting Centre) it was an easy walk back south to Oxford Circus. I went west along Oxford Street first taking in all that the busy street had to offer. I was taken by the beauty that was just a few feet above the madness of last minute shopping at street level. The old clock above Selfridges was my first image of the night closely followed the leaves on a tree by the side of the road. By the time I made it back to Oxford Circus I was focussing back at street level. The multiple exposure image is a simple mix of a shopper (walking down the central pavement toward Oxford Circus from the east) and a few general shots of lights and decorations in the area. I also shot my Community Chest images in the area, but more of thos next week. Happy Christmas!
<Back to Go To Jail : See All Monopoly posts : On to Oxford Street>
I started my journey this week from New Scotland Yard, where last weeks visit had ended. It was a good walk through the pre-Christmas crowds. I walked back to Birdcage Walk and then through St. James Park, over the Mall, up Marlborough Road and then North to Picadilly, then East to the bottom of Regent Street. It was the just 10 days before Christmas everything was busy. As I walked north up Regent Street the light was fading giving the multiple exposure image an interesting feel. As I walked up the middle part of the Regent Street (north from Piccadilly Circus) it was really pretty dark but it gave an interesting feel for both the man standing in the passing bus and the people waiting to cross at Oxford Circus.
I really like these three images, which I hope give you a good feeling of how attractive and busy the west end is at Christmas time.
<Back to Piccadilly : All Monopoly posts : On to Regent Street>
The 1st two Go To Jail images were shot on the same day as the Piccadilly images. The one of the two policeman was taken in Leicester Square and the flag reflection was from New Scotland Yard. The New Scotland Yard building was being decomissioned as the Police have now moved on. It had been a nice walk from Piccadilly, through Green Park, past Buckingham Palace and then cutting through the small roads off Birdcage Walk down to Broadway where New Scotland Yard is (was?). The third image is a composite from Pentonville Prison, taken earlier on my project. My next location will be Regent Street, so after a busy day, I called it a day and will return to my journey next week.
< Back to Water Works : All Monopoly posts : On to Go To Jail>
After the lows of Coventry Street come the highs of Piccadilly, just a short walk through Piccadilly Circus and into Piccadilly as I continue to head west. I stopped at Caffe Nero, opposite Waterstones the largest bookshop in europe. After a cup of tea I continued exploring Piccadilly. The Waterstones store is a big shop and I could happily spend most of the day in there, but I had to get on. Piccadilly is a good mix of money (The Ritz Hotel), culture (Royal Academy), popular culture (the Hard Rock Cafe) and green space (Green Park). As you pass through the first half there are arcades and up market shops (and the beginning of Bond Street) so after a good long walk I was ready for a sit down in Green Park to watch the world go by. My images today are of the lights in Princes Academy and the Ritz Hotel and a neon sign from the Hard Rock Cafe. Hope you like them...
This week we move onto Water Works. Like Community Chest and Chance, I have chosen this to be a pretty loose location. I have chosen three images from my various parts of London I have visited over the weeks.
The "No Entry" image came from Trafalgar Square. It seems to me that no one in their right mind would enter the water here, but if they are going to I doubt this sign will be enough to keep them out! The second image is a drain cover on Coventry Street and the final image is of the south bank of the River Thames just by the Millennium Bridge (see map below) by Shakespeare's Globe and Tate Modern. It is easy to get down to the river at this point an when it is warmer the beach can look quite inviting.
As you walk west from Leicester Square towards Piccadilly Circus your pretty quickly come across Coventry Street. While I don't want to bad moth London, I really feel that this small road the best of the worst of tourist traps. There are tat shops, money change booths, clubs, unispiring food outlets and tourist traps, left, right and centre. Photographically there are some interesting things, but if it were not for this blog, I would simply have walked on to Piccadilly and pretended I didn't know where Coventry Street was! Harsh? Probably, but I've seen alot of street in the past few months and this was the first that I wished had been left off the monopoly board. So, I hope you like the images and I look forward to moving on to the more interesting parts of London in the weeks ahead.
< Back to Fenchurch Street Station : View All : Forward to Coventry Street>
I took a gentle stroll back from Fenchurch Street Station and arrived back at Leicester Square just after lunch. I had walked down from the station to the river and walked west until I reached Northumberland Avenue and then cut up to Leicester Square, stopping only for a quick lunch at the Crypt at St Martin's. Leicester Square was looking bright by the afternoon and the winter leaves were looking bright and autumnal. There was also alot of cleaning up going on with leaves being swept and pavement cleaned. So my three images were a mix of the leaves falling, rubbish collecting and attempts to tidy things up. As usual most of the area was very busy, but I managed to find a few quiet corners to take some pictures, I hope you like them.
< Back to Trafalgar Square : See all posts : Forward to Leicester Square>
A new day found me with a long walk from Trafalgar Square all the way to Fenchurch Street Station. It was about two and a half miles and took me the best part of an hour. By the time I arrived I needed a cup of tea, so took a rest at Caffe Nero. After refreshments I had a walk around the station and the a look around the general location. In all the years I had lived and worked in London I had never been to Fenchurch Street station, so it gave me another new view of the city. My images were easy to find for a change. I liked the view of the Gherkin building from under the pavement outside the station. I think the old wooden cover over the station pavement really adds to the curves in the image. The second image was of the crane with yet more development in the city. I think the clear dull sky helps with this one. The last image was on the little square outside the station. There was a stall selling great looking bread with a cold lady waiting for her next customer. I had to move a little to get the taxi where I wanted it in the background, but I think it works well. I only spent about an hour at the station and I was soon on my way back to Leicester Square. Another good walk, back to the west.
< Back to Fleet Street : See all posts : On to Fenchurch Street Station>
Again my route retraced my steps back along the Strand to Trafalgar Square. I took a couple of water images and particularly liked the four bottoms sitting on the edge of the fountain. I watched the buskers and the artists for a while and then saw the back of the girl looking at the hoarding with the big face images. I thought this looked interesting and I was happy with how it turned out. This was my last visit of the day, which had been pretty productive and a long walk! Hope you like the images.
<Back to Chance : See all Monopoly posts : On to Trafalgar Square>
The Strand leads into Fleet Street so it was an easy transition from one location to the next. As I wandered along Fleet Street you enter the City of London just by the Royal Courts of Justice. The move into the City is marked by the Temple Bar boundary dragon statue, standing proud in the middle of the road. This part of the street still feels pretty old, but as you travel east you can see how much it has changed since I arrived in London in the late 1970's. Although the newspapers and printers have all gone, a few of their watering holes remain. If you look you can also see some of the newspaper offices, which were once so busy and powerful. My first image is of the front entrance of the old Express building. Today, the best hint to its past are the letters spelling out Express at the entrance to the building, which you can see at the far right of the image. My second image is of the reflection of people walking down Fleet Street, sandwiched between the buildings and the busses blocking the road. My final image is looking North to a new modern addition to the landscape. I really like the two people in this image, one wasting time (like me, enjoying the view) and a second walking with purpose along the walkway. I also like the Wolff crane in the background, testament to the ever changing skyline.
By the time I had finished photographing in Fleet Street, it was time to wander back to the West. My next location, Trafalgar Square, was about a mile back from where I had come so I decided to drop down Middle Temple Lane to the river so I could walk along the Embankment all the way to Northumberland Avenue and then up to Trafalgar Square.
<Back to Strand : See all Monopoly posts : On to Fleet Street>
My images for this Chance location came from other locations on my journey which fit the theme. My first image is a sign in a window with the words "Do What You Love". It's something we all know we should do, but few of us do enough of. So, it's just a reminder to myself to take more of a chance and get on with the things I love and get rid of this I don't! The second was a reminder to take a chance on yourself... to Stay Lucky and Hustle. You stand a much better chance if you do. Finally, the Trafalgar Square image is a reminder to take a chance on life. We have no idea what is around the corner. If we take a chance on whoever and whatever comes our way, the world should be a better place.
So, take a chance today... on yourself, your ideas and on London, you may be surprised how well it turns out!
<Back to Free Parking : See all Monopoly posts : On to Chance>
From my last shooting location, Vine Street, it was a short walk east along Piccadilly, then onto Leicester Square and cutting through onto Charing Cross Road which allowed for an early cup of tea in the Crypt cafe at St Martins in the Fields before staring my progressions up Strand. My first shot on the Strand was another bus reflection (becoming a bit of a habit). I particularly liked this one as you can just see the driver through a dark part of the reflection in the window. Further along the road there was a Boots chemists delivery van stuck in the traffic. I think their artwork of blue eye shadow was greatly enhanced by the rivets in the metal side of the van! At the Eastern end of the Strand just before Kings College is Somerset House, home of The Courtauld Institute of Art. They always have interesting displays in their windows which face onto the Strand. One of these windows was my final image from this location, a simple window reflection showing some beautiful fabric showing through the reflection. I really love this image!
Luckily for me the Strand leads directly onto Fleet Street, so it was an easy move to my next shooting location. However, before Fleet Street I needed some images for my second Chance location, which will be the subject of my next post.
<Back to Vine Street : See all Monopoly posts : On to Strand>
Free parking means I must be half way around the Monopoly Photography London tour. When I started this project free parking seemed an unlikely proposition in London. I was told that it is possible at various supermarkets but I didn't feel that was what I was looking for. However, I found that I could park my motorbike for free at the Q Park car park near Trafalgar Square (the location of my first image this week, see map below). That's great as you have to pay to park your motorbike in the motorbike spaces on the road. So, thank you to Q Park!
I also noticed that diplomats seemed to be uninterested in paying for parking in London, hence my second image of a car with diplomatic plates in the middle of Parliament Street. The government states that outstanding parking fines by embassy staff totals over £75 million since 2013! You will be pleased to know that the US heads the list at a little over £8m followed by Japan at £5.6m and then Russia at £5.1m.
My final image is of the Police happily parked up and having a bit of lunch. Lets face it everyone has to eat (so good luck to them?).
The free parking images have been taken at various times during the project, so my walk to the next location, Strand, really started from last weeks location, Vine Street. This was a pleasant short walk down to Piccadilly, west to Leicester Square, then south down Charring Cross Road, past Trafalgar Square and then onto the start of the Strand which leads off towards the City to the East. See you on the Strand, next week.
<Back to Marlborough Street : All Monopoly posts : On to Free Parking>
Vine Street is probably the smallest street so far on the Monopoly Photography London tour! It's basically just the loading bay for "Le Meridien Piccadilly" hotel and a little bit more. So I was going to post images of the staff on the breaks having a cigarette and a coffee, but that seemed a little mean, so I dug a bit deeper. My first image was of some shutters with a sprinter stop value sign. It's a nice graphic image and little red always helps. The Bentley car was waiting in the road with it's left indicator going. The driver looked very bored and I was pleased I was out in the open. My final image was some window art(?) near the staff entrance to the hotel.
I hope you like this weeks offerings. . .
My next stop is free parking. Not so much of a location, more of a challenge and it seems it's quite easy for some . . .
<Back to Community Chest : See all Monopoly posts : On to Vine Street>
(Great) Marlborough Street runs parallel to Oxford Street at the heart of the West End of London. It is a street I have spent much time walking up and down between The Photographers' Gallery (in Ramillies Street), O'Neill's pub (on the corner of Carnaby Street) and Regent Street as a route up to the tube at Oxford Circus.
I took a couple of reflection images this week, the first of The Photographers' Gallery (where I have spend way too much time over the years, at exhibitions and at WideAngleLondon Meetups) and a second a reflection of the punk picture in the window of the Liberty store. Liberty is holding (with The Photographers' Gallery) an In Your Face : 40 years of punk celebration and has some very nice images from the 80's in it's windows. The other image for this week was of the shutters of the M&S loading bay. There were some great shadows and these two figures were passing more than the time of day as they passed each other at quite a pace. I could have posted lots of other images from this street as it has a lot going for it. During my visit I saw a woman throw out a lamp for the rubbish collection. Five minutes later I saw the lamp being recycled by a young guy who walked it over the road an into the local pub! I also saw a wonderful bouquet of blackberry heads in the Liberty flower shop. I think I may start posting the ones that don't make it here onto Instagram so they don't go to waste (I'll let you know if I do).
My next location is Vine Street, which is just off Swallow Street on the north side of Piccadilly. I took a gentle walk down Carnaby Street then over to Regent Street and south to the cut through (under Veeraswamy's amazing restaurant) into Swallow Street and finally into Vine Street, which is less of a road and more of a smoking area for the staff of the local hotel. More about this next week. . .
<Back to Bow Street : See all monopoly posts : On to Marlborough Street>
By the time I reached Soho Square it was late morning. The sun was bright and the park benches looked inviting. There were people tending the gardens, office staff enjoying the sun and a whole host of locals getting together and having a chat.
There aren't that many places in Central London which still feel like they have a strong community but this place certainly does, so Soho Square was chosen for my second community chest location.
My photos were easy to chose today, the bicycle bell and the stickered-up sign seemed to go together well and the water sprinkler summed up the feeling of summer very well. Hope you enjoy them. . .
To get to my next location, (Great) Marlborough Street, I cut through the alley at the end of Carlisle Street, along Sheraton Street then north on Wardour Street and west onto Noel Street. This leads directly into Great Marlborough Street. See you there soon. . .
<Back to Marylebone Station : See All Posts : On to Community Chest>
Bow Street is in the heart of London running on the eastern edge of the Covent Garden area. Although it's not a long road it has much to recommend it. It has the Royal Opera House, which is a great building, but sadly it was closed and pretty much boarded up (undergoing some fairly major works). It was the birth place of the Bow Street Runners, London's first professional police force, and was the site of the Bow Street Magistrate's Court (Oscar Wilde, Dr Crippen and the Krays all appeared).
I arrived in Bow Street pretty early in the morning and enjoyed watching the street wake up and fill with local people opening up their businesses and tourists out for an early coffee. The sun was warm and the smells were of fresh coffee and clean streets. . . London at it's best?
My first picture is of a newly scrubbed pavement outside a great coffee shop, the second is the colourful rear of a Pashley bicycle and the final image is a window reflection of the red flags of the Royal Opera House.
After spending too long sitting in Bow Street having breakfast I moved on to my next location, Soho Square. From the top of Bow Street I walked along Long Acre and then cut up Neal Street and then along Earlham Street though Seven Dials (one of my favourite locations in London), down Shaftesbury Avenue and then north up Frith Street, past Ronnie Scott's and continued all the way to Soho Square, the location of my second community chest of this project.
Photographing London, Surrey and beyond. From the top of the Shard to the end of the garden. . .