Over the years I’ve spent a good deal of time sat in Newcastle Central Station. Time normally spent waiting for a train to return me back to the flatlands. Today I visited the station as a destination rather than a point on my route home.
Not to take part in the noble art of trainspotting, but to listen to The Station – sound recordist Chris Watson’s twenty-four hour soundscape of Newcastle upon Tyne’s Central Station.
And here’s four fairly low quality recordings I made whilst I was there. It seems Mr Watson need not worry unduly about me encroaching on his territory, for the moment at least.
Filed under: Sounds, Travel | Leave a Comment
Tags: BBC Radio 4, Central Station, Chris Watson, Field Recordings, Newcastle Upon Tyne
The more things change, the more things stay the same.
A short exercise in time travel. Beginning above, on the 29th November 2008, and finishing below, on the 30th November 2013.
And yes my brain does indeed ”hurt like a warehouse”*.
*Which will mean something to some of you, and nothing to most of you.
Filed under: Travel, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
I’ve already mentioned the mighty fine ‘Concretopia – A Journey around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain’ by Mr John Grindrod elsewhere, but as yesterday was the official publication day it seems only right to give it another plug.
And for those lucky enough to reside in our capital city, yesterday also saw John being interviewed by Robert Elms on BBC London 94.9. Mr Elms was in terrifically effusive form, and was both knowledgable and interested in the subject, this coupled with John’s ability to drop the term ‘frou-frou’ into the conversation made for a enormously enjoyable listen.
Filed under: Architecture, Books | Leave a Comment
Tags: Concretopia, John Grindrod
More books for you.
The first is ‘Mapping The Roads’, a handsome book from Mike Parker on, perhaps unsurprisingly, the history of the mapping of Britain’s roads – which as a man moderately obsessed with the world of cartography was always going to be of interest to me. It’s a hugely thorough and beautifully illustrated affair starting at the very beginning with Matthew Paris’s 13th-century map of Britain and somewhat inevitably ending with the work of everyone’s favourite financially evasive multinational corporation specialising in internet related services and products. Coincidentally on the day the book arrived the episode below, from Mike’s Radio 4 On The Map series (originally broadcast in 2010), was being repeated – I’m sure if you all go out and buy a copy of his book he won’t mind me borrowing (and you listening) to this. (The programme also features Joe Moran whose book On Roads is well worth investigating further too.)
And the other is ‘Watford Gap – The First Motorway Service Station’, the latest book from Sam Mellish, whose previous publication ‘Roadside Britain’ was very well received at Weir HQ.
Watford Gap is an “intimate study of the myriad different people who pass through the doors” of the service station that opened on 2 November 1959. From Jonathan Germaney “On leave to see the girlfriend for a few days”, to Lillian Montague who’d “Broken down with her son awaiting the AA to come to the rescue”, to Pat Doherty who when photographed by Sam was “celebrating a silver medal at the British barbershop singing competition”. As well as the portraits of Jonathan, Lillian, Pat and others the book also begins with a prologue (naturally) from poet David Harsent and finishes with some ‘archival works’ from Martin Parr when he photographed a very different looking set of people and surroundings at the Blue Boar, Watford Gap’s name back in 1982.
Filed under: Books, Roads, Travel | Leave a Comment
The coastal fringes of Norfolk aren’t where you’d perhaps expect to find the “world’s very first new brutalist building” designed by “two of the most controversial figures in modern British architecture, Peter and Alison Smithson”, however despite your expectations that’s what you would find.
Hunstanton Secretary Modern as it was originally named (somewhat coincidentally it’s now called Smithdon High School and not because of some kind of typographical accident) is not only a hugely significant modern building, but also the place where I went to school. Which in turn is why Mr John Grindrod, author of the just published ‘Concretopia – A Journey around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain’ spoke to me earlier this year.
I assumed that despite John’s best efforts my attempts to be both erudite and informed about the time I spent in this Grade II listed building would end up on the cutting room floor (or whatever the literary equivalent is). This has proved not to be the case, which I have to admit to being inordinately made up by. Not wholly because of the vanity of seeing my name in print (although that’s nice) but more by the fact that it appears in such illustrious company.
I’ve only had the book for less than a day so haven’t had the chance to read it from cover to cover, but the bits I have seen are very good indeed and suggest that when I do have the time to read further I won’t be disappointed.
Filed under: Architecture, Books | Leave a Comment
Tags: Alison Smithson, Concretopia, Hunstanton Secretary Modern, John Grindrod, Peter Smithson, Smithdon High School
The second overseas trip this year.
The first was an afternoon spent on Inner Farne in May which I’m reliably informed sits at 1 to 4 miles off the mainland, so given the success of the first excursion we decided to extend our range a little and spent a whole week on the Isle of Wight, sitting an impressive 3 to 4 miles into the English Channel.
And whilst the arduous journey across the water might very well put some people off I can confirm that it’s well worth the effort.
Filed under: The Seaside, Travel | Leave a Comment
Tags: Isle of Wight, The Needles