Archive for the ‘London’ Category


Science poems on London’s Underground

17 February 2010

London’s Poems on the Underground has had poems sitting alongside ads on the Tube for many years. I always enjoyed reading one of these little verses, a bright spot in an often crowded box of sullen human cargo.

Now, in recognition of the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary, they’ve has selected six poems offering reflections on the subject of science. Read about it, and read the poems, on the Royal Society page here or Transport for London here.

Thanks to the Aussie for the tip.


Billy Gibbons talks about the Tube Snake Boogie in London

4 November 2009

It seems Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top’s guitarist, likes being a tourist, and took the tube to Wembley before the band’s big gig last week [BBC story]. In true London fashion, the line he wanted to take was down, and he had to detour. He still beat his bandmates to the stadium.

Thanks to the Aussie for the story tip.



Live music I’ve seen in London

6 October 2009

One of the exciting things about London when I moved here was the chance to see bands play live: awesome bands, and lots of ’em. Everyone plays London. Now that I’m leaving in a few weeks I’m reflecting back on who I’ve seen.

I have not wasted my gig-going opportunity. The list of bands I’ve seen live here (and by that I mean “from here”; a couple have been elsewhere in the UK, or in Paris) since February 2001 is below. That’s 242 band-performances in 104 months, or about 2.3 band-performances per month (not bands per month since I’ve seen some multiple times, nor gigs per month since some were at festivals). It is a list I’m pretty pleased with.

A Silver Mt. Zion
…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead
Arcade Fire
Asobi Seksu
Baez, Joan
Be Good Tanyas, The
Beastie Boys, The (x2)
Beck, Jeff
Biffy Clyro
Black Angels, The
Black Keys, The
Black Mountain
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (x4)
Blackie and the Rodeo Kings
Blind Boys of Alabama, The
Bloc Party
Blue Rodeo (x3)
Broken Social Scene
Buck 65
Case, Neko
Cave, Nick & the Bad Seeds
Chemical Brothers, The
Clapton, Eric (x2)
Cohen, Leonard
Collins, Judy
Cooper Temple Clause, The (x2)
Coral, The
Cowboy Junkies
Cray, Robert
Darkness, The
Datsuns, The
Dead 60s, The
Dead Weather, The
Dolby, Thomas
Doucet, Luke
Duke Spirit, The (x6)
Duran Duran (x2)
Dylan, Bob (x5)
Earle, Steve
Einstürzende Neubauten
Elbow (x2)
Electric Eel Shock
Electric Soft Parade, The
Electric Wizard
Explosions in the Sky
Fiery Furnaces
Flaming Lips, The (x2)
Foo Fighters
Franz Ferdinand (x2)
Gary Numan
Gideon, Joe & the Shark
Gilmour, David
Go! Team, The
Go-Betweens, The
Gogol Bordello
Great Big Sea
Guns ‘n’ Roses
Guy, Buddy
Harcourt, Ed
Harmer, Sarah
Harper, Roy
Harvey, PJ
Hester, Carolyn
Hilmarsson, Hilmar Örn
Hitchcock, Robyn
Hives, The
Hot Chip
Hot Snakes
Iron Maiden
Jane’s Addiction (x2)
Jayhawks, The
Jones, Danko
Jones, Howard
Johnston, Daniel
Kasabian (x2)
Killers, The
Knopfler, Mark
Kula Shaker
Lady Sovereign
Leo and the Pharmacists, Ted
Lez Zeppelin
Lightspeed Champion
Little Lost David (x2)
Lowe, Nick
Machine Head
MacLachlan, Sarah
Massive Attack
Maxïmo Park
McGuinn, Roger
Metallica (x2)
Ministry (x2)
Mogwai (x2)
Monster Magnet (x2)
Mooney Suzuki, The
Morrison, Van
Nashville Pussy (x2)
New Order
Nickelback (I’m sorry, I was forced to go)
Nine Inch Nails (x8)
No Doubt
North Mississippi Allstars, The
Osborne, Joan
Our Lady Peace
Pet Shop Boys
Plant, Robert
Police, The
Primal Scream
Queens of the Stone Age
R.E.M. (x2)
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Riders on the Storm (ex-Doors)
Rolling Stones, The
Sahara Hotnights
Seasick Steve (x2)
Sigur Rós (x3)
Silversun Pickups
Skinny Puppy
Smith, Alice (x2)
Snow Patrol
Sons and Daughters (x2)
Soundtrack of our Lives, The (x2)
Soweto Gospel Choir
Spencer Blues Explosion, The Jon
Spiritualized (x3)
Springsteen, Bruce & The E Street Band
Streets, The
Teenage Fanclub
Touré, Vieux Farka
Tragically Hip, The (x2)
U2 (x2)
Vaughan, Jimmie
Violent Femmes
Waits, Tom
Waters, Roger
Welch, Gillian
White Stripes, The (x2)
Willard Grant Conspiracy, The
Williams, Lucinda
Williams, Saul (x2)
Winehouse, Amy
Winter, Johnny
Wood, Ronnie
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Zutons (x2)


Science Online London 2009: the sessions

24 August 2009

I attended Science Online London 2009 on Saturday.

As I mentioned before, I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to make the social events before or after. Because I don’t actually work in science it’s not so important for me to network, but it is fun.

The sessions I did attend were interesting, though. Highlights for me:

  • Legal and Ethical Aspects of Science Blogging. I’d heard a lot of this before at a London Bloggers Meetup last year, but it’s always good to hear real-life case examples.
  • Online communication of science by institutions and organizations. I liked hearing what the Nobel org, Cancer Research UK, and Ask a Biologist do to overcome organisational inertia and measure what success is for each of their online ventures.
  • Citizen science – How the web enables anyone to be a scientist. Good talks from people from Wikipedia and GalaxyZoo on how most contributors are amateurs who like being part of something original.
  • Some participants attended via Second Life, and this worked better than I thought it might.

You can get some other views on the conference from Nature Network or from checking out Twitter.



12 July 2009

I’m very close to liking Invasion, the hot new metal band from London. They’re cheesy and fast and psychedelic.

I really, really wish they had a bass player, though.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

posted with vodpod


Science Online London 2009

5 July 2009

Remember Science Blogging London I attended last year? Remember that I enjoyed it?

It’s back, this year as Science Online London 2009. Not just for bloggers anymore! From the conference’s website:

The name of the event was changed to reflect the variety of science-related activities happening online today. Topics include blogging and microblogging, online communities, open access and open data, new teaching and research tools, author identifiers and measuring the impact of research.

It is, once again, on a Saturday in late August at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Although topics are still being defined I’m sure it’ll be an interesting day, and so I have registered.

I believe there’s still a few spots left if you’re willing to part with a tenner (there are sandwiches!). Or you can read the blog, or follow the conference twitter or search for their hashtag.


The Royal Society’s 2009 Summer Science Exhibition

30 June 2009
Penrose tiling: how nature and art fill spaces

Penrose tiling: how nature and art fill spaces

If you’re in central London tonight, or during the day this week, you should find a few moments to stop by The Royal Society. The national academy of science of the UK and the Commonwealth is staging their Summer Science Exhibition. Not only are they putting on a week of exhibits from the cutting edge of science but also featuring involved scientists themselves for you to ask questions of.

What a cool opportunity. This is a direct public-engagement event. You can look at items and exhibits and models lots of places, but how often do you get a chance to ask questions of a real, live scientist? There’s a list of exhibits here, along with writeups that indicate which ones might be good for kids.

From their site:

We’ve got over 20 fascinating, diverse and interactive exhibits. Fields of study range from how fluorescent fish could provide better understanding of human diseases, to a chewing robot that can help us develop dental technology, to how new space missions could help to unlock the history of the universe.

There’s also a good writeup at Nature Network’s London blog about the exhibition.

You can find info on how to get there and what their hours are here.


Pirate radio bootlegs and mixtapes from the mid-80s

15 June 2009


Check out It:

focuses on the mid-1980s London soul radio stations which introduced the mastermix genre to the UK. The sounds on this site are predominantly taken from FM pirate broadcasts, recorded to cassette. Often the recordings suffer from interference, drop outs, print-through and occasional ‘record button’ accidents. But generally they have a warm, authentic quality to them.

There are dozens of mixes for listening or download. I spent the mid-80s in Canada, not London, but the nostalgia is still there. They’ve even got recordings of radio jingles and adverts from the era. Fun.


Elephant and Castle: centre of the musical buzz?

9 June 2009

This article in the Guardian makes the case that Elephant and Castle – which they generously describe as “(permanently) up and coming” – has a strong up-and-coming arts and music scene.

I don’t get down to that part of the city much, though I have been to the Coronet a few times over the years (to see M.I.A., and a very early appearance by Franz Ferdinand). Anyone else agree that there’s an exciting undercurrent in E&C? Maybe I’ll go sniffing ’round.


London Bloggers blogtag

5 June 2009

I’m a member of the London Bloggers Meetup. They’re playing a round og blog tag in an effort to raise group awareness of all the blogs in a rapidly-growing group.

I was just tagged – both here and in my personal blog – but decided to tag the next blogs there. Go check it out if you’re interested in who tagged me, or who I tagged.


Field Day 2009: what a lineup!

17 April 2009

The UK has too many music festivals; I can’t keep track of them all. For instance I’ve only just found out about Field Day, a one-day in-London festival in Victoria Park, and then only because a mate is getting a bunch of guys together for a stag do.

Check out this incredible lineup for only 30 quid! I just got my ticket.

Eat Your Own Ears Main Stage


Adventures in the Beetroot Field Stage


Village Mentality Stage


Bugged Out! Stage



Music Mule: new London music site

28 February 2009


I’ve been forwarded an email about Music Mule:

a site to recommend gigs in London. The main focus is upcoming bands (last year early tips were Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, MGMT) or those just below the radar. The site is equally for those who know their music and those who like the idea of going to watch a gig but wouldn’t know where to start. You can download or stream some sample music from the site, watch some videos. If anything takes your liking then there are easy links to where you can buy tickets and how to get to the gig.

It looks alright. Like any other music blog in some ways, though it has two particularly useful aspects:

  1. It’s specific to bands that are playing London, so for those of us who are here we can know we’re reading about acts that will come close to us.
  2. They seem to have comparisons (e.g., “for fans of”) for acts that aren’t commonly known. That could be useful for finding new bands.

Goodbye Astoria

18 January 2009

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s happened: the Astoria has seen its last gig.


The Astoria

The Astoria

Photo from carldpatterson via Creative Commons license


Goodbye, Astoria

24 December 2008

I’ve blogged several times over the last few years about the imminent destruction of that hallowed, scummy hall of rock music, the Astoria, to make way for a Crossrail station. The writing is truly on the mirrored wall now: 15 January will be its last night as a dark, Red Stripe-slinging temple of mid-size bands. Crossrail will be a good thing, but so was the Astoria.

Sadly, the nearby Metro Club will be going, too. I didn’t go there as much as I should have, but that’ll be one less venue for up-and-comers.


Science Blogging 2008 today

30 August 2008

Sorry, I’ve been a bit busy.

In a few minutes I’m off to Science Blogging 2008, a one-day conference here in London for science bloggers. I’m prepared for being the lightweight part-timer in the crowd. I’m disappointed I had to miss some of the warm-up events (pub visits, walks to point of scientific interest). But looking forward to the topics today.


SMS text to pay for parking in London

21 July 2008

The Westminster part of London has been using an SMS text system for public parking for several months now, but this weekend was the first time I got to use it. It was one of my favourite types of technology: making simple, real-world, everyday applications sooo much easier.

The first time setup only took a few minutes, mostly just entering credit card info. From then on it’s a simple text code (including a few of your card digits plus the code of the parking bay you’re in).

It’s very quick, and you can specify time in 1-minute increments. No need to have (or get) coins to feed a meter. No more absorbed costs from vandalised meters on the street. If you find you’re delayed on your appointment you can add more time to your parking session via another text rather than running back to your car with more change. And there are nifty 10p extras for validating your text transaction has gone through, or warning you when there’s 10 minutes left on your time.

Photo from dlisbona via Creative Commons license


More Ealing from Diamond Geezer

15 July 2008

He wasn’t kidding: the Hoover Building and the London Motorcycle Museum. I have to admit that I didn’t even know the latter existed. I’ll have to check it out sometime.


Diamond Geezer blogs Ealing

14 July 2008

Diamond Geezer blogs about London, and periodically focuses on a randomly selected London borough. This weekend he picked my turf: Ealing. Read what he thinks are the best things to see, what’s the most interesting place to shop (I’d have to agree on both counts), and where the Capital Ring walk intersects the borough.


Stuff to do in London

13 July 2008

It was a nice day and I was determined to spend it downtown seeing something new. So I queried TimeOut for its suggestions, plotted out an efficient tube journey, and carried out my plan.

  1. I went to Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre to catch the Doctor Who exhibit. It was really great for fans of the last few series. It’s not in the huge main hall; it’s in an underground (but still large) set of rooms at the back entrance, near Brompton Road tube. After a quick photo list of pre-millenial Doctors they jumped into all things Ecclestone and Tennant (except for the series just finished, but these will reportedly be added during the summer). They had lots of full models: the Face of Boe, the Slitheen, K9, a monstrous Empress of Racnoss, and more. There were costumes, plot reviews, and examples of how they create special effects (you can see video of yourself in the Tardis) and makeup (the Ood!). The animated Cybermen and Daleks near the end were fun. It’s £9 for adults and runs until the autumn sometime.
  2. I tubed over to Mayfair to see an exhibit of Bob Dylan’s Art at the Halycon Gallery. The Drawn Blank Series contains many studies by Bob of the same image but coloured differently, to explore how that changes the perception of the painting. There are prints for sale if you have £1500 to £2500 to spare. Well worth seeing, though, and free.
  3. I caught the tube over to Liverpool Street and walked to Brick Lane’s Truman Brewery art space to see Free Range. This is an ongoing showcase of art from new graduates. They’re rotating through different work; it was mostly photography today. It was a mixed bunch. I really liked James Dare’s series “The Great British Gun Owner” (a connection we UK city dwellers rarely make) and Emma Mari Trinder’s set of photos of single fathers and their daughters (touching, I thought). It’s also free.
  4. I then tubed up to Camden and fought my way through the market crowd to the Proud Bar and Gallery where they had a series of photographs of Sid Vicious. I liked them. Free as well, though I sat outside in a deck chair and had a beer since it was so nice out (not very punk, I know).

Also entertaining: on Brick Lane I saw a guy with a T-shirt that said, I listen to bands that don’t even exist yet.

Also also entertaining: whilst drinking my beer at Proud they played Cage the Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked”. That’s a good song.


Royal Society Summer Exhibition in London

1 July 2008

I had no idea that the Royal Society Summer Exhibition was on until the Londonist told me. It’s a free public exhibit of scientists who are more than happy to describe what’s happening in UK research.

I’ve not been before, and it’s looking unlikely I’ll make it this year since the exhibition happens during working hours. But anyone in the area should definitely stop by.