Sculptor Emily Young

My favourite retreat in St. James’s at the moment is the Southwood Garden next to St. James’s Church, Piccadilly, because Emily Young’s sculptures are there, until January 2018.  The garden is always deep shady green and restful, but now it is framed by silent stone heads with flowing hair, and they look as old as eternity and, in their striated …

Harland Miller

Fill giant white walls with bright colours and big words on painted book covers and I’m hooked.  Like most people, I’ve probably come across Harland Miller’s work in the past but paid more attention to the faux Penguin book titles than the artist’s name.  But then Miller has also liked to style himself as “International Lonely Guy” and that man …

Richard and Maria Cosway

 The story of the London public’s initial exposures to art is a crazy, odd one that I’m still exploring, and on this exploration I’ve come across an intriguing artistic couple, Richard Cosway (1742-1821) and Maria Cosway (1760-1838).  Richard Cosway was Britain’s first and one-and-only superstar celebrity miniaturist.  He was considered an overdressed “Macaroni”, and could be often sighted in a …

Retail Love

Last Friday I was in Jermyn Street earlier than usual because, rather than arriving in time   for the late afternoon tours of the street I have recently started giving, I had an appointment to take a tour with the archivist of Fortnum and Mason, Dr. Andrea Tanner.  I wound up learning more than I expected from this tour, not just …

This Tour Guide Can’t Stop Researching

I am really delighted and excited at present, and a little overwhelmed, because this odd street tour of mine is becoming ever so surely a grand passion.  I just feel it.  I’ve given three tours now of Jermyn Street, each one so different, and none of them allowing time to say all that I’ve learned, each one throwing up new …

Jermyn Street History

I have this idea — not original, not new, but still, an idea that feels so deeply my own that I can’t shake it and have to act on it.  Yet I’ve had the idea for over eight months and am only now getting around to clearing the decks and saying to myself, “It matters enough to you to do …

Pinter on too much communication

On Friday for the fifth time during this production run of Harold Pinter’s Dumb Waiter at The Print Room, I read my favourite bits from a speech Pinter delivered in 1962 in Bristol at the National Student Drama Festival, and I heard some wonderful woman grunt in agreement after the final sentence — which made me feel that supreme sensation …

Geraldine Alexander’s new play, AMYGDALA

I have had a heady autumn dealing with four plays by four great male playwrights, two dead (Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter), two very much living (Steven Berkoff and David Pinner).  And now the season is closing with a play by a relatively unknown, new playwright, Geraldine Alexander, and I find myself more excited about this play than any of …

London council estates and London history

I visited a youth club on a council estate in central London last night.  I went because I wanted to see if I could interest a few young people in this crazy Newton Circle Project I’m trying to  push.  I knew almost nothing about the estate, about the drugs and knife crime and the youth unemployment —

David Pinner and his Russian Plays

We had a good pre-show discussion with David Pinner at Getti on Wednesday night, and he pricked interest with comments that a few decades ago would have got people fairly worked up —  about Communists infiltrating the the Labour Party in the 1970s, about him not being able to produce his play on Stalin at the