Dennis Severs’ House

Nestled away on 18 Folgate Street, Spittalfields, is a place known as Dennis Severs’ House.  It’s a building which contains within its traditional terraced walls various rooms charting the course of one family’s life from the 1700s through to late 1800s, and prides itself on not being a traditional museum, but rather a sort of still life drama, in which every room has the feeling of having just been vacated.  This can occasionally be annoying – a lack of information coupled with occasional notes telling the viewer to ‘feel’ the past grates after a while – but mostly, it’s a …

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What I Did On My Holidays – Verona/Aida

First thing to be said about my trip to Verona is this – myself and boyfriend did very much not go and stand under Juliet’s balcony.   Because let’s face it, the idea is kinda silly.  What we did manage to do was walk for 3 and a half hours in search of a place to stay before ending up back where we’d started.  A word of warning for all potential travellers to Italy – if you’re thinking of going down the Bed and Breakfast route (which we were!) charge your phone and make sure you’ve got credit first.  Verona is …

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Graffiti – European and London

So, I don’t know why, and don’t really know whether it’s an expression of something cultural/political, but as a general impression, I always get the feeling that there is more graffiti in continental Europe than in London.  Sure, most of it – as with most of it in London – is the unintelligable scribble of a mark whose meaning is known only to the painter and a few select friends/rivals.  Some of it is linked to crime; some of it is kids playing, some of it is standard political protest – which in my own quaint way, I sort of …

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What I Did On My Holidays – via Dubai

Not planning on writing about airports as a general principal, but Dubai International deserves a mention, because I have never transitted through such a ridiculous, amazing, spectacular, silly, over the top cultural melting point as Dubai.  Yes, I was transitting, and yes, I was doing it to save cash on my way to somewhere else.   We flew in at night, and from the air Dubai was an orange-stained sandy blur, a darkness punctuated by the occasional pools of brilliant light, sand dotted occasionally with the white blobs of a mansion and the distant burning orange fires of oil wells across …

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What I Did On My Holidays – Seoul

So, I’ve just come back from holiday!  And I have a lot to say about it, but I figured that I might as well start on something that I was going to start on ages ago; brief accounts of other places.  With my writer’s hat on, I entirely cheer for the idea that urban magic exists in every city of the world, and works in different ways in every city of the earth, and with this in mind, and since my holidays are 99% of the time in other cities, this is the beginning of my all-purpose tour of Places …

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Lord Mayor/Midnight Mayor

Oh yes… did I mention the sequel to A Madness of Angels? So, for many, many hundreds of years there has been an individual in London called the Lord Mayor.  In Magna Carta it was set down that the Lord Mayor of London could prevent the king entering within the city walls which at the time defined the city.  He was the chief authority in the city, a leader during disasters, a powerful figure within the guilds, wealthy and for a long time, the nearest thing London had to any sort of definable legal authority.  In recent centuries his power …

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