A Trip to Piccadilly Circus.
Bobby… “We are going to a circus!”
Bertie… “Wow… All that colour, lights, fun, clowns. You would make a good clown Bobby. You’re good at falling over…”
Bobby… “Thank you. I’ve been called a clown many times. Usually derogatory. Anyway, not that sort of circus. We are going to Piccadilly Circus. They turned the lights out. Here is how they looked at Christmas.
If you don’t know, a “Circus” is a circular meeting of Roads as well as Zippo, Coco and the rest. Shaftesbury Avenue spoiled the circle at Piccadilly when it was added later. Anyway, they have turned the lights off. For months. The most famous lights in the world some say. Others argue that Times Square in New York has that accolade.
In the old days they were neon. Here are some pictures from 1962 on Bobby’s first camera. A Kodak Retinette 1b.
For those who love the old films “Look At Life” has some gems. See if you can see the mistakes though. This is London 1967. When Bobby was a lad.
Nowadays digital. LED. Some prefer neon. See later. Whatever you prefer, the firm that owns them is to update them to the latest space age technology and dismantle them to do it. So they turned them off for months. For the time being it’s very odd. But to be honest, we love the station entrances. Particularly in the rain. After dark.
It’s a very unusual station. All of it underground. Just below the road is another world. A world of Art Deco, and now a wonderful new memorial to Frank Pick.”
Bertie… “Who was he?”
Bobby… “Have a look at the board on the wall. He created the images and styles for London Transport that we all take for granted. One famous the world over. Truly iconic.
If you still yearn for neon, you could go to God’s Own Junkyard.
My photographer friend Kat did just that and sent me some photos for this blog. Thanks Kat.
And, of course there’s him. You probably know him as Eros. The God of Love. He is, in fact the Angel of Christian Charity. The Greek God Anteros
The brother of Eros. The whole feature being the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain to commemorate the philanthropic works of Lord Shaftesbury. A
Victorian social reformer. The statue itself is, unusually, made of aluminium. Regularly being boxed in for protection. New Years Eve and so on.
And Bobby was a clown once. Percy. The Road Safety Clown, when he worked for the Highways Agency and helped to run show stands at big events. A time when the job was fun before austerity took over.
Here’s Percy. His owner Louis. Bobby’s entertainer friend, who brought the clown to the shows as the Road Safety Clown. And Jasmine. Just six then in 2004. Now a mum to our great grandson Jay. And Bobby inside the inflated clown looking through the buttons. Seriously windy and very hot
inside. Percy that is…
Lighting a Candle for Diddley.
I was on the top of a 341 bus going down Fleet Street. The sign on the church said “open”. And so I found myself in St Dunstan in the West. A church of somewhat tardis like octagonal interior, given its outside. Lighting a Candle is giving me opportunities I could never have dreamed of. A church
like St Dunstan in the West deserves an entire blog. Instead, I sat there and thought about why I was sitting in peace just a few yards from the famous busy London Street. Impressed by the fact that the church is famous for its magnificent clock outside. The Clock and the Giants 1671. The first public clock in London to have a minute hand. As well as being an Anglican church, it is also home to the Romanian Orthodox church in London. For more read: www.stdunstaninthewest.org