Towards Better Democracy

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London 22 – 26 March, 2018, part 2

I have always loved London ever since I first put foot in the place. Of all the cities I have lived in London has felt home. Many of  those whom I spoke to, both native and those who had settled from elsewhere, do too. There is something magical about the atmosphere of the city.

On Saturday the 24 of March, 2018 the show closed at 7.99 pm and many of TOAF staff and artists went to the Whippet on Sicilian Way. This pub closes at 10.00 pm and so the party went to the Princess Louisa just up Bloomsbury Broad. At closing time, 11.00 pm everyone called it night. For me, however, the night was young. I knew the Shakspeare’s Head on Kingsway, a few doors down from Holborn Tube Station I knew to be open until 1.00 am and so I went there.

When it closed I walked down Kingsway to Leicester Square, the centre of London night life.

IMG_0216.JPGKingsway does not have much open at 1.00 am in the morning, albeit a Sunday.

IMG_0217.JPGBut it does have trafic, vehicular and foot.

IMG_0218.JPGKingsway looking towards the Aldwych

IMG_0220.JPGOne of the many side streets off Kingsway

IMG_0221.JPGAldwych towards Fleet Street and the City of London

IMG_0251.JPGThe area in front of Covent Gardens was deserted

IMG_0252.JPGAs were surrounding streets




The Piccadilly Line has two sets of escalators at Holborn and runs throughout the night Friday and Saturday.

IMG_0224.JPGHow on earth are you supposed to be able to read the advertisements? Escalators at this angle are not the most steady of things to travel on, especially with a traveling bag slung over your shoulder.

IMG_0227.JPGLooking back up the first set of elevators. What was most surprising was how quiet London was. This was due to the absence of tourists. England had had snow the week before I arrived which pretty much shut down the country,

IMG_0235.JPGThe walkway at Holborn Station to the Piccadilly Line platforms. Every part of the underground is tube shaped.

IMG_0238.JPGThe Piccadilly Tube at two on a Sunday morning

IMG_0241.JPGWhen I previously knew London the yellow lines were not present. One tube I was on was held because of a trespasser on the line up ahead. Below the famous gap is a third rail which could fry an elephant in minutes.

IMG_0243.JPGThe Piccadilly Line runs through the heart of London. There are seven stops between Holborn and Earl’s Court, every one world famous.

IMG_0244.JPGEvery tube station I visited was spotless. Notable is the absence of trash bins, a security measure. To the left are visible the ceramic chairs which support the high voltage pickup and return rails.

IMG_0247.JPGThe Owl says it all

IMG_0250.JPGAt Earl’s Court large elevators take you to the surface

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 9 April, 2018




Filed under: Arts, Media, Memoir, Music, poetry, songs, stories

London 21 – 26 March, 2018, part 1

Photographs taken with the iPhone during the showing of the art work at TOAF London, Victoria House.

IMG_0064.JPGView of Lexham Gardens, Kensington from the hotel room, 6.00 am Thursday 22 March, 2018

IMG_0070.JPGLexham Gardens, Kensington viewed from Cromwell Road

IMG_0073.JPGView of Cromwell Road viewed from Lexham Gardens

IMG_0074.JPGView across Cromwell Road facing the Marriott

IMG_0075.JPGLooking down Cromwell Road towards Earl’s Court


The entrance to Lexham Gardens from Cromwell Road. The Embassy for Bosnia and Herzegovina is on the left hand side.

IMG_0078.JPGThe entrance to Lexham Garden Mews. Mews contained stables and the servants quarters of the hostelry who looked after the horses in pre-automobile days.


All of the vehicles parked on either side of Lexham Gardens were large, including two Bentleys parked at the foot of the road outside a boutique hotel.


View of the hotel which occupies 7 buildings and is owned by Malaysians. Why the US flag is flown is unknown.


View of Lexham Mews from the other side of Lexham Gardens. The gardens are on the left and the portion of Lexham Gardens which continues to the left does not have the fronts stuccoed as do the houses the right.

IMG_0089.JPGView along the upper portion of Lexham Gardens looking West.


All London streets have this kind of rectangular street name sign, usually high on the wall of the building at the street’s entrance. The signs of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are distinctive.

IMG_0093.JPGThe other side of the upper portion of Lexham Gardens

IMG_0094.JPGA walkway joining Lexham Gardens with an adjacent street.

IMG_0099.JPGAnother view of Lexham Garden Mews

IMG_0103.JPGAll restaurants in London must display their menu outside the premises. The hotel’s evening menu is restricted to Malaysian dishes.

IMG_0112.JPGEarl’s Court Road

IMG_0113.JPGEarl’s Court Road is typical of the thoroughfares of London, narrow, cramped and busy.

IMG_0114.JPGEarl’s Court Tube Station, the closed tube station to the hotel. The kiosk to the side of the tube station is open 24 hours and sells tourist knickknacks, tobacco products and liquor.

IMG_0116.JPGThe upper stories of the buildings on Lexham Gardens, like many in the upper scale parts of London, at one time housed servants. Taken around 8.00 am Saturday 24 March, 2018.

IMG_0119.JPGThere are a lot of buses in London, the red ones serving London proper, and the others the hinterlands of the UK and Europe, all of these converging on Victoria Coach Station. Cromwell Road is full of them.

IMG_0120.JPGBuses have toilets, under floor storage, reclining seats and WiFi. They are easily the best form of transport. Rail is unreliable and expensive and flying not as convenient since travel to and from hotels is required and there may be long waits at airports.

IMG_0133.JPGI love buses. Again on Cromwell Road

IMG_0143.JPGAdvertising on London black cabs is rare. Note the double red line and the Look Right sign.

IMG_0183.JPGPayphone kiosks. Some marked as such provide WiFi and charging stations.

IMG_0185.JPGIn this part of London vegetation is little seen. The weather during the trip was fair with relatively clear skies. Unlike other parts of London, Kensington is not overflown by aircraft flying into Heathrow.

IMG_0186.JPGAlthough Earl’s Court Road is busy side streets are not.


Visible in the foreground of this shot are granite sets. These are similar to cobbles but are flat topped. Their use goes back to Roman times.

IMG_0189.JPGEarl’s Court Road looking East. The tube station signs cannot be seen because the station entrance is inset from the general building line.

IMG_0190.JPGEarl’s Court Road viewed from the same direction, taken in front of Earl’s Court Tube Station.

IMG_0191.JPGHolborn Tube Station on the corner of Kingsway and Holborn High Street, the nearest tube station to Victoria House. In fact it can be seen from the front of the building.

IMG_0192.JPGHolborn High Street looking South

IMG_0193.JPGHolborn High Street looking North. To the East of the intersection is Southamton Row and the West Kingsway.

IMG_0197.JPGPop-up art gallery on Southampton Row. Pop-up means that such galleries are only open briefly for a show.

IMG_0200.JPGThroughout London are walkways joining adjacent streets. This is Sicilian Way which joins Bloomsbury Square with Southampton Road. Victoria House is at the end of the walkway and to the right. At the bottom end of the walkway in this view is a pub, the Whippet. Most of the shops on the left and right are seeking tenants.

IMG_0201.JPGBy many accounts the best coffee shop in London. This was home from home. It is just one shop down from the walkway shown above. Curiously, the shop does not have a web site.

IMG_0203.JPGThe interior of Espresso Room

















Filed under: Arts, Media, Memoir, Music, poetry, songs, stories

The Other Art Fair, London 22 – 25 March, 2018 Victoria House, Southampton Way, WC1A 2GP

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 09.00.02Victoria House, Southampton Way, WC1A 2GP
The Other Art Fair, London 22 – 25 March, 2018 Artists

Exhibiting artist

initial layout for TOAF London
Schematic layout of works exhibited at TOAF London, Stand 39, one of the largest stands available.

TOAF London, iPhone photographs taken Saturday 24 March, 2018, Basement B1 Victoria House

18 View to the West TOAF London.jpg
Looking West from Stand 39

4 Looking East TOAF LondonLooking West further along the walkway

8 Walkway looking West TOAF London
Looking East from the back of Stand 39

6 Est back wall TOAF London.jpg
The Back Wall of the East Wing

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 9 April, 2018




Filed under: Arts, Culture, Media, Memoir, Music, poetry, songs, stories

The lilac and the lily bloom

The lilac and the lily bloom
In vales and forests
And wither all too soon

And so it is with us
Our moment on this earth
Flourish for one brief hour
And then are gone.

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 9 April, 2018

Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

I’ve been weak and I’ve been strong

I’ve been weak and I’ve been strong
Sometimes stumbled along the way
Of life
But no stick has ever held me up
Nor bath-chair will ever envelope me.

Force of will has got me here
And always will
The force of life
Which we all contain
I’m driven now
Towards my goals
And aims
And will sustain me
Until the end

I have sought all this
For oh so long.

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 9 April, 2018

Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Just simply

You’re just a person
When all is said and done
Society gives you labels
Artist, muscian, engineer and such like
That is all they are

And so the effort goes into the first
Our prime being
To be the best that
We can be.

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 9 April, 2018

Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

It’s been a long time coming

It’s been a long time coming
This life of mine
Snail-paced, a house upon it’s back
Traveled with me long and hard
Through all the places I have been
And those I have met

But, now, at journey’s end
I come home, finally
To rest
And lead a life of peace

And do what as an adult I must do
My child I have put to bed.

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 9 April, 2018

Filed under: Arts, Media, Memoir, Music, poetry, songs, stories

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