Category Urban decay

Say goodbye to the London you love…

Celebrate its architecture. Wander down its decrepit streets and breathe in that wonderful sense of otherness. Stare wistfully at ancient, gnarled Plane trees and exclaim, Gosh London’s great! – isn’t it wonderful how all this exists within our great, great city? Yet a disease is spreading. And we can stop it because it comes down […]

Soho square, that odd little patch of turf

Soho square definitely has an identity crisis. Which other square in London owns a gingerbread house within its fences, and is surrounded by banana trees, eucalyptus, a statue of a man falling off his horse, ping-pong tables and a lawn that constantly needs re-lawning. Sometimes it’s fairytale, other times Bahamas, and yet other times again […]

Hidden London 2: Sutton House

Somewhere up Hackney way is Sutton House, a beautiful Tudor pile that almost ended up as one. It’s a national trust property that isn’t a castle, a grand house or an oddity of an eccentric gentleman of long ago. OK, it’s bigger than the average London home but not by much. It’s not particularly huge. […]

Is this what the creative mind looks like?

Are you irritable? Tired? Prone to snapping? Do your temples ache from the synapses buzzing in your head? You might be suffering from an incurable itch called writing. When I was a child, writing was a romantic occupation. I’d write a few words then get out the colouring-in pencils and draw a flower. Or a […]

Hidden London: the streets they didn’t want you to see.

Hanway Street. It hides out the back of Primark where young staff loiter puffing their lives away on bad cigarettes, drugs, and a lifetime of depression … Oh that’s someone else’s tune! We always think about the London that impresses. The cool fuss of Soho, the ecstatic pleasure of Regent street, Berkeley square, Whitehall, Pall […]

Somewhere off Japan there is a city falling to wrack and ruin

It looks like Alcatraz and could be a prison. Hashima, a former mining island about twelve kilometres off the coast of Nagasaki, is so smothered in concrete it once had the honour of being the most densely populated plot on Earth. In 1974, it was abandoned, presumably when the coal mined from two kilometres below […]