Saturday, 20 June 2009

A Victorian Stroll around Belgravia

Perhaps as a counterbalance to last week's Naked Bike Ride, this weekend (somewhat more soberly, but no less fun) saw a Living History Weekend in London.

I and a number of chums were asked by Grosvenor Estates to do a bit of Victorian Strolling around Belgravia.

There were oodles of pictures taken, including those taken of us by the tourists, but let's start with a couple of pics uploaded from my mobile phone: of Me...

and of my regular strolling companion for the day, Oliver Carson...

Yes, girls, he really is that handsome, 26, and married (sorry).

So here's the story:

It seems that weekend of 20th/21st of June was Living History Weekend in London (organised mostly, I believe, by the Museum of London). Anyway, Grosvenor Estates - who seemingly own most of Belgravia - got in touch with an Events Company with a view to sprinkling a few Victorian characters around the place occasionally bumping into some of the various Walking Tours of the area that were going on that day.

So there I was amidst a number of young actors (who had previously raided the National Theatre's Costume Store!) ready to stroll the day. Here's a group shot:

[L-R: Ray Frensham, Oliver Carson, Joel (?), Polly Maberly, Edward Hayes-Neary, Luke Owen and Daniel Pinto]. Well, that's most of us, anyway.

So we were split up into groups - myself and Oliver; Joel, Polly and Edward; Luke and Daniel - some were given character back-stories and we were given general areas to stroll. The idea being during our pleasant strolls we would occasionally cross paths with the other players and also with tourists and the walking tours that peppered the area at weekends.

I have to say for the time we were out and about strolling (approx. 11am - 4pm...with a few breaks for refreshments) Oliver and I had splendid time: exploring the area as if we owned the place (amidst the beautiful architecture and the Mewses, you don't know how easily I slipped into the role), chatting, greeting every passer-by on the street we encountered [they must've thought "those crazy Brits"].

The logic of splitting us up and spreading us out seemed so appropriate for the event (and much more "right" than the practise of many re-enactment events where everyone meets up at Point A and strolls through the town en-masse to Point B).

At the end of the day, my feet rather sore, we all agreed we had had a thoroughly splendid time (and the money, of course, came in handy!). And considering that, on that day, so many of the Re-enactment traditionalists were either at the Broadstairs Dickens Festival or at the final day of Ascot or abroad at a huge Battle if Waterloo reenactment event, I think our little troupe gelled wonderfully.

Indeed, so pleased were the Events company with the say, Sean the organiser is considering putting together a little team to hire us out on a regular basis. Watch this space. (To that end I've just started a Facebook Group, London Victorian Strollers - private for the moment).

All Photos taken by Sean Canning (except Nos. 2 & 3 downloaded from my mobile phone.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Naked Bike Ride in London - PICTURES!!!

So there I was yesterday (Saturday 12th) casually strolling through the back streets of Savile Row, London - with my tailor, as it happens - and suddenly we were confronted by this.....

...yes, that's right: loads and loads of...bicycles. Look at them! Big ones, small ones, some brand new, quite a few in not-so-great condition, some with bells on, some with big horns on....lots of 'em....Bicycles.

OK, so it was a Naked Bike Ride (I think it's the first in the capital?).

Naturally, I had to whip out my phone to capture the moment.

There were about three thousand of them and they just did not stop. They held up the traffic for over twenty minutes while they all streamed through.

Occasionally they would stop (the corner here proved a bit of a bottleneck) and suddenly one woman shouted at me "Look! People with clothes on!"

I replied: "Yes, well, you see one, you've seen 'em all".

I came away thinking: 'Only in London or New York...or maybe Sydney could this happen'.

At least it was a beautiful sunny day for it.

I did see a few curious piercings, however...

Click on the photos, they will open out to their full glory - believe me, I did it and never realised the pictures would come out THIS big!

Monday, 8 June 2009

This is how I looked in 1981 (my first TV appearance!)

OK, so this is how I looked in mid-1981 (I'm the chap selling records in the clubs and from my Mail-Order office - yes, always wearing the bow tie!). [The programme transmitted in August, so it was filmed about June/July 1981].

[The bulk of the interview is in Part 4; I'm also about one minute into Part 6, with more of the interview running under the visuals].

The programme, a 30-minute teen documentary strand called Twentieth Century Box, is from October 1981, only shown in London. It also marks Danny Baker's very first job in television.

(Thanks to Ian and all for transcibing my VHS tape for YouTube).