ALAN FREW

Musician. Author. Speaker.

GOOD MORNING LONDON

 Slept until around 11a.m. London time. Could have slept even longer after my long journey but up I got. Showered and dressed, we all made contact with each other and it was decided that four of us were going to head off together on an excursion. Joe (sound & road managing), Carm (background vocals), Russell (guitars) & yours truly all met in the lobby around noon and off we went.

 This’ll get ya where ya need to go.  

This’ll get ya where ya need to go.  

The first line of business was to figure out the subway system, or as they call it here....the tube. It’s all a bit daunting at first but once ya get the hang of it, and get your “Oyster Card” lol, it’s a breeze.


Simply put, the rapid transit system, “The Underground” in London is enormous. A system which began operation 155 years ago, in 1863!!! Think about THAT train ride!! It’s daily ridership is 5 million, giving it an annual ridership of 1.379 billion! It has 270 stations and 11 different transit lines.

 

 Air Raid Shelter.  

Air Raid Shelter.  

During World War ll, many tube stations were used as air-raid shelters. On 3 March 1943, a test of the air-raid warning sirens, together with the firing of a new type of anti-aircraft rocket, resulted in a crush of people attempting to take shelter, in total 173 people, including 62 children, died, making this both the worst civilian disaster of World War II, and the largest loss of life in a single incident on the London Underground network. And that disaster wasn’t even caused by the bad guys!! 😢


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So we headed to Knightsbridge on the tube and went straight to the world famous Harrods, a luxury department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge. Regardless of your budget and/or your spending habits, Harrods is a must-do, must-see, at least once in your life. A human-fest of rabid shoppers in this gigantic piece of architecture, actively buying up everything from a £1 candy to a £30,000 bottle of Champagne to a £98,500 hand-signed, Warhol, lithograph.

 Harrods  

Harrods  

Funny I had no glasses on when I approached the lithograph, and my eyes saw, £98.50 causing me to think it was just a cool reproduction of a lithograph. The attendant approached me...” “Lovely isn’t it?”

“Yes indeed,” I replied.

“Are you a fan of his work then?”

 Amazing what £98,500 will get you.  

Amazing what £98,500 will get you.  

“Yes, and also a fan of Elizabeth.”

“Are you interested in this price sir?”

“Absolutely, it would be cool in my studio. I am just thinking that....(puts glasses on, see’s signature in bottom right-hand corner is real, and price tag is £98,500)....... thinking that ....I will go for a walk, and give it more thought. Nice weather we’re having, don’t you think?” (Head for the hills Tonto!!!!)

Anyway, it is must-visit for you if it’s your first time in London.

 These were NOT £98,500.  

These were NOT £98,500.  


Had lovely lunch at an Italian restaurant by Harrods then made a purchase back in the store.


Everyone who knows me knows how much I love new running shoes (or “trainers” as they are called here). It’s an obsession with me so much so that when they get dirty and the slightest bit worn I am always thinking about the next pair. So when over in UK or Europe I always look for ones that I just know you cannot get back in Canada or U.S.

The deed done, we headed down to St. Pancras train station to see the famous “Kissing Couple” statue, sort out my train ticket for Sunday and to view the famous St Pancras Hotel. What a building!! Even the train station is glorious. The statue of the “Kissing Couple” is wonderful.

 

 “ Kiss me ya big lug!” 

“ Kiss me ya big lug!” 

Officially called The Meeting Place it is a 9-metre (30 ft) high, 20-tonne bronze statue that stands at the south end of the upper level of St Pancras railway station. Designed by British artist Paul Day and revealed in 2007, it is intended to evoke the romance of travel through the depiction of a couple locked in an amorous embrace. The statue, which stands in the Eurostar terminal, is reported to have cost £1 million and was installed as the centrepiece of the refurbished station. The work, is modelled on the sculptor and his wife.


The hotel itself is a sight to behold. Completed in 1876

 “That’s my room. No not that one...THAT one!”

“That’s my room. No not that one...THAT one!”

The hotel was expensive, with costly fixtures including a grand staircase, rooms with gold leaf walls and a fireplace in every room. It had many innovative features such as hydraulic lifts, concrete floors, revolving doors and fireproof floor constructions, though none of the rooms had bathrooms, as was the convention of the time. The hotel was taken over by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1922 before closing in 1935, by which time its utilities were outdated and too costly to maintain, such as the armies of servants needed to carry chamber pots, tubs, bowls and spittoons. It’s a must if you ever visit London to go there for tea and biscuits. Very civilized I must say. The only thing missing is the Queen! 

 

 How are those for Guinness taps! 

How are those for Guinness taps! 

We then headed to a pub called O’Neill’s for a lovely pint of Guinness, after which I left everyone to walk back to my hotel and prepare to visit some family. On the walk back I passed a “chippy” and could not resist haddock & chips, open-faced, with tons of malt vinegar and salt. Don’t tell my doctor, but....fuck they were delicious. It reminded me so much of my childhood. 


Did a short family visit before meeting the gang back at the hotel for a wee nightcap and bed. Tomorrow we gig. Can’t wait.


Goodnight London.

 Nighty night. Xo  

Nighty night. Xo