Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Merry Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Holidays, and Happy New Year

I'm going to a land beyond North London* and The Hornsey Road is going on a break until the New Year.

If you're around for New Year's Eve you could go to the stompin' and swingin' dinner dance at Ajani's, or to the prayer party at St. Mark's.

They're both in the new scrolling calendar on the top right hand side of the homepage, which also includes a breastfeeding drop-in and a rock and roll bingo night.

If you want to advertise an event on or around the Hornsey Road then tell me in comments and I'll add it to the calendar unless it's illegal or I take against it.

Thank you all for reading,


* I've now got this going round my head. It's the opposite of seasonal but it's also a magnificent song to sing while cycling.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Being alone at Christmas.

Loneliness (as distinct from the bliss of solitude) is wretched and Christmas makes it worse.

This short notice ran in the Tuesday 25 December 1894 edition of the Morning Post.

'Suicide in a Bath

Last evening Dr. G. Danford Thomas held an inquest at the Islington Coroner's court on the body of Frank Cornish, aged 31, a grocer's assistant, lately living at 33 Regina Road, Tollington-park, who committed suicide in the public baths at Hornsey-road on Friday afternoon last.

Evidence was given that Cornish for some weeks had been out of employment and gave way to drink. On Friday afternoon last he asked for a warm bath and was subsequently found by the attendant undressed and dead in the water.

A large wound was in the throat, and when the water was drained a razor was discovered at the bottom. Letters found upon his clothing showed that he had sought for several situations but failed.

The Jury returned a verdict of suicide while of unsound mind.

Frank Cornish is beyond help, but the NHS advice is that the best thing you can do if you think someone may be feeling suicidal is probably to encourage them to talk about their feelings and to listen to what they say.

If you are having suicidal thoughts please contact the Samaritans by:

Telephone: 08457909090
Post: Chris, PO Box 9090, Stirling FK8 2SA

And if you're lucky enough that neither apply and you can afford to then please donate to Mind (the mental health charity) here.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Emma Morley

Last Sunday I overcame my ex-indie kid horror of reading a book that many many many Other People* like and bought One Day.

I am, of course, an idiot. It's not One Day's fault that it's been weighed down with soul-deadening adjectives like 'heartwarming' and 'page-turning'. It's sweet and it works.

It's also blog-relevant because it does the London thing of showing emotions though place names. A character who lives In Earls Court must be unhappy, moving to Clapton means misery, while owning a house in Richmond condemns you to comfortable despair.

The lead character is happy around the Hornsey Road. Happy in a way that catches the scruffiness of the road, the way it is out of sync with the energetic gentrifying forces across London, the sense (in short) of its existing in a slightly different parallel universe.

'They lapse into silence again as the radio burbles on and Emma closes her eyes once more and tries to imagine herself unpacking cardboard boxes, finding space for her clothes, her books. In truth she prefers the atmosphere of her current flat, a pleasant, vaguely bohemian attic off the Hornsey Road. Belsize Park is just too neat and chichi.'


'Two miles away, just off the Hornsey Road, Emma climbs the flights of stairs, unlocks the front door and feels the cool, stale air of a flat that has been unoccupied for four days. She makes tea, sits at her desk, turns on her computer, and stares at it for the best part of an hour.'

*People who go to book groups,** read authors' biographies because they want to know what their novels are really about, identify with characters, never read short stories or poetry or things written in other languages or before they were born, and don't feel at home in second hand bookshops. The literary equivalent of the fans of Coldplay*** or We Will Rock You. You know, those people.

** Okay, so I go to a book group. But it's different. No, I can't explain why.

*** Okay, so I'll forgive them for this.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Dr Tibbles' Vi-Cocoa

Today's edition of the blog is brought to you by Quackery Through the Ages (TM).

"Mr. F. H. Demper, 94, Hornsey Road, London, N., writes: 'I am a busy journalist and at times have suffered severely from 'brain fag' and general lassitude.

 I have tried many remedies and have found the after effects worse than the original weakness. Thanks to the advice of a friend, I was induced to experiment with Dr. Tibbles' Vi-Cocoa some months ago, and am very glad I did so.

After a day of the hardest work I find a cup of it will banish the fiend insomnia.

Since I have taken it habitually, I find that I sleep soundly, and on waking the next morning I am as fresh as a lark. I wish I had heard of Dr. Tibbles' Vi-Cocoa years ago.'"

This credible testimonial is from the Friday 31 October 1902 issue of the Northampton Mercury, thanks again to the British Newspaper Archive.

One day my world-conquering range of Hornsey Road themed products will include this:

It will sell in the millions.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Lucena House

Lucena House are (or were, t'interweb isn't clear) a band.

It's also the block of 1950s flats on the Hornsey Road opposite Yale Terrace where they met.

Listen to them here.


Libertea is on Marlborough Road near Hornsey Road rather than on the echt Hornsey Road, but I like it enough to forgive it for that and for having a name I'm not sure how to pronounce. Liberty? Or Liber-teh-ah?

It's where I'd go if I were trying to write a short story. They do proper Moroccan mint tea and croissants for breakfast. There are books (on that shelf you can just see above and on another small bookshelf) I could read to distract myself and trick writers' block. It's quiet enough on a weekday afternoon that I could commandeer a table in peace and I could watch people come and go.

I should try and write a short story.


Or I could drink carrot, apple and ginger smoothies or white orchard tea and pretend I did sun salutations every day and never overslept.  And then think sod it and have croque monsieur and apple tart instead. 


 It's across the road from this:

I must find out more.

Where: 159-163 Marlborough Road N19 4NF
When: Mon-Fri 7.30am to 7.00pm; Sat-Sun 8:30am to 6:30pm
Telephone: 020 7272 5627
Wheelchair access and high chairs

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Acer campestre

Trees, as all wise people know, are better than flowers.

They are more beautiful, more lasting, and they have better names: Common ash, Bird cherry, Cedar of Lebanon, Douglas fir, Elder, Field maple, Grey willow, Holly, Irish yew, Juniper, London plane, Monkey Puzzle, Norway spruce, Common oak, Purging buckthorn, Rowan, Sycamore, Tulip tree, Variegated sycamore, Western Hemlock.

Paul Wood at the Street Tree has kindly let me share his photograph of a Field maple (Acer campestre) 'a plucky, messy and often overlooked tree' dealing insouciantly with the Hornsey Road.


Go look at his blog. He does orchids and the countryside too, which is all very well if you like that kind of thing, but it's his London tree postings that are a revelation. He's discovered perry trees off the Holloway road, a Persian silk tree (see what I mean about names?) in Southwark and Robinias in Bedford row.

This is why London is infinite. The streets and houses run out eventually, but there is no end to the different ways of seeing it. You can name its trees or model its bus routes or remember streets because a friend you lost touch with lived there decades ago or hold an internal map of all the places where you lost umbrellas.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Fearful Scene at a Fire

To counterbalance Dickens' melancholy here's another 19th century Hornsey Road story, but this time one with danger and a happy ending.

It starts off badly, on a cold December morning:

'On Saturday morning, about five o'clock, a fire, nearly attended with the loss of six or seven persons, was discovered by a police-officer of the N division, in the premises belonging to Mr Chalton, a linen draper and silk mercer, carrying on business in Andover-terrace, Hornsey road.'

Then it gets worse:

'At the time of the outbreak the whole of the inmantes were in their beds fast asleep, and it was a work of no little difficulty to make them aware of their danger.'

And worse still, until it seems there's no hope:

'That was, however, at length accomplished; but the flames by this time had not only taken possession of the front shop and warehouses, but also the staircase, and were approaching the doors of the three other rooms, in which Mr Chalton, his children and his servants were.'

Then, almost at the last moment, everything turns out fine:

'To descend by the staircase was, therefore, an impossibility, and the affrighted persons made for the front windows and there being a sun blind over the shop windows, it was pulled out, two of the children were thrown out of the window on to the blind, and they rolled down and were caught by the people below. The servants, with the proprietor and his wife, next scrambled down in the same manner, and, fortunately, not one of them received the least injury. '

I love the image of the crowd gathered around ready to catch the children, the servants and Mr and Mrs Chalton. I wonder how many times they told the story and how many of them claimed to have been the one who thought of pulling out the sun blind.

From the 7 December 1868 edition of Morning Post, thanks again to the British Newspaper Archive.

And apologies to anyone reading this through RSS - I promise there will be no more accidental multiple posting

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Charles Dickens 'God knows how small the world looks to one who comes out of such a sick-room on a bright summer day'

On Tuesday 5 September 1848, the London Standard ran this death notice:

'On the 25 inst, at the house of her brother in law, Henry Austin, Esq., in the Hanley Road, Hornsey Road, Frances Elizabeth, wife of Henry Burnett, Esq. of Higher Ardwick Manchester, daughter of John and elder sister of Charles Dickens, Esqrs, aged 38.'

Her younger brother visited Frances Elizabeth (Fanny) shortly before she died of consumption and wrote this to his friend and future biographer John Foster:

'A change took place in poor Fanny about the middle of the day yesterday, which took me out there last night. Her cough suddenly ceased almost, and, strange to say, she immediately became aware of her hopeless state; to which she resigned herself, after an hour's unrest and struggle, with extraordinary sweetness and constancy. The irritability passed, and all hope faded away; though only two nights before, she had been planning for 'after Christmas.'

She is greatly changed. I had a long interview with her to-day, alone; and when she had expressed some wishes about the funeral, and her being buried in unconsecrated ground"
[Mr. Burnett's family were dissenters], "I asked her whether she had any care or anxiety in the world. She said No, none. It was hard to die at such a time of life, but she had no alarm whatever in the prospect of the change; felt sure we should meet again in a better world; and although they had said she might rally for a time, did not really wish it.

She said she was quite calm and happy, relied upon the mediation of Christ, and had no terror at all. She had worked very hard, even when ill; but believed that was in her nature, and neither regretted nor complained of it. Burnett had been always very good to her; they had never quarrelled; she was sorry to think of his going back to such a lonely home; and was distressed about her children, but not painfully so.

She showed me how thin and worn she was; spoke about an invention she had heard of that she would like to have tried, for the deformed child's back; called to my remembrance all our sister Letitia's patience and steadiness; and, though she shed tears sometimes, clearly impressed upon me that her mind was made up, and at rest.

I asked her very often, if she could ever recall anything that she could leave to my doing, to put it down, or mention it to somebody if I was not there; and she said she would, but she firmly believed that there was nothing -- nothing. Her husband being young, she said, and her children infants, she could not help thinking sometimes, that it would be very long in the course of nature before they were reunited; but she knew that was a mere human fancy, and could have no reality after she was dead.

Such an affecting exhibition of strength and tenderness, in all that early decay, is quite indescribable. I need not tell you how it moved me. I cannot look round upon the dear children here, without some misgiving that this sad disease will not perish out of our blood with her; but I am sure I have no selfishness in the thought, and God knows how small the world looks to one who comes out of such a sick-room on a bright summer day. I don't know why I write this before going to bed. I only know that in the very pity and grief of my heart, I feel as if it were doing something.

Source here.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Calvin Harris & Clothing

From this interview on Popjustice:

Popjustice: 'Hello Calvin. Where are you?'
Calvin Harris: 'I'm in my studio on [London cultural hotspot] Hornsey Road.'

I want a t-shirt with 'The Hornsey Road: London Cultural Hotspot' printed on it.


Or, alternatively and as suggested by Hugh:


See here for more on Hornsey Road studios.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Meta blogging (Mizhenka)

Smoky, ghostly, Hornsey Road as opening scene for M.R. James story, picture here.

Also, many pictures of bears.

Also, a blunt appraisal of the road's merits.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

In praise of ziggurats

The heart of the Andover Estate is beautiful and unusual.

Giant redbrick ziggurats face onto shared gardens.

There are no cars. It feels (for good and for ill) like a different world from the Victorian streets around it. 

I'll hand this over to Pevsner: 'The strikingly massed Andover Estate (by the GLC, from 1972) was a late phase of this development [The Campbell Bunk slum clearance]. It builds up from two storey terraces and four-storey deck access maisonettes, to a towering group of ten-storey ziggurats on giant pilotis. Angular forms somewhat softened by universal use of brindled russet brick, brown pantiles and blue balcony planters.'
Take a look around if you're passing by.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The underground swimming pool

Between the Lee Garden Chinese takeaway and the defunct Hornsey Halal Grocery, in a shabby block of converted Victorian houses, there's a door. There's no sign on the door, or any indication that anything out of the ordinary is behind it,  but if you opened it this is what you'd see:

And if you walked down those stairs, past the stained glass window with its image of a woman swimming or diving, you'd reach the underground swimming pool: 


Yours for 300 a week


People always have reasons for doing things. I can't quite figure out what the reason was here. 

Perhaps the incongruity is the point, perhaps whoever wanted it wanted to be able to walk out of one world and into another. 


Sunday, 4 December 2011

Sylvan Cottage in 2011?

On the west side of the Hornsey Road, a few yards south of the Hanley Road corner there's a run-down house, so run down that it looks like it might fall over. 

I was thinking about it late yesterday afternoon and realised that it might be the 1850s 'cottage adjoining' of the previous post

These pictures were taken in a hurry because it feels awkward and ill-mannered to photograph someone's home, even when you go no closer than Google does. 

All the more so when the home is in this bad a state. For a long time I'd assumed that the house was abandoned, but the cars parked out front come and go and  someone switches the lights on when it goes dark.

I hope whoever lives there is okay. There's no straight correlation between neatness of house and happiness of mind, but this looks uncomfortable to live in.

But look at it.  The 'cottage adjoining' had a stable, greenhouse and garden. Those wooden doors on the bottom left could have been a stable.

And if you look at the satellite picture (below) you can see that there's still a big garden and even what could be a greenhouse.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

'Sylvan Cottage' most delightfully situated in the Hornsey Road

This advert appeared on Friday March 1851 in the London Daily News: 

'Valuable estates, at Hornsey road, Holloway, and Islington; comprising a compact semi-detatched cottage-ornée, known as 'Sylvan Cottage' most delightfully situated in the Hornsey road, near the Hanley Arms, commanding extensive views of picturesque scenery, and containing every accommodation for a family of respectability, stable, coach-house, and loft, garden tastefully laid out with ornamental fountain, summer room, and wood, Esq., at £55 per annum. A cottage adjoining , with stable, greenhouse, and garden, let at £27, 6s per annum.'

I came across it because the British Library has put four million pages of historical newspapers online. Seems like the only thing to survive the ages untouched is estate agent prose.  In time the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble, but there will still be stunning flats in highly sort after areas.

I want an ornamental fountain. Am I not a family of respectability? 

John Gay, Lewis Rogers Junk Shop, 63 Hornsey Road

The photographer Hans Gohler was born in 1909 in Karlsruhe.

In 1933 he moved to England and changed his name to John Gay (after the Beggar's Opera composer). He took pictures of every day life in the city, railway stations and Dylan Thomas

Sometime between 1962 and 1964 he took these three photographs of a second-hand store on the Hornsey Road: 

It sold 'anything of interest', which seems to have meant dolls' heads in vases, grandmother clocks, chandeliers, 

lamp bases, miniature chests of drawers and horns. 

John Gay died in 1999 and left his photographs to English Heritage, who've put them online.  Go look. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

'Volumes of dense smoke'

China Mieville's Unlundun is a parallel universe city with no Klinneract (say it aloud) and dirt we can't conceive of. 

This story, taken from the Saturday 3 November 1887 edition of the London Standard, reads like a chapter in Unlundun's slow retreat:

The King vs. Davison 

'Mr Chitty opened the pleadings, and the Attorney General briefly stated the substance of the case. 

The defendant, Mr Davison, stood indicted for having erected a manufactory for lamp black, at Crouch End, on the Hornsey road, to the great inconvenience of the inhabitants residing in that neighbourhood.

This factory was situated near the highway, it constantly poured forth volumes of dense smoke and had been several times on fire. The health and comfort of the inhabitants, therefore, was greatly injured by this establishment, and the present prosecution was instituted to abate such nuisance, and effect its removal from that spot. 

John Watts lives at Hendon, is surveyor of the bye-roads, knew the defendants's manufactory in Duvals-Lane on the road to Hornsey, in the parish of Islington. The building is situated between 30 and 40 yards from the high road. The premises were erected in the early part of 1826, and commenced working during the summer of the same year. 

The effluvia that issued from the manufactory while at work is so disagreeable that it frequently occasions sickness and may be smelt at the distance of about a mile. cross-examined by the Common Sergeant. 

There is a brick-kiln adjoining the defendant's manufactory, but the smell from that is by no means like what proceeds from Mr. D's premises. 

Constable 'A Kiln on the Hornsey Road' 1797

A number of wintesses, inhabitants residing near the defendant's manufactory, were called and examined, and from their evidence they corroborated the testimony of the first witness, as to the offensive effects produced from the said manufactory. They also spoke of several fires having occured in the building, and must remove from their houses if the nuisance is not abated. The Common Sergeant, who conducted the defendants' case, said, that under all the circumstances stated on the part of the prosecution, he had advised his client to submit to a verdict against him. 

The jury consequently pronounced the defendant Guilty. '

John Hitch Seating

This is a handsome shop. It's sleek and it sells good-looking furniture. If I could afford a new sofa and didn't have two cats I'd love to buy one from them.

           Special seats for London advertising agency: Urban Salon

They do everything from custom-made furniture and grand commissions from grand clients (Heals, BMW and Istanbul Airport among others) to small-scale repairs.

There are no chains on the Hornsey Road. I'm increasingly coming to think that there aren't even any ordinary shops on it. 

The vintage store sells Zambian sculptures, we have a Nigerian jazz place, and John Hitch (which I thought was just an upscale furniture showroom) turns out to be run by people who invent, design and make furniture as well as selling it.

In that spirit, my favorite picture of this business isn't of a piece of furniture, it's of the fabrics that they turn into furniture:

Possibility made into cloth. 

Monday, 28 November 2011

Swimming Costume (100 Objects)

Do you remember the 'A History of the World in One Hundred Objects' series that Radio 4 and the British Museum ran? It was very very very good and is here.

When the BBC did an extended version the  Islington Museum put in this red cotton bathing costume left behind in the lost property of the Hornsey Road Baths:

Image courtesy of the BBC

I realise I'm supposed to find this ridiculous, I get that wet cotton must be neither flattering nor comfortable nor easy to swim in, and I don't want to get into a conversation about Victorian morality and all that.

But I would like it if there were still swimwear that doesn't expect its wearers to be young and toned or whisper that they should diet for months or have surgery or otherwise act out shame before wearing it.

I like clothes because they are interesting and varied. I like how there are dresses (and shirts, trousers, skirts, blouses, ...)  out there that channel Coco Chanel and Susie Bubble, Katherine Hepburn and Amelia Earhart, Cary Grant and Kurt Cobain.

Except, it seems, when we're swimming. It's dull.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

M&M Glass, auctions and a bearded dragon

A matter of weeks ago, 410 Hornsey Road was M&M Glass. It was a magical and shadowy place, but  it's gone now.* 

The space is between tenants and an inventive friend of the freeholder is hosting occasional auctions of 'antiques, furniture old and new, various bric-a-brac, etc...

The first one was on Wednesday and so I ambled down to take photographs. There was a small crowd gathering, and two chaps outside were saying 'he's got hold of some nice things in there, really nice things'. 

I don't think the 'Glass cut to size' sign was for sale. But there were boxes to delve through. 

and books to read.

I kind of got distracted when the-lady-with-the-red-hair turned up with a bearded dragon.

I didn't catch his name, but he seemed happy being carried around.

*Sic transit gloria mundi, et atque taberni et officini transient.

Championship Vinyl

In High Fidelity, Rob Fleming's record shop is just off the Seven Sisters Road

This proves conclusively that it's on the southern stretch of the Hornsey Road.

After all, even something that doesn't exist has to not exist somewhere.

Gratuitous John Cusack picture

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Steve Potts' 'Hornsey Road' drawing.

Steve Potts is a local artist (here since 1997) who one day took some photographs from the top deck of the 91 and decided to draw this:

His blog is worth looking at, for his other drawings and for his thoughts on why and what he draws.

'Perhaps there’s something about the combination of immediacy and intimacy of drawing that instinctively attracts me. Drawings tend to live their lives on a small scale, and as such are quieter and often more personal than the declaration of painting. These objects, often made from the most basic materials of pencil and paper, invite us into their world without thinking.'

Monday, 21 November 2011

How Fayer's Plumbing merchants is becoming Yale Terrace.

This building on the corner of Tollington Park and Hornsey

was knocked down, renamed 'Yale Terrace' and now looks like this:

(photograph from the Hornsey Road side)
(picture from the Mitford Road side)

There are eight houses and four flats most of which seem to have sold off-plan. They're shiny. The developers are aiming upmarket, selling gentrification before it's quite happened.

Their planning application was a thorough business, with many drawings from Bells Cooley architects. Doesn't explain where they got the name 'Yale Terrace' from, mind.

The commercial space still says 'to let', but the shop-keepers round there believe that it'll be a Tesco. I can't work out if they're right. 

The developers have put a new planning application in,  asking to 'Infill single storey extension at rear ground floor and change of use from residential amenity space to flexible: A1/A2/B1, providing for a total of 260sqm floor space together with alterations to building.'

A1 mean shops, A2 means financial and professional services, B1 means businesses.*  So that's not very clear. The size would be right for a big Tesco Express, or a small Tesco Metro.

It should be finished by the summer.

The cafe' you can just see in the Fayers picture is now Ajani's. It used to look like this:

*thanks to ActionVerb at for correcting this.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

John Constable

One month before Constable turned nineteen and five years before he gave up the corn and coal trade for art, he painted this: 

John Constable: A Kiln on the Hornsey Road

It's a water-colour on lined paper, measures 20 x 23 cm and sold for £12,650 in 1999.

That's all I can find out about it, without going to the British Library and trawling books. Constable painted many many sketches like this and most haven't had much written about them.

I wonder, though, why he chose to paint the kiln rather than just the countryside.

There had been brick kilns in North London since the sixteenth century, and tile kilns since around 1800. They brought trouble (rogues and vagabonds) and coughed up millions of bricks a year.

So this wouldn't have been novel, and it wouldn't have been idyllic. It feels like, at eighteen,  he went looking for working countryside rather than landscape.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Plough in Frank Swinnerton's, 'Coquette'

'It was Saturday night—a winter night in which the wind hummed through every draughty crevice between the windows and under the doors and down the chimneys. 

Outside, in the Hornsey Road, horse-omnibuses rattled by and the shops that were still open at eleven o'clock glistened with light. Up the road, at the butcher's just below the Plough public-house, a small crowd lingered, turning over scraps of meat, while the butcher himself, chanting "Lovely, lovely, lovely!" in a kind of ecstasy, plunged again into a fresh piece of meat the attractive legend, "Oh, mother, look! Three ha'pence a pound!" 

Just over the way, at the Supply Stores, they had begun to roll down the heavy shutter, hiding the bright windows, and leaving only a narrow doorway, through which light streamed and made rainbow colours on the pavement outside. The noise of the street was a racketting roar, hardly lower now than it had been all the evening.'

Opening paragraph of the novel written in 1921,  but set in 1912, by Frank Swinnerton, who liked gin & vermouth and the King's College Chapel Choir. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Hornsey Road model railway

File this under the wonderful variety of the world.

There's a website - here - run by a man who calls himself Kier Hardy and who may actually be called Kier Hardy. It's devoted to recreating British Rail in the 1970s.

Here's its Hornsey Road depot:

 'This view shows the area around the back of the depot. The water tower has been scratchbuilt from styrene to fit into the lower area around the headshunt. Beyond that is the boiler house and fuel oil tanks, with a modified Bachmann building providing administration for the site.'

I'm so glad people like this exist. Much more in Modern Railway Journal's issue 203.

(added later)

He's even done a row of Victorian terraces mid-demolition:

Original caption: 'Demolition sites were aplenty in the post-war decades, and slum clearances were still underway in the 1970s in towns and cities all over Britain. This row of part-demolished shops occupies an area alongside the motive power depot at Hornsey Road, and was featured in the Model Railway Journal number 203.'

Monday, 14 November 2011

Music on the Hornsey Road: Kylie & the London Sound Laboratory

Interesting things go on behind closed doors. This, for example:

Also, this: 

Nerina Pallot & Andy Chatterley have a studio complex just off the Hornsey Road - it's near the Factory Gym and opposite the Funky Junk audio shop. Inside it there's a room called the London Sound Laborary which is for hire and which is full of 'vintage recording gear and analogue synths'. 

They have a Wurlitzer piano there, half a dozen Pultec and Lang eqs, a rack of Neve,  Disa and Valley compressors, a Decca mastering equaliser, a Bluebird Cyclosonics panner and phaser, Gelf, Moog and Delta Lab phasey-flangey boxes, Mutron Bi Phase, Allotrope mic pre/eq and many many other things that are mysterious to me. 

And, for a short while, they had  Kylie of the tall dark and handsome boyfriends. I still find that hard to believe, but there you go: Absinthe Fairy on the Hornsey Road. 

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Stuart Free 'Hornsey Road Baths'

Stuart Free paints warehouses and corner shops, high rise flats and theatres, cafes and all the scruffy paraphernalia of falling apart London (and Detroit). 

This is his most loved image, and his best: 

It's also a case study in how much of creativity is good editing. He's done at least six versions of this sign. None are bad, none are anything less than very good indeed. 

But all the others are preparatory sketches for this one. Here the neon lady looks like she's diving into an Esther Williams movie, the words have a stuttering echo and there's something like stardust on the old brick wall. 

On sale in Crouch End at Frameworks.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Street style on the way to church

Double-strap high heel Mary Janes, knee length tailored coat buttoned up to the neck, pixie haircut, black leather gloves.

I love the way this young woman photographed on the Hornsey Road wears a church appropriate outfit and looks chic.

Photograph from Wayne Tippets.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Masjid -e-Yusuf mosque

According to  muslimsinbritain this mosque has a Deobandi theme, a capacity of 200, does not admit women and looks like this inside: 

From the outside it still looks like a pub even though the new name has been painted across where it used to say 'Hanley Arms'.    


It's grade II listed, and so the old wrought-iron signs survive, as does some very pretty moulding. 


The Hanley Arms was built around 1850. In 1881 it was home to John Diggins, his wife Mary and their children Mary, Clara and Florence. I wonder if they liked the wrought-iron, or fretted that it was looking dated.

The transformation reminds me of a lot of things: of Simon Armitage's line about churches in Yorkshire becoming carpet warehouses, of the ghost signs you see all over London, of Odradek, and of how buildings outlive us.

If you use the mosque, please tell me what it's like. I'm curious.

Where: 440 Hornsey Road
When: ?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

D & L Barbers and Dizzie Rascal

I can't find a website for D & L Barbers, but sixteen million people have seen a photograph of one of their chairs. 

 Dizzie Rascal took the photograph and talked rather sweetly about liking the place, liking hearing people talk and liking the habit of going there. 

Bing used it as a background for a day and the Islington Gazette names Jermain Penant, Jerome Thomas, Jay Bothroyd, Bobby Valentino, Adam Deacon, Plan B,  DJ Spoony and Flawless as other customers. 

Where: 206 Hornsey Road, N7 7LL
When: ?