SALON NO. 18: GRAFFITI CITY

Painting the Town - On the Town

6.30pm July 31st 2014

Westminster Arts Library
35 St Martins Street
London WC1 


Admission: By Advance Ticket Only from: WeGotTickets


Is London a giant canvas upon which we project our own images of it?  Whereas June's Salon investigated the way the capital has been depicted in imagined settings, this month Ingrid Beazley and David Speed take us on a tour of the ways urban artists have painted the town red (and blue, green, silver, gold plus a whole range of dayglo colours..). Practising London street artist Barney Clarke will paint a personal picture.

A soundtrack for the city will be provided by The Clerkenwell Kid.


An extraordinary art experiment has taken place in the quiet London suburb of Dulwich over the last two years. In 2012 our first speaker, Ingrid Beazley of the Dulwich Picture gallery, initiated a project with international graffiti artist Stik to reinterpret 18th C. old masters from the gallery's collection on the streets of the area.  

In 2013, more international stars of the street art scene including ROA, Nunca, Remi Rough and System, Reka One and MadC joined in. Ingrid will talk about the project's impact on the local community and the "Arthouse" created by Street Art London, which saw a suburban house completely painted over by the artists. She will describe how their work aims to alter ideas about what constitutes art and has spawned "The Baroque Streets Art Festival" - turning leafy Dulwich into an unlikely must-see venue for quality urban art. 

Many of us still perceive Graffiti art as an underground and perhaps illegal practice, tolerated in certain areas such as the South Bank or as part of well meaning youth programs. But our second guest David Speed of Graffiti Lifea bespoke graffiti company, will spray paint all over that notion. 

David was active in illegal painting in a five year period between 1999 and 2004.  He will trace the evolution of London street art from its beginnings as a response to social dystopia through its transformation into a radical alternative to mainstream gallery art. But with its current eminently bankable status, can it continue to retain its energy and power to transform and subvert the city streets?

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Ingrid Beazley is a teacher. She has worked in the education department of Dulwich Picture Gallery, England’s oldest public art gallery, for over 15 years. Her book "Street Art Fine Art", documents the creation of the Dulwich street art project , linking it to art from the past and positioning it in the continuum of art history.    

David Speed is director of Graffiti Life, a bespoke graffiti company that offers live art entertainment and graffiti team-building as well as wall murals. David runs the The Graffiti Life Gallery, an independent, artist-run gallery in Shoreditch, which displays works by individuals with backgrounds in graffiti and street art. 

Barney Clarke was born in Hackney and became a child actor at the age of eight, playing the title role in Roman Polanski's 2005 version of Oliver Twist.


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SALON FOR THE CITY is an ANTIQUE BEAT production sponsored by HENDRICKS


SALON NO. 17: IMAGINARY LONDON

The City in comics and graphic novels

6.30pm June 26th 2014

Westminster Arts Library
35 St Martins Street

London WC1 

Admission: THIS  EVENT IS SOLD OUT


Most of the uncountable images of London have something fantastical about them - whether it be the earliest crazy birdseye panoramas of the 17th Century, Gustave Dores's gothic documentary engravings or the aspirational chimeras of the current crop of property developers. But Salon No 17. brings together two imaginary friends: writer and comic historian Paul Gravett and pre-eminent graphic artist Dave McKeanto illuminate the realities of the truly imagined city.



First up, writer Paul Gravett co-curator of the current extraordinary exhibition 'Comics Unmasked' at The British Library will take us time-travelling through the history of comics, graphic novels and manga to explore and explain the myriad portrayals of the capital. These range from the Roman Londinium of Asterix and the fear-filled Victorian streets of Jack the Ripper to the futuristic visions of flooded Drowntown and chaotic Brit-Cit of Judge Dredd. Paul's illustrated talk will embrace both the fantastical and the documentary, and both British and international creators. London emerges through these writers and artists not only as a vibrant backdrop but as a compelling character in its own right.

Then we are very pleased to welcome Dave McKean to the Salon. Described by his collaborator Neil Gaiman as 'the most artistically talented person I had ever encountered', Dave is an illustrator, photographer, comic book artist, graphic designer, filmmaker and musician. His work incorporates drawing, collage, painting, found objects, photography, digital art and sculpture. His collaborations with Gaiman on works such as Coraline and Sandman plus countless CD and book covers have inspired many other artists and writers. Dave will discuss London in his work including his collaboration with writer Iain Sinclair on "Slow Chocolate Autopsy" And to conclude, we may have the pleasure of a short audiovisual musical performance..

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Paul Gravett is a London based international writer, lecturer, curator, festival director specialising in comics and the publisher of several graphic novels. His writings appear in The Guardian, The Independent, The Times Literary Supplement, ArtReview and Comic Heroes amongst others. His latest books are 'Comics Art' and 'Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK' co-written with John Harris Dunning. The related exhibition 'Comics Unmasked' at The British Library till August 19th is the largest ever staged about British comics.

Dave McKean is an award-winning illustrator whose comics include Arkham Asylum, Signal to Noise and Mr. Punch; a film maker whose works include N[eon) and MirrorMask; a designer of CD covers for artists such as Tori Amos, Counting Crows and Alice Cooper,an artistic director for ad campaigns including Nike and Smirnoff; an accomplished pianist, composer and an all round good guy.

SALON NO. 16: LONDON CHRONICLERS

A Day in the Lives of London

6.30pm May 29th 2014

Westminster Arts Library
35 St Martins Street

London WC1 

Admission: THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT


There have been many London diarists - there has been a lot to record: coronations and executions, elections, riots and zeppelin raids, duels, dust-ups and drunken sprees and countless everyday human moments. But what stirs some souls to pick up a pen and record their London life every day?  Salon alumni Dr Matthew Green  and Travis Elborough chronicle the art of urban journal.

A soundtrack for the city will be provided by The Clerkenwell Kid.


                                                        Samuel Pepys, Alan Bennet, Virginia Woolf, James Boswell are amongst those who have recorded themselves into history. Writer Travis Elborough spent two years reading their journals, diaries and letters and those of over 200 others to prepare a record of his own: A London Year. The book is a day-by-day anthology of short entries, one or more for each day of the year which taken together, provide a portrait of life in the city from Tudor times to the twenty-first century. 

Bringing the entries alive with the help of actors, Travis will vividly evoke moments in the lives of Londoners past, providing snapshots of the city’s inhabitants at work, at play, in pursuit of money, sex, pleasure and power.  Did the writers have anything in common? In what ways do they, or we, benefit from their obsessive recollecting? And what does it take to keep a journal year after year? Travis elaborates.

              Exquisitely judgmental yet chronically shy, fired by ambition yet lacerated with self-doubt, snooty though a quivering jelly in the company of the fairer sex, Dudley Ryder a 23-year old law student from Hackney (and the greatest 18th century diarist you’ve probably never heard of) seems, in all his contradictions, quintessentially modern.

Dr Matthew Green gives us twenty five minutes in the company of this social chameleon who was always ready to adopt different guises to fit the social mood but who entrusted his ‘true’, darker personality to the leaves of his diary. As the Thames freezes over and lurid reports from the battlefields of the North whizz through the city, Matthew and Dudley will be our guides as we are ‘frigged’ by prostitutes in the dark nooks of Fleet Street, guzzle ale and jig in Hanoverian mug houses, watch beheadings on Tower Hill, skate on the New River, and sip ‘bitter Muhammedan gruel’ in smoky coffeehouses before retiring to our chambers in the Temple to read Ovid and Quintilian.
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Matthew will tell how on reading the 2,000-page manuscript of Dudley's diary, it beggars belief that he has slipped through the fingers of history. In its evocations of London when it was probably the most exciting place on earth, it is a brilliant successor to Samuel Pepys’s more famous chronicle.

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Travis Elborough has been a freelance writer, author and cultural commentator for the last decade. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian, The Times, Sunday Times, New Statesman, the Oldie, Tate etc and frequently appears on BBC Radios 2, 4 and 5 Live. Previously to "A LONDON YEAR", Travis has published four acclaimed books: "The Bus We Loved", a history of the Routemaster bus; "The Long Player Goodbye", a paean to the vinyl record;"Wish You Were Here", a survey of the British beside the sea last year's'London Bridge in America'.


Dr Matthew Green graduated from Oxford University in 2011 with a PhD in the impact of the mass media in 18th-century London. Disheartened with academia, he now works across a range of media striving to bring history to life. He is the co-founder of Unreal City Audio, leading immersive, critically-acclaimed tours of historic London as live events, audio downloads and apps. He is currently writing A Time Traveller’s Guide To London, to be published by Penguin in early 2015. He writes for the Telegraph and Guardian.
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LONDON AT THE LIBRARY is an ANTIQUE BEAT production sponsored by HENDRICKS

SALON NO. 15: LONDON PSYCHE

London Women on the edge of a nervous breakthrough.

6.30pm April 24th 2014

Westminster Arts Library
35 St Martins Street

London WC1 

Admission: THIS SALON IS NOW SOLD OUT


The occult history of London is often told by men as a story of men. But in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded at 17 Fitzroy Street, women held equal status and were some of the most interesting and influential members. SALON NO. 15: LONDON PSYCHE brings together occultist Caroline Wise and Strange Attractor curator Mark Pilkington to offer glimpses into the largely unknown magical world of London in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

A soundtrack for the city will be provided by The Clerkenwell Kid.



Florence Farr was initiated into London's Isis-Urania Temple of the Order of the Golden Dawn by the Irish poet Yeats in July 1890. A remarkable first wave feminist, successful actress, theatre producer, mistress of George Bernard Shaw and social activist, she became High Priestess of the temple in 1894.

Occult historian Caroline Wise will join us to tell Florence's story and those of some of the other turn-of-the-century London women involved in the capital's magical revival, women who along with their radical predecessors, attempted to bring about radical changes to society.  They included actresses and authors, heiresses and artists, members of the Bohemian free-thinkers and a psychologist who presented rites of Isis and Pan in a Presbyterian Church in Belgravia. 

When the occult Order of the Golden Dawn declined, it was succeeded by others including The Theosophical Society whose public lectures were attended by one Ethel Le Rossignol. Between 1920 and 1933 Ethel created 44 paintings, a 'series of psychic drawings given through her hand as an assurance of survival after death', identifying herself only as the medium and a spirit known as 'J.P.F' as the actual artist. The paintings reveal a world of pure light, colour and energy with aspects of Art Deco, popular playbills, Eastern mysticism and miniatures. They radiate an ecstatic joy and are prescient of the psychedelic art that would emerge in London several decades later.

Strange Attractor's Mark Pilkington  will talk about "A Goodly Company", the amazing series of paintings by Ethel held in the archives of London's College of Psychic Studies (where she had bequeathed them), on display in various rooms but largely forgotten. Mark recently curated the recent extraordinary exhibition at The Horse Hospital that brought together 21 of her deeply strange works in one space for the first time.

He will relate the little that is known of Ethel’s London life based on the clues left in her writing and trace the interest in mediumistic spiritualism she developed through her psychic studies in the London of the 1920s.  He will show images of a selection of the paintings and read extracts from Ethel's book 'A Goodly Company'




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MARK PILKINGTON is the founder and curator of Strange Attractor who have carved out a unique cross-media platform for authors, anthropologists, historians, scientists, sorcerers, artists, film-makers and musicians since 2001. Strange Attractor Press have published four anthologies, Phil Baker's biography of Austin Osman Spare, the  Wellcome Trust's 'Medical London', Mike Jay's 'The Influencing Machine', 'London's Lost Rivers' by Tom Bolton and 'Trip or Squeek' by Savage Pencil.

CAROLINE WISE has worked at Psychic Press, publisher of the Spiritualist paper Psychic News, and as  publisher at the renowned London secondhand book company Skoob Books. She is a former owner of the famous occult Atlantis Bookshop, a founder member of The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP). In 1993 she revived and produced the 1901 Egyptian-magic themed plays of the actress and Theosophist Florence Farr at the Rudolf Steiner Theatre. She leads walks on Legendary London.
 
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LONDON AT THE LIBRARY is an ANTIQUE BEAT production sponsored by HENDRICKS

SALON NO. 14: THE MYTH OF 'THE CITY'

6.30pm March 27th 2014

Westminster Arts Library
35 St Martins Street

London WC1 

Admission: THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT


The ancient district known as "The Square Mile" whilst only a small physical part of contemporary London projects a gigantic, international image. But it remains rather mysterious to most who don't work there. Salon No 14: The Myth of 'The City' brings together satirist Russell Taylor and economist Professor Andrew Scott to investigate the contrasts of this most peculiar London combination of history, money and myth - from within and from without.

A soundtrack for the city will be provided by The Clerkenwell Kid.


The Citythe financial district of London, built upon the square mile of the original Roman Londinium in time became a sort of English, commercial version of the Roman Vatican as the metropolis developed around it.  Despite having a residential population of less than 7000, it holds city status in its own right with its own cathedral and police force. It is a separate ceremonial county with a worldwide constituency. 

Professor Andrew Scott of the London Business School will explain The City's development from its Mediaeval origins into today's global financial hub and the world's greatest foreign exchange market. During a long and distinguished history it has continued to grow, mutate and extend itself both geographically and in terms of influence. But will it continue to do so?  


The City is often touted as one of the great British success stories although it has always been dependent on foreign talent and exchange. But is it an essential asset for the UK, the powerhouse of our economy or a global intruder separating London from the rest of the country and the home of avaricious, selfish bankers? 


Following the crash of 2008, the bankers seemed briefly to be on the back foot. But it seems business as usual has been resumed and the politicians have left any critique to the satirists.  So we will be joined by Russell Taylorco-author of the Alex cartoon, whose satire gives a privates glimpse inside this secretive shiny world of high finance. 

Russell works with a variety of London insiders to ensure the Alex cartoon reflects the scandals and rumours inside The City.  And he will chart a more recent history - one in which a very English and relatively sedate world of conservative stock brokers was replaced by a global coterie of high octane international financiers.  With them came more visible changes - new iconic buildings such as The Shard and The Gherkin, new potential, new risks and new profound - and comic - opportunities.


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Andrew Scott is Professor of Economics and Deputy Dean at London Business School and a Fellow of All Souls Oxford and the Centre for Economic Policy Research.  He has taught at Harvard and Oxford.


Russell Taylor MBE is a British writer, journalist and film music composer. In addition to the Alex cartoons, he has  written books on Russia and marathon running. Alex cartoon was turned into a stage play and is rumoured to be in production as a film.

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LONDON AT THE LIBRARY is an ANTIQUE BEAT production sponsored by HENDRICKS

SALON NO. 13: WALKING THE CITY

6.30pm February 27th 2014

Westminster Arts Library
35 St Martins Street

London WC1
Admission: The Salon is now Sold Out


For writers such as Dickens and Blake, walking London was an essential part of their creative process. More recently, Will Self and Iain Sinclair have described it as a 'psycho-geographical' activity. Salon No.13: Walking The City will explore the magical potential of urban perambulation with readings, anecdotes and images.

A soundtrack for the city will be provided by The Clerkenwell Kid.


"Toni and I were strolling along Oxford Street, trying to look like flaneurs. This wasn’t as easy as it might sound. For a start, you usually need a quai, or at the very least, a boulevard. In Paris you would be leaving behind some rumpled couch in a chamber particuliere; over here we had just left behind Tottenham Court Road.." (Julian Barnes, Metroland)

Our first guest Duncan Minshull writer, walker and producer of BBC's Book of the Week will talk about the art of the urban walk, referring to works from various authors who have recorded their excursions along, yes, Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, but also along brighter - and darker - London streets. For London has always been walked. Often for reasons that are basic and barely examined – to save money, for lack of an alternative,  for physical exercise. But Duncan will tell that there are other less obvious reasons too, reasons that are altogether more interesting and complicated. The city is walked to satisfy creative, psychological and even spiritual needs. And the impulse to set off and set out has been caught in various novels, travelogues and memoirs through the centuries.
 
Then author Melissa Harrison will read from her novel Clay,  which has at its core a series of memorable city outings: "A boy tiptoes from a high-rise block in the half-light of dawn to see the neat prints left by    a fox on the frosty grass. He is TC, eight years old and skipping school to spend his time exploring the city’s waste ground and forgotten wild corners. At school and at home he is barely missed.."

Whilst guided walks abound in the city, can we understand it and our own life in it by personal perambulations? Melissa and Duncan will discuss, share their strolling stories and provide some tips on re-imaging the city by foot.
Their readings and discussion will be accompanied by a selection of slides by Esoteric London blog photographer Roger Dean drawn from his recent book of its selected images. (Holloway Road shown here middle left)

"It is good to collect things, but better to go on walks" - Anatole France

“If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish.” - Charles Dickens



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Duncan Minshull is a senior producer at the BBC and editor of ‘The Vintage Book of Walking’ and ‘The Burning Leg’, 'Telling Stories','Fanfare: Fourteen Stories on a Musical theme' amonst others.  He walks to work.

Melissa Harrison a London writer and photographer blogs about urban wildlife at www.talesofthecity.co.uk. Her novel Clay was winner of the Portsmouth Fist Novel Prize. She was the winner of the John Muir Trust’s ‘Wild Writing’ Award in 2010. 

Roger Dean is the London based photographer behind the blog Esoteric London - where photographs of modern London are accompanied by informative and often humorous archival text to create a fond appraisal of the city.

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LONDON AT THE LIBRARY is an ANTIQUE BEAT production sponsored by HENDRICKS

SALON NO. 12: SEX IN THE CITY

6.30pm January 30th 2014

Westminster Arts Library
35 St Martins Street

London WC1

Admission: This Event is SOLD OUT

What is it about the small district of Soho that has made it such an intense collision of business, entertainment, history, bohemia and sleaze? What is a day in the life of a Soho sex worker like? The province of Bohemians, Italians, Maltese, Chinese, spivs, gangsters, pimps, prostitutes and most recently the gay community, it remains the London district most associated with 
sexual activity and is still controversial. Why? Salon Number 12: Sex in the City investigates.

A soundtrack for the city will be provided by The Clerkenwell Kid.

Soho diarist Clayton Littlewood will discuss the history and complexity of this small district, how from the 17th century it became a cultural melting pot and what led to it becoming so associated with the erotic life of London

Through video and images Clayton will describe the various transformations that have taken place, talking about The Windmill Theatre and The Raymond Revuebar in the 50s, the abundance of prostitutes, clip joints and ‘walk ups’ in the 60s, the commercialised sex scene of the 70 and the tightening of licensing controls in the 80s, until the gay scene took over in the 90s. 

Clayton will be joined by The Soho Hobo, singer-songwriter Tim Arnold whose grandfather worked with the legendary Paul Raymond, whose mother danced at The Windmill Theatre and whose first memory is 'the view from the stage door of the Queen's Theatre'

The talk will also draw on the famous characters associated with Soho, people like 19th Century cross-dressers Fanny and Stella, Oscar Wilde, murderer Dennis Nielsen and the sex scandals they’re associated with - as well as others associated with Soho’s seamier side: the flamboyant Quentin Crisp, the singer Marc Almond and Soho dandy Sebastian Horsley. Clayton will also share some personal stories of living and working below a brothel, befriending 'the girls upstairs’ and accompanying them to court to help them stay working. 

Will the recent gentrification of Soho result in the loss of an important, historical and cultural aspect of the city?Is the current 'clean up’ of Soho really needed? In December, hundreds of police descended on Soho premises with the intention of making the area a safer place to live, work and visit. But for who?

Cari Mitchell will join us to talk about these questions and to talk about the work of The English Collective of Prostitutes. The ECP, with Soho Working Girls, is currently spearheading a campaign against police closures of the Soho walk-up flats where women have traditionally been able to work in relative safety. According to the ECP, most of the women thrown out of premises were mothers and grandmothers working safely and collectively who have now lost their livelihood.  Support has come from many Soho residents and businesses who fear that if the “girls” go, Soho will become just another enclave for the super rich.

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Clayton Littlewood is the author of Gay Times Book of the Year  'Dirty White Boy: Tales of Soho' - a diary based on his personal experiences running the Soho Dirty White Boy clothes store.  Drawing comparisons with Pepys, Virginia Woolf and Christopher Isherwood,  the book developed from a cult blog and popular column in The London Paper into a play premiered at the Trafalgar Studios in 2009. In 2012, Clayton published a sequel, "Goodbye to Soho"

Tim Arnold  signed his first record deal with Sony as the front man of 90s Britpop band Jocasta, embarking on a successful career in the music business. He has released 14 albums, including the critically acclaimed "Secrets of Soho" currently being developed into a musical at The Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts.

Cari Mitchell is a spokeswoman for The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) – a network of women of different nationalities and backgrounds working in different areas of the sex industry.  Since 1975, the ECP has been providing daily support to sex workers and their families and campaigning for the decriminalisation of prostitution, for safety and for financial alternatives so that no one is forced into prostitution by poverty or violence.

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LONDON AT THE LIBRARY is an ANTIQUE BEAT production sponsored by HENDRICKS


SALON NO. 11: LONDON OPIATE - LOST LIMEHOUSE

6.30pm November 28th 2013

Westminster Arts Library

35 St Martins Street

London WC1

Admission: £4 / £7 By advance ticket only from WeGotTickets


Like many other London locales,the eastern district of Limehouse is becoming indistinguishable from adjacent neighbourhoods. But once its very name conjured up a particularly distinct image - even for those unfamiliar with the capital. For it was thought to be the home of the opium den and the malevolent Chinese opium dealer - the exotic bogeyman of the Victorian city imagined by its writers - Dickens, Wilde and Arthur Ward amongst them.

A soundtrack for the city will be provided by The Clerkenwell Kid.


At Salon No. 11, writer Phil Baker will consider Limehouse as a place of fabulous oriental menace, looking at anti-Chinese xenophobia and the myth of the East London opium dens. These intertwined anxieties and desires have their fullest flowering in the work of Sax Rohmer (the literary pseudonym of Arthur Ward), king of pulp exotica and creator of Doctor Fu Manchuthe yellow peril incarnate in one man. Despite Rohmer's claim that Fu Manchu was based on real Chinese figures he encountered during his time as a crime reporter, his work is now abhorred for its perpetration of racist stereotypes. 


However, writing in the tradition of Imperial Gothic and obsessed with both the contamination spreading back from the Empire and the allure of alien esoterica, Rohmer not only demonized the Chinese but idealised them. Phil will argue that his world is more complex than it first seems and that the diabolical Limehouse-based Doctor is, in fact, the hero of the series.

Then, Salon alumni and historian Tom Bolton will take us on a journey through the real Limehouse - from its beginnings as a pleasant riverside hamlet downwind of the City of London to its emergence as the capital's first ChinatownA neighbourhood adjacent to the river when London was the most important port in the world, it became an unparalleled cultural cross-roads, the home of immigrants, dockers, sex workers and sailors, a place associated with drugs, degenerates and exotic doings (plus other, unnamed evils) and one which fascinated the world.

Was this reputation based in truth? Did Limehouse even really exist as a defined place and if it did, are there any traces left in the spaces between the office blocks, council estates and pseudo-dockland apartments of London E14?

The Salon will herald next year's publication by Strange Attractor press of "Lord of Strange Deaths: The Fiendish World of Sax Rohmer" edited by Phil Baker and Anthony Clayton - a collection of essays by Alan Moore, Christopher Frayling and Clive Bloom amongst others.

-------------------------------------------------Phil Baker’s books include "Austin Osman Spare: The Life and Legend of London’s Lost Artist" and "The Devil Is a Gentleman: The Life and Times of Dennis Wheatley".

Tom Bolton has written "London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide" and is currently working on "London's Lost Places: Ten Forgotten Neighbourhoods", which will include chapters on Limehouse and its Chinatown.

LONDON AT THE LIBRARY is an ANTIQUE BEAT production sponsored by HENDRICKS



SALON NO. 10: A NIGHT IN OLD LONDON


6.30pm October 31st 2013

Westminster Arts Library

35 St Martins Street

London WC1

Admission: £4 / £7 THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT


After Salon No 9's glimpse into the future of London, SALON No 10: A NIGHT IN OLD LONDON travels back to the city of a century ago for a very special evening. With extraordinary unseen images and in conversation, story and song will be the Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life, London ballad singer Henrietta Keeper and pianist and boxer David Power.

A soundtrack for the city will be provided by The Clerkenwell Kid.


The Gentle Author, curator of one of the capital's most extraordinary and well-loved blogs Spitalfields Life will present a selection of Magic Lantern slides showing London a hundred years ago. Drawn from the collection of the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society and unseen for generations, these magnificent images conjure up a distant yet immediately recognisable city of fog & smogs. The Gentle Author will tell some of the stories connected with the images, join in conversation with his guests and will be accompanied by David Power at the piano.

David Power, 84, a musical prodigy from the age of five was shut out from the musical establishment because of his class background but performed around the world in the British army, on Thames pleasure boats and in the Lyons Corner House, Piccadilly.  He worked in the Spitalfields Market in the nineteen-forties selling nuts, was a boxer and a black taxi driver and still performs a repertoire of classical, London based and improvised music

Songs will be performed by Henrietta Keeper, a thirty year stalwart and the last surviving member of the the Tate & Lyle Concert Party. Henrietta still performs every Friday afternoon at E.Pellcci in Bethnal Green, singing songs taught to her by her grandfather - a living link to a lost London musical culture.

The Salon will mark the publication of The Gentle Author's London Album, a magnificent hardback with more than 600 pictures of London appearing in print for the first time including the ostentatious trade cards of Georgian London, breathtaking lantern slides of Victorian London, images of bizarre car crashes in Clerkenwell, heroic Spitalfields nippers, the soulful dogs of old London, Barn the Spoon, the spoon carver, and Aaron Biber, London’s oldest barber..


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Drawing comparisons with Pepys, Mayhew and Dickens, The Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life has gained an extraordinary following in recent years, by writing hundreds of lively pen portraits of the infinite variety of people who live and work in the East End of London.

LONDON AT THE LIBRARY is an ANTIQUE BEAT production sponsored by HENDRICKS


SALON NO. 9: LONDON FUTURES


6.30pm September 26 2013

Westminster Arts Library

35 St Martins Street

London WC1

Admission: £4 / £6 
by advance ticket only from WEGOTICKETS


What is a city? The Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki once described it as 'a cross section of all the journeys ever taken in it'We know somethings about London's past and we live in its present but what can we guess or imagine of its future? From bizarre utopian fantasies to drab Soviet-esque five year plans, many attempts have been made to forecast, or design, what London will become.

SALON No 9: LONDON FUTURES brings together Salon alumni Matt Brown of Londonist and London strategist Andrew Collinge to peer into a crystal ball, discuss some of the visions that Londoners have had, and have, for their city 
and perhaps make one or two predictions of their own..

A soundtrack for the city will be provided by The Clerkenwell Kid.

We shall start with the past by going Back to the Future -  what did the Londoners of yesteryear think the London of tomorrow would look like? From flying cars to sushi bars and the terrifying prospect of women in trousers, Matt Brown editor of Londonist has scoured the archives to uncover and some of the past predictions, fears and imaginary scenarios created by our Victorian and Edwardian London forbears.

Fast forwarding through the years, Matt will describe some fantasies of London in the year 2100.  What will our city look like at the end of this century? Flooded and abandoned? A forest of super-skyscrapers? A verdant realm of trees, parks and hanging gardens? Will it even still be a city or more an international city-state floating free from the rest of UK? 


Meanwhile back in the present, London is at a crossroads says Andrew Collinge. It is undergoing unprecedented changes in population, economics, and ideas. To maintain its global position it needs to adapt. To that end the GLA have published a new vision for the capital - London 2020 -  an ambitious plan to make it 'The Greatest City on Earth' with a neo-Victorian surge of investment in transport, a cycling revolution, the education needed to win a share of global growth, new neighbourhoods and vibrant, safe, green centres and streets bustling with life..

Andrew will describe how such a vision is developed and why -and how it might be implemented and he will offer his individual take on the city as it is and how it could be.  Can it be steered or do we just try to manage its autonomous changes? Are visions made for aspiration and or are they intended to be made real?



Image by Maju Sivaraja

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Matt Brown is the editor of Londonist, London's pre-eminent city guide. An obsessive historian and archivist of the culture of the capital,he has written over 5,000 articles about all aspects of London life. He  hosts regular meetings of the London Historians and a variety of London events in venues including the Royal Institution, the Hunterian, Boxpark, Leicester Square Theatre and the Emirates Stadium.

Andrew Collinge is the assistant director of Intelligence and Analysis at the 
Greater London Authority . He is an analyst thinker, strategist and one of the principal thinkers behind the - London 2020 - and the London super connected cities proposal.

LONDON AT THE LIBRARY is an ANTIQUE BEAT production sponsored by HENDRICKS