Sunday, 8 April 2018

Recent Reading

I was in King’s College Hospital in January between the 12th and the 26th - and since then I’ve been recuperating.

While in hospital I tried to read Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book, but its focus on a pandemic illness and plague seemed unhelpful.  So I stopped and read John Le CarrĂ©’s The Night Manager instead.  I went back to the Willis later, once home.

Anyway, from my time in King’s onwards I read (not necessarily in this order):-

The Night Manager, John Le Carré

The Doomsday Book, Connie Willis

Injury Time, Clive James (I enjoyed this, but still feel his Sentenced to Life is better - or at least it speaks to me more).

Come on Everybody: Poems 1953–2008, Adrian Mitchell. (Good fun).

Family Values, Wendy Cope

The Geek Heresy, Kentaro Toyama (Says stuff we all know, or all should know, and it is a little overlong and American).

The Quantum Astrologer’s Handbook, Michael Brooks

Collected Poems, Clive James 

The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey (This was really good. I went to look at a copy of the paining in the NPG afterwards)

Mr Darwin’s Gardener, Kristina Carlson (trans. by Emily and Fleur Jeremiah)

Deus Homo, Yuval Noah Harari.  (So terrible I found myself thoroughly enjoying disagreeing with it).

Back When We Were Grownups, Ann Tyler.  (I know a lot of people like this, but I found it sad and quite depressing).

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Building Stalled?

Having wandered down Nunhead Lane for the first time in a while a few days ago, it seems that work on the new housing scheme associated with the Community Centre has stalled.  It doesn't look like any work has been done on it in weeks....

(Mind you, people could claim the same thing about this blog...)

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Nunhead Community Centre Review

From the Guardian.


The thing about public architecture is not only that it is public but also that it is architecture. That is, as well as housing facilities that everyone can use, it arranges them in spaces and with materials that enhance and sustain these uses, and makes connections between the elements and their surroundings that enrich the social experience of being there, rather than simply arranging the functions in a series of task-fulfilling cells. In which it helps that the Green is not considered on its own, but as part of a wider plan that includes Nunhead Green (Pevsner: “a pathetic scrap of grass and asphalt”), an open space that has been renovated to the designs of AOC. The whole project is paid for by new houses for private sale, not yet built, designed by the same architects.

Externally, AOC saw their job as pulling together the multifarious surroundings: a Tudorbethan pub, terraced houses of Georgian proportions. There are the almshouses built in 1852 by the Metropolitan Beer and Wine Trade Society, whose “yellow-brick gothic front of some character” and “oddly angled chimneys” were for Pevsner Nunhead Green’s only redeeming feature. The new building – brick, gabled – has something in common with all of these. It is house-like, but also has a massy, slightly pugnacious quality that comes from making the mortar the same colour as the reddish brick (it makes the building seem hewn from one mass), and has a “lantern”, a projection at the peak of the gable containing high-level windows, that is intended to announce the presence of a public place. A pattern of herringbone bricks borrowed from the pub, but blown up in scale and realised in bas-relief, enliven one wall. The row of new houses alongside, banded and gabled and with a Dutch-Danish flavour, are designed to ease the transition in scale from four storeys on one side of the green to two on the other.
Find the whole thing here....

The comments at the bottom contain a more critical view. Including:-

I've read a lot about this building and no one seems to have noticed or mentioned that the height of the building is excessive. Being on the west side of the green, 'The Green' blocks out the evening sun from the front seating area of the Nun's Head pub, which used to be absolutely lovely until 9pm. 

Now you lose the direct sunlight and the warmth from about 7pm onwards. Clearly nobody involved in the design ever considered that, or they did but didn't care. It's a shame. 

I appreciate it is a wonderful centre in terms of use and community but the unpopular fact I mention above has been swept away and ignored because of that

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Yum Yum

Mikado at the Coliseum yesterday evening, for the last night of the latest (14th!) rerun of Jonathan Miller’s production from the 1980s.
The translation to an England that is all hotel lobby, and the gargantuan, topsy-turvy, creamy white set, still work to show up just how much Gilbert really, really wasn’t talking about Japan.
A small point. I really appreciated the surtitles, as – as with most G&S – it’s important to keep track of the libretto.
So good.

Friday, 5 February 2016


... kiwi fruit and banana