Sunday, 15 May 2016

Katy B at the Brixton Academy, south London

As she belts out high tempo dance tracks to an appreciative local crowd, Peckham-born Katy B knows how to put on a show.  Sometimes flanked by energetic gyrating dancers and bathed in a flashy light show, Kathleen Anne Brien cranks out her catchy hits, such as Lights On and Broken Record, with gusto. Although her own dancing isn't great, she keeps moving with enthusiasm through the short, sharp set. Kay B may perform for less than an hour, but the tickets aren't expensive. The ideal size for an atmospheric gig, the O2 Academy in Brixton has stalls with a sloping floor offering good vantage points from just about everywhere.  The surreal set, with classical balustrades and balconies above the stage, looks like something out of Romeo and Juliet. There are a few ledges to sit on, which is a good job because there can be a lengthy break between the succinct support acts and the main gig. The bars offer bog-standard wines and beers, such as Tuborg, at toppy prices. Although they are well-staffed, you might want to get a two pint plastic glass to cut down on the queuing. Katy B and Brixton Academy make for a good combo. 7/10

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Gare de Nice-Ville, France

Completed in 1867, Gare de Nice-Ville retains its nineteenth century elegance and charm. A soaring roof, cast iron pillars, palm trees and stone archways combine to conjure up the grand tours of Europe in the golden age of travel.  From here, you can still catch brightly-decorated trains to Marseilles and Monaco.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Italian Gardens, Kensington Gardens, central London

Grade II listed, the 150 year old Italian Gardens can be found on the north side of Kensington Gardens near Lancaster Gate. The elegant Italianate pump house is surrounded by immaculate formal gardens, fountains and ornate cast iron railings. Story has it that the Gardens were a gift from Prince Albert to his beloved Queen Victoria. The Royal Parks, which manages the Italian Gardens says they "consist of four main basins with central rosettes, all elaborately carved in Carrara marble, and the famous Portland stone and white marble Tazza Fountain. These are surrounded by intricately carved stone statues and urns. The urns have five main designs - the Swan's breast, woman's head, ram's head, dolphin and oval."

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Glengall Road and Glengall Terrace, Camberwell, south London

A number of houses in Glengall Terrace and Glengall Road, together with the attached porch railings, are Grade II-listed.  Dating from around 1840, these houses were designed by Brighton-based architect Amon Henry Wilds. The Regency-style stucco facade includes Wilds' trademark ammonite details on a pillared porch, according to Oliver Jacques.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Carnegie Library Protest, south London

A demonstration against the closure of the striking Carnegie Library in Herne Hill, south London. The Friends of Carnegie Library say the building "was closed by Lambeth Council on 31st March, to stand empty until it is converted into a fee-paying gym run by the leisure company GLL. No plans have been seen for the gym, nor has anyone applied for any planning permission to convert this Grade II listed building for this purpose."

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

The Peabody Estate, Blackfriars, central London

Built in 1871, the Peabody Estate on Blackfriars Road is a cluster of attractive yellow brick buildings with sash windows, ornate cornicing, cast iron railings and other period features. Inside its imposing arched entrance is a communal garden with a play area, mature trees and basketball courts. One of the oldest and largest housing associations in London, Peabody says it manages more than 27,000 homes across the capital, housing around 80,000 residents.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi, near Turin, Italy

An aerial view of the 18th century Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi, which is about 10km south west of Turin. One of the Unesco-listed residences of the Royal House of Savoy in northern Italy, the grandiose hunting lodge was occupied Napoleon in the early 19th century.