Saturday, 21 September 2013

Shed Seven and no swimming pool

In the mid 90s there were half a dozen shops in Milan that sold both the NME and Melody Maker. I preferred the latter but bought both, knew which shops got the new editions in first, and learnt the name of the writers like they were my friends: Caitlin Moran, Everett True, Peter Paphides, Sarra Manning, Taylor Parkes, Neil Kulkarni, Alexis Petridis, Tania Branigan, David Stubbs, Dave Simpson and Simon Price who's been so nebbishly fired by the Independent on Sunday.

Italian radio never played anything they wrote about, so the only way to hear the music was to risk a week's disposable income on a review and a name, and I could never get past Shed Seven's name.

C'mon, you've got all of English to choose from and you choose that? I suppose at least it's not Pearl Jam.

Anyway all this is to say that Shed Seven recorded the video for 'Dolphin' in a derelict Hornsey Road Baths, and that they turn out to be rather less bad than I'd imagined. Go badly named bands.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

How to find somewhere you didn't know existed

Go to St Saviour's and take the path on the left of the entrance,

turn right

and you'll find a derelict building and half a field. 

The building's 1899.

F.A. Bevan, I think, is Francis Augusts Bevan (1840-1919) who was Barclay's Bank's first chairman. The Bevans were Quakers, but I can't find a Quaker connection for St. Saviour's. 

A.J. Ard was interviewed by Booth and a Rev. A.J. Ard sailed from Liverpool to Quebec in 1904.

That's all I can find about them. 

Anyway, the point is that this is an illogical, inefficient, uneconomic use of space. There's an old joke about an economist seeing a £10 note on the pavement and not picking it up because if it had been worth anything someone would have done it already. This is the land use version of that, space that somehow escaped becoming something useful and so stays there, a patch of miraculous scrubland in the middle of London.

It'd make perfect allotments. 

Monday, 9 September 2013

The St Mellitus Times

The outside of St Mellitus is church imperial, church triumphant: a monumental portico and vast brick walls stretching out behind. Inside it's painted in garish blue and red, a colour scheme far more authentic than the reverential Farrow & Ball recreations of the Past as packed with tasteful Period Features. The colours make the space feel welcoming and unexpected.

The lobby has the usual Tablets and Catholic Times, but there's also a lot about support for migrants and nothing that I could see against equal marriage or contraception.

Curious, I went online and found that St Mellitus' priest has an unofficial blog:

It's a rabbit hole well worth falling down, a funny, angry, despairing read that's left me more optimistic about the Church than I've been in years because if there are priests like this there's hope yet. Highlights reproduced below, but you really should read the whole thing. 

Someone give the man a column.

Full disclosure: I'm not a parishioner at St Mellitus or anywhere else. I can just about claim cultural Catholicism. I grew up in Italy where Church is the Catholic Church (a schoolfriend was seventeen when she first heard that Protestants were Christians and I don't think she believed it), I've been on a retreat to Pluscarden Abbey and I spent four blissful years getting paid to write about 14th century Franciscans (John of Montecorvino, the first archbishop of Beijing, was a great man), but I've never believed or practised.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Disgraceful State of Hornsey Road

This is from the 29 December 1865 edition of the Islington Gazette. I've taken the title from the original, but despite the outraged tone it wasn't a prominent article. Ragged children hurling filth at passers-by seems to have been news, but only just, and only if someone died.

'An inquiry was held at the Queen's Arms, Queen's-Road, Hornsey-Road, on Saturday last, to inquire into the death of Eliza Mary Timbrell, aged 13, who was knocked down by a horse and cart on Thursday last. 

Ann Timbrell, of 62, Ashburton Grove, sister to the deceased, said deceased was brought home insensible about nine on Thursday last. She did not think the driver of the cart was to blame. Had heard that some girl had run after the deceased and frightened her, and she had heard that boys were in the habit of doing so on some occasions. 

William Dunderdale, MD, stated that he was called to the deceased on Thrusday last, at a quarter past nine. He found her insensible and she expired in about ten minutes in his presence. He had made a post-mortem examination and had found a graze passing down the left leg, but no sign of violence sufficient to cause death. Internally, he found the liver ruptured, which accounted for death.

Jesse Jones, of Turningmill-Place, deposed that he was going up the Hornsey road on Thursday and saw a cart coming down the road, the driver being in the cart. It was being driven at the rate of about seven miles an hour. The deceased was on the pavement, and suddenly started from it and ran in front of the horse, which knocked her down. The cart was near the middle of the road and it passed over her body. He saw no one near her. The driver tried to pull up, but had no time. He stopped immediately after passing over the body. He did not see any possibility of the driver's avoiding the accident. The deceased got up and ran to witness after the accident.

Thomas Fisher, of 27, Hornsey Road, said 'I am the owner of the cart. I had just turned out of the Holloway- road, when the deceased ran suddenly from the pavement in front of the horse's head. I had no time to pull up. The road is narrow at that part. I did not see any other children. On the coroner asking if there was any evidence to show that he child had been frightened by any other children. The Rev. Mr. Mackenzie stepped foward and stated the neighbourhood abounded with a horde of rough boys and girls, who assailed respectable children with stones and sticks. At his school (the Holloway Free Schol) the scholars were constantly annoyed on their way to and from the school.

Several of the jurors also bore testimony of a similar kind, and stated that is was dangerous for even grown men to go down the road, as they were not infrequently pelted with stones and filth. 

The attention of the police had been called to the nuisance, but they had refused on several occasions to take persons in to custody, on the ground that they did not see the offence committed.

Dr Lankester expressed his surprise at the conduct of the police, when Inspector Barber said that the public seemed to think that the police possessed more power than they really did. By law no constable could take anyone into custody unless he saw the assault committed. Persons so assaulted could take out a summons. 

The Coroner summed-up and expressed a hope that the press would give publicity to the state of the neighbourhood, so that something might be done to abolish the nusiance. He thought that more police ought to be put on duty there. The jury returned a verdict of 'Accidental death'.'