Jun 1, 2013

Daisy's Letter From London: May 2013

It's warm, it's cold...Not sure what the weather's doing. I've just put a shepherd's pie in the oven to heat the house. Gary's bouncing about because the Stone Roses MADE OF STONE movie premiere, live from Manchester, is being beamed into the legendary Screen on the Green later. He's had his ticket booked for weeks. He went to that reunion gig in Manchester last year. He bought me a hat:

Arrived into Heathrow last week and went to Chancery Lane where I looked after Bo The Cat. I got a four-paw foot massage every morning (lovely) and walked up Charterhouse Street to the City to meet some friends at Host Cafe on Watling Street (in a church!) - actually the oldest church to St Mary - St Mary Alderymary - opposite Mansion House Tube Station. We had a lovely cup of free-trade coffee (£1) and there were pastries for not very expensive, too. There were sofas (and restrooms). At 8:15am they had meditation (til 8:50) and drop-in yoga. It was a quiet, soothing place to have a catch-up chat, high ceilings and stained glass and gentle whispering barristers before heading over to St Paul's Cathedral. (Continued after the jump.)

It was sunny and at 3pm there was a bit of bell-ringing practice going on. What a clamour. Everyone dinging and donging. We walked over the bridge (that used to wobble and make people queazy but now is steady as a Plymouth rock) and landed on the South Bank at the Tate Modern. We were going to go to the last day of the Lichtenstein and had Bo's mom's Tate membership card. It was only good for one of us so we were going to have to pay fifteen quid entrance fee but didn't realise it was timed entry and the next ticket wasn't available til 7pm. We went into the bookshop to look at the catalogue to think about it. A very nice shop assistant made the decision for us. He showed us where the catalogue was and when I said we were thinking about waiting til 7pm, said, "step this way." We followed along and were taken up the back staircase and let in for free! How nice was that?

The show was well worth it and the highlights for me were: the feeling that I was almost standing in his mind as each room revealed his process. Also, there was one room of his mirror works and as you walked along in front of a long piece that looked like wallpaper edging, the silver strip about 2 feet high and about 20 feet long started turning blue behind me. I have no idea how he did it. Another highlight was seeing an actual comic book with Mr Lichtenstein's painting of the same panel on the wall but 6 feet bigger. We had a cup of tea in the top floor cafe overlooking St Paul's and the river before we left, marvelling that it was not even slightly getting dark.

One rainy morning, in the week, I went for a walkabout and took photos of the streets called Milk Street, Bread Street, Stonecutter's Way, Ironmongers street. There's even a main artery road called Poultry.


At Smithfield meat market, there's a West Poultry Avenue and yes, East Poultry Avenue. I also noticed at 24hr Bagel shop. I couldn't eat in so I stood under the stone archway across from a teeny weeny lane called Cloth Court. I had to see where the went. Round the corner I saw a blue plaque telling me here was John Betjemen's bachelor pad for 20 years. This was also confirmed by the American parson in the churchyard across the street who had stepped out to eat an apple.

This Churchyard belonged to St. Bartholomew's from 1123AD. It was flanked by council houses and a bank of fragrant blooming wisteria. It was amazingly quiet even tho I was in the street parallel to the meat market. Round the corner I saw a huge kite flying above the market. A man in a white coat told me it's there to deter pigeons.

The bagel was awful by the way. They didn't toast it but pressed it in some waffle iron thing.

However, this was soon rectified as on our way to Rough Trade East to Sheila Rock's book signing, Gary spied the Northern Soul Record Shop and Gourmet Bagel caravan parked in Elys Yard. Yum AND Groovy at the same time. Yes...You are reading that right - Bagel and Chips!

If last week I was on the sidewalk with everyone who still lived in New York who had been to CBGB's back in the day (including Debbie Harry in dark glasses in the corner which I forgot to tell you), this week it seemed like I was standing in a shop with all the people who had Roxy Club membership cards from London 1977.

There was a short slide show and comment from Sheila. Then, spinning singles from the console, it was Don Letts' dance and chat.

From left: Ian Johns, Susan Carrington, and
Ian Bodenham
Heather Johns was there. We reminisced about the Roxy Bathroom and how you could get a haircut and help with your outfit. We couldn't recall any of the girls' names but we did know that they came all the way from WALES to be there. Heather designed (if that's what we called it back then) some Clash outfits and tings and went on to become a successful graphic designer as well as a brilliant mum who now posts a very helpful cooking-on-a-budget blog.

Heather was with her lovely Bristol beaux of 20 plus years, Calvin, who used to hang with The Pop Group ... AND her brother Ian Johns was there. He used to sort out the amps and equipment for bands back in the day. Now he runs HUNKY DORY, a vintage clothing store in Brick Lane with his charming beaux, also of 20 years and counting, and also called Ian.

Even though they don't go out much any more, or so they said, the owner of the Roxy Club was present, Andy Czezowski, with his fabulous wife (since 1966 when they met down the Meccano Ballroom) Susan, who told me she recently went up in their attic and found loads of hand-written diaries and flyers and ephemera from the Roxy Club and they are working with Nina Antonia on a book! HOORAY.

Gary had bought Sheila Rock's book with him to get more autographs. He noticed a lotta people IN the book, in the room, and got their autographs. One of Subway Sect was there (best shirt - he'd managed to spy on Monday and buy on Friday from a Charity Shop). He signed, then Viv Albertine signed it and put "Shagged Him Viv Albertine x". Nobody blushed.

Danny Fields was present. He took the photo of Dee Dee Ramone in his underwear on his t-shirt and also the photograph on this girl's flask of Iggy Pop. The girl didn't know that Danny had taken the photo so we had to get a photo of them together:

Viv Albertine, Don Letts and Pam Hogg
Don's necklace
Rob Symmons from Subway Sect is second from right

I had my photo taken with Don Letts! What am i like! Crazy to think I was 17 when I was last in the same room as him. He would shine a too-bright camping light from his DJ booth at the Roxy and I would always skip out of the way of his filming. However, I was at a studio in South London somewhere on dark and rainy night… I'd gone there with Mark Perry in a taxi. He had a cold, I remember. He was rehearsing his Punk Christmas Record (ha ha). There was a big black Reggae producer conducting Jules Holland on piano and suddenly in walks Don with that blinking searchlight.

It wasn't til I lived in New York and was looking for a video in Kim's on St Marks Place, 20 years afterwards, that I saw The Punk Rock Movie and rented it and what do you know, he caught me in the corner. How funny… I never thought we'd all be alive and clicking in the lovely large record shop that is Rough Trade East…When I look at the photos the next day, I looked for a girl with pink hair and was surprised to see myself looking like someone's auntie. Old and Alive is the new Too Fast to Live.

Oh, so yes. Gary went to see the Stone Roses movie. He had a wonderful time. I sneaked in for the Q&A afterwards. They are going to save him a poster next Thursday. He's in heaven!

Next week The Stone Roses are going to play in Finsbury Park - Friday with Dizzee Rascal, and Saturday with PiL and Johnny Marr. Has Gary got tickets? You bet.

I caught the 341 bus to Waterloo and accidentally walked down the tunnel in Marsh Lane behind the Station. I caught all these lads doing graffiti.

Boarding the train now, cheerio.

xxx daisy

1 comment:

Laura Levine said...

Fun read, Daisy!

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