Saturday 17th September The Happy Mondays & The Orb Hastings Pier. Not very interested in seeing the 'Mondays' (I saw an early London show of theirs at the long-gone Clarendon in Hammersmith supporting The Weather Prophets), but more keen on The Orb. I was a big fan of Adventures from the Ultraworld in the dim and distant ambient past. Caught them once on an incredible bill at the RFH with Gong and Acid Mothers Temple.
Sunday 16th October I shall try to get to this event at the British Museum put on by this group Otherworldly: a Special Event for Halloween
Wednesday 2nd November GoGo Penguin (terrible name) ACCA Brighton (dependent on Southern trains ongoing problems, see below)
Friday 11th November Three Trapped Tigers & The Physics House Band Heaven, London. Owing to the extremely poor Southern train service for much of this year I've had to miss some concerts I'd planned to see in Brighton and elsewhere, TTT's gig there a few months ago being one of them. Hopefully I'll get to this one. I've already seen Physics House Band (see earlier post) and look forward to seeing them again.
Friday 9th December Visit to Down Street 'ghost' underground station.
Friday 9th December I've organised a talk by Gary Lachman on his forthcoming biography of Colin Wilson. Details to follow shortly.
Of the art exhibitions I've been to this year one of the most impressive (certainly in terms of display) is the Jeff Koons show at the Newport Gallery near Vauxhall station ) on until 16th October. Just caught the Raymond Pettibon show at Sadie Coles recently (there's a work by him - limited print from the Whitechapel show - in my collection).
[p.128] 'It is axiomatic that pretentiousness makes no one look good. But pretension is measured using prejudiced metrics. The baselines against which authenticity and pretentiousness are calibrated vary wildly. Anti-pretension critics conscript words such as "logic, "reason" and "the facts" to make their assessments look objective. The accuser of pretension - naturally thinking themselves to be the real deal, in possession of an educated and discerning mind - believes that somewhere else in the world there is a genuine article that the pretentious thing or person aspires to be, but is falling short of or exaggerating it.' Very good book - I'm glad he seems to like the record, but it's The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. A review here.
Robert Wood The Widow of Borley
A return to the rectory (still cannot exorcise it). Another essential book to understand the full story. Reminds me of the commentator on the case who concluded it was 'a house of cards built from a pack of lies.'
Eric Ambler The Mask of Dimitrios
An excellent example of the early thriller and still relevant.
Len Deighton Funeral in Berlin, Billion-Dollar Brain, SS-GB
Deighton is a great writer, his 'Harry Palmer' books (although the protagonist was only given a name for the Michael Caine films) are very atmospheric of the Cold War, if rather convoluted; Billion-Dollar Brain is extremely good and there are some lovely witty moments; SS-GB, a counterfactual history similar to Robert Harris' Fatherland and Philip K Dick's Man in the High Castle (both of which I've read) wasn't wholly convincing I thought, but was certainly a page-turner. Now I read that it's to be a BBC series shortly starring Sam (Ian Curtis) Riley.
Harold Pinter The Birthday Party, The Room, The Caretaker
Tom Stoppard After Magritte, The Real Inspector Hound, Dirty Linen/New-Found-Land
Alan Ayckbourn The Crafty Art of Playmaking
In my early twenties I fancied myself as a playwright and never wrote a word. This month I've just embarked upon writing one. A fun exercise, even if it never sees the light of day. As I rarely get the chance to go to the theatre I'm doing some homework. I did, however, get to see The Truth at Wyndham's Theatre in London recently and really enjoyed it. Written by fashionable French wunderkind Florian Zeller, it was in the tradition of French farce but beautifully acted and all over in an hour and a half without an interval. One of the very few occasions when I wished a play was longer.
After years of planning to go, got a chance to visit Knowlton on our way to holiday in Devon this month. A ruined Norman church sits in the centre of a Neolithic henge monument. Very few visitors when we were there
(maybe owing to a lack of roadsigns) and extremely atmospheric. I also stumbled upon a shrine in the nearby trees with scores of offerings and ex votos.
I finally got to visit the Clapham South Deep-Level Air-Raid Shelter last Thursday as part of London Transport Museum's Hidden London. Some photos by me above. For more information see my Subterranean City or here. It was very well organised - quite a lot of walking is involved as it's vast.
Author of Subterranean City, Beneath the Streets of London, London's Coffee Houses, Decadent London, The Folklore of London, Subterranean City (Revised and Expanded Edition), Netherwood, Last Resort of Aleister Crowley, Lord of Strange Deaths, the Fiendish World of Sax Rohmer; Secret Tunnels in England, Folklore and Fact