Commedia dell’arte & Jerry Cornelius_

Posted in Uncategorized on May 22, 2018 by johnny haddo

200px-Entropy_tangoThe good airship Lady Charlotte Lever chugged over what was probably Transcarpathia. Una Persson was stopping over in London to see her lover Catherine. Makhno’s anarchists held Ontario. Toronto was about to fall. The Americans were agitated. It was 1948 and a second World War was about to break out. Major Nye hoped not. He remembered the Great War and Geneva in 1910. Jerry Cornelius was left behind in a New Hampshire barn. While in Lionel Himmler’s Blue Spot Club, Miss Brunner ordered jugged hare as Bartok played on the jukebox…kinda reminds one of the teeming world of Shakespeare’s  London, from the enigmatic spy Kit Marlowe to the self-aggrandising Ben Jonson, from the actor Richard Burbage to the fab Thomas Middleton..much to do about nothing, eh_

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I don’t want to alarm anyone, but there’s a child vampire in the house_

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2018 by johnny haddo

child

burn, baby burn_

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11, 2018 by johnny haddo

While most recollections of 1968 concern events in Paris, Germany, the US and South America, there was also a minor uprising in London. That is being commemorated with a suitably bijou single-room exhibition at the Tate Britain, and also a new publication in Four Corners’ Irregular series – about which I first wrote here. […]

via King Mob, the Camden Poster Workshop and revolutionary London in 1968 — The Great Wen

Who owns St George’s Hill, birthplace of the Diggers?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 20, 2017 by johnny haddo

Who owns England?

Image: Still from the film Winstanley, 1975.

In April 1649, Gerrard Winstanley and a rag-tag band calling themselves ‘Diggers’ set up camp on St George’s Hill in Surrey, and made history.

There is a widespread misconception that the Diggers had chosen to cultivate common land. In fact, St George’s Hill was probably Crown Land – which, following the execution of Charles I, had become of uncertain ownership. The Diggers were one amongst various millennarian cults of the post-monarchy era who were convinced that with the death of the king, a new era had dawned.

For Winstanley, that new era heralded the end of private property and a chance to throw off the ‘Norman yoke’ of elite landownership that had enslaved the common people of England since 1066. “The earth is a common treasury for all”, he proclaimed, “both rich and poor, that every one that is born in the…

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Green’s Dictionary of Slang is the dog’s bollocks

Posted in Uncategorized on November 7, 2017 by johnny haddo

Strong Language

Soon after Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary was published in 1755, so the story goes, he was approached by a pair of prudish readers who commended him for omitting ‘improper’ words. Johnson, according to one account, replied to the women: ‘What! my dears! then you have been looking for them?’

Today you can find improper words in any good dictionary – but only the main set. Fuck is there, but not fuckish, fuckfaced, fuck-nutty, fuck my old boots!, or fuck the dog and sell the pups. You’ll see shit in the usual sources, but good luck finding shit-breath, shit factory, shit-squirting, shit out, or shit on the dining room table.* Regular dictionaries just don’t cover the remarkable range of taboo vocabulary, nor should they.

For this we turn to specialist slang dictionaries. These do not shy from obscenity but embrace it in…

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Tbilisi, 1902

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9, 2017 by johnny haddo

Excavated Shellac

It was winter in the South Caucasus, and an American recording engineer in his mid-20s named William Sinkler Darby was on the road.

Darby was already a pioneer in that fledgling industry, having worked in Emile Berliner’s studio in Washington, DC, in the mid-1890s. After arriving in London in 1899 to meet his former colleague at Berliner, Fred Gaisberg, and to help establish the soon-to-be massive Gramophone Company, Darby would begin an itinerant lifestyle that would take him across multiple continents in just a few years – rarely, it seems, with the time to look back. The market for sound recordings was beginning to explode.

He began traveling long distances by rail as Gaisberg’s steadfast companion and assistant, demonstrating the new gramophone and recording artists across Europe. Within a short time, they’d recorded in Leipzig, Budapest, Vienna, Milan, Paris, Madrid, Valencia, Glasgow, Belfast, and Cardiff. By 1901, Darby started to…

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Forgotten buildings: the tower at the top of the hill

Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2017 by johnny haddo

the Napoleon of Notting Hill, eh_

The Library Time Machine

Grand Junction Water Works Company Campden Hill 1857 628.14 CAM

For the Victorians the movement of water around London whether for drinking, bathing or washing sewage away was much more than a simple utilitarian process. It was one of the pinnacles of new technology, and an essential part of the growth of civilisation. The mastery of flowing water was one of the great skills of urban living. So the buildings and structures associated with it whether below or above ground were subject to the same aesthetic principles as any other grand public building. Hence the impressive Italianate tower above which stood at the peak of Campden Hill and dominated the local skyline for more than a hundred years. You saw it first in the Towers of Kensington post but as I looked deeper I found quite a few pictures illustrating the tower’s rise and fall.

The Grand Junction Water Works Company acquired the site in 1843 in order to build…

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