Jan. 4th, 2015

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London Transport Museum Depot
Sam Feder at BFI Flare Showing of 'Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger'

So, if you live in London or come to London on a day out and want somewhere to visit and you have at least a passing interest in transport history then I can heartily recommend the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. It's fascinating, it's not very expensive, indeed it's only real disadvantage is that it is in Covent cocking Garden, one of the parts of London that have evolved purely to be extremely fucking annoying to Londoners if they have to visit it. Honestly, Tavistock Street, then Tavistock Court, then a hard right and then you can be in with a minimum of having to fuss about with dodging dullards tripping over the cobblestones. However, if you look at the London Transport Museum website for events you'll see that a couple of times a year they open their depot at Acton for the public to visit. From my minimal visits, admittedly to go to Gunnersbury Park, which I recommend because it's a lovely park, Acton seems like a nice enough place. The L.T.M. Depot is bizarre. It's Slimelight for trainspotters. It's literally a huge shed in which the L.T.M. keep all the crap they don't want to display at Covent Garden. It's also just a big warehouse so you're walking around interesting looking tunnelling equipment or control boards from seventies underground junction boxes with none of the signs you would get in a museum explaining what they do and no staff on hand to ask. What you do get, or what I got on my visit was a large crowd of men who looked to be either approaching or rocketing past retirement age all trying to sell their old videos about trains. Not DVDs, videos. Taking up about half of the back of the warehouse were a number of underground train compartments which looked as though they were there because the L.T.M. had managed to get their hands on them when they were decommissioned rather than any particular design merit (although to be fair, who can judge that?). There were also buses from the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, some of which I would see again later on in the year on Regent Street, and this time in some sort of order! The thing that interested me most was the little gallery stuffed with signs and posters and information from stations. Again, if this were not just the L.T.M. shed then someone might have ordered these in some way so that people could see the evolution of London Transport's design aesthetic. Instead it was just a random collection of stuff.

I've managed to go to the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, as was, twice. It's my own fault, I'm not one for buying tickets randomly just to see what I get so invariably when I find out about a film that I'd like to see all the tickets are long gone. This year, thanks to a friend, I got to see Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger which was a delight. I'm a big fan. It's a shame that the arts did so much to push queer culture out there when it was still outlawed and yet now we're in a situation where there is more freedom for people who love one another to have that relationship recognised and yet the culture is now lagging behind. Most of these films, pretty much all of them, never get a wider release and if you miss seeing it here then it's likely you'll never get another chance to see it.
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Second-Hand Singer Sewing Machine, Brixton Hill

Tancre's Observation Device and Calculator by John 'Major Tinker' Naylor, 'Longitude Punk'd', Royal Observatory Greenwich


Earlier this year I took a strange and powerful dislike to walking places where I had been before. Maybe it was some lingering remnant from the several years I spent walking London's streets, then I could pretty much guarantee that even if the area I was walking through was not particularly pretty it would at least be somewhere I had not seen before. This led to some strange expeditions such as walking from Peckham to Brockwell Park, then to Brixton Hill and eventually onwards to Tooting Bec Common, after doing a circuit of which I came home via Balham station which meant I went past the Bedford, somewhere I had visited many times but only to be part of the audience for recordings of the Mark Thomas Comedy Product in the very late 90s. The top photo was taken outside a junk shop on Brixton Hill. I have no idea whether this machine actually worked but if it did then I hope the shopkeeper took enough care of it and that it came to find another home.

Yeah, it's a cheat but for my second photo from this month I'm going back to Longitude Punk'd and would direct anyone interested to my previous review. Later in the year I went to the National Maritime Museum down the hill which was doing a 'proper' exhibition on longitude which I much preferred.

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