Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

Visit to my London printer Monday 26 March, 2018

DLR map.jpg
Map of Docklands Light Railway, London Docklands

DLR was built as a light railway service to Docklands to service the buildings going up there on the redeveloped land as these docks were abandoned and newer, larger docks were build further out into the Thames Estuary.

The DLR connects to both the London Underground and to the national railway services. My destination was Greenwich where my London printer had recently moved to. I had not previously met George. A ssignment we had planned to work on I cancelled because the gallery concerned had announced late my selection as an exhibitor and were proving unreasonable in their demands for framing requirements, especially given the time constraints. George had said that he looked forward to working with me in the future.

My Singapore flight back to the US did not fly out until the Tuesday and so I was left with Monday free. An arrangement to meet my nephew fell apart so I packed up and booked out of the hotel earlier than I had planned. The flight out of Manchester to Houston was scheduled to leave at 10.30 am Tuesday morning which meant catching a  6.30 am flight from Heathrow to connect with the Singapore flight. Security checks meant arriving at Heathrow in time for them.

I spent the early afternoon at the Expresso Room on Southampton Row planning the trip to Greenwich. The photographs below record the journey. I planned to arrive at George’s studio towards the end of his working day.

It is quite something plotting your route across London by tube. Selecting the route that best will take you to your destination takes quite bit of time.

IMG_0302.JPGView out the front of the driverless DLR train.

IMG_0305.JPGA DLR train on an adjoining track

IMG_0306.JPGDevelopment still going on in abandoned dock basins

IMG_0313.JPGA stop on the way to Greenwich

IMG_0315.JPGThe way out from Greenwich Station, a pedestrian only walkway

IMG_0316.JPGThis particular American hotel chain has hotels all over London


The sign outside the Travelodge noting the buildings on the same plot. The station walkway is to the left and Hopyard Studios, where George has his, is to the right.

IMG_0318.JPGGreenwich High Street looking North

IMG_0320.JPGTypical residential council architecture of the sixties in Britain

IMG_0321.JPGThe seventies version

IMG_0322.JPGLooking South on Greenwich High Road

IMG_0323.JPGThe quadrangle where Hopyard Studios are. They are to the left.

IMG_0324.JPGLooking North towards Greenwich Station walkway. Nobody resident in the area to whom I spoke could give a name to the quadrangle.

IMG_0325.JPGThe entrance to George’s Hopyard studio is on the right

IMG_0329.JPGEnterprise boards exist all over the UK and are usually joint ventures between local government and commercial developers to redevelop local land left vacant from a previous use, in this case, into multi-use.

IMG_0330.JPGThe allowing of vehicles into an area where very small children walk is surprising.

IMG_0333.JPGA service road might have been provided instead

IMG_0334.JPGNot sure if the architectural term for this building’s window feature is castellated or embrasure

IMG_0338.JPGNice feature. Of utility to the residents, though?

IMG_0339.JPGRecreation room for the community and arts centre on the opposite side of the quadrangle.

IMG_0340.JPGBeyond the interior of the community room is an open courtyard for use by the surrounding residents.


IMG_0346.JPGView of the Hopyard Studios looking South

An office building next to the Bright Horizons day school seen above

IMG_0349.JPGClear use of mixed external materials in the construction of these low rise residential units

IMG_0351.JPGNo doubt as to English politeness. The North Pole is a restaurant on the other side of the Hopyard Studios, facing Greenwich High Road.

IMG_0356.JPGA small tunnel, single carriageway, taking the road alongside Hopyard Studios under the DLR lines.

IMG_0361.JPGThere are pumping stations all over London, some going back to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. They vary in purpose: pumping sewage, storm water and potable water.IMG_0362.JPGThe Greenwich Pumping Station building. The chimney suggests that the pumping engine was steam driven.

IMG_0370.JPGFish and chip shops are ubiquitous throughout the British Isles, more numerous than churches.


Mr Kanizi, a resident of 40 years in Britain, is from the Turkish part of Cyprus.

IMG_0366.JPGHaddock freshly caught in the North Sea and fried by hand by the ever cheerful Mr Kanizi.

IMG_0367.JPGIn Germany  they build standard luxury German automobiles. On the opposite of the road from the fish and chip shop.

All towns and cities everywhere in the world have them

IMG_0377.JPGThe main road into London from Greenwich. The bollards mark the location of a burst water main. Greenwich High Road has been closed since then, which accounts for the absence of traffic in the photos above.

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 10 April, 2018






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

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, Current Events, Media, Memoir, 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

This is the country which unilaterally abolished slavery: ‘Shameful’; widespread outrage over man denied NHS cancer care

This is the country which unilaterally abolished slavery: ‘Shameful’; widespread outrage over man denied NHS cancer care

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 12 March, 2018

Comment: This is very much less than an adequate response: “We are working hard to try to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

Filed under: Arts, Current Events, history, Media, Memoir, politics, stories

Our wrong calls on the future of work: one wonders …

Our wrong calls on the future of work
BBC Miriam Quick and Piero Zagami, 12 March 2018


Image copyright BBC, 2018

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 12 March, 2018

Comment: Although the graphic doesn’t cover the immediate future, clearly what the authors have in mind is the current set of predictions that in the near future there will be no work. That all work will be performed by robots and other means of artificial intelligence. This is a pity.

Predictions such as those referred to in the graphic have a habit of simply sliding past any predicted date and we simply don’t notice any more.

As with all graphics which attempt to convey textual ideas rather than simply information there is an acute distortion in the views expressed. Whether we take reading and writing, or the Industrial Revolution, good comes with bad. Likewise with the automobile, or horseless carriage. For example, New York had hundreds of thousands of horses all moving about the city, and its outlying areas, prior to the introduction of petrol driven vehicles, all requiring housing, food and the greatest care and attention in their upkeep. And they required a small army to look after them.

What is not often pointed out is that New York, like many other cities at the time, was drowning in horse dung. One can argue the pros and cons of any of the changes that the graphic refers to, or any other that occurs to you. But, once established, there is no turning back. One thinks immediately of nuclear weapons. A nuclear weapons free world. Unlikely, don’t you think?  Until, that is, more deadly and more efficient means of mass killings come along. Then nuclear weapons will go the way of swords, sabres and rapiers.

What we do have is an awful lot of people. With many, many more to come. And, like the horses in New York, one wonders …

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

Valentin Silvestrov – Sacred Songs, Kiev Chamber Choir

Valentin Silvestrov – Sacred Song, Kiev Chamber Choir

Come, Let Us Worship
World Of Peace
Holy God
O Virgin Mother Of God
Today You Release (Your Servant)
Many Years, Vivat {{
Silent Night
Praise God All Ye Nations (Psalm 116)
Lord, My Heart Swells Not With Pride (Psalm 130)
Lord Jesus Christ
O King Of Heaven
With The Saints Grant Eternal Peace
Our Father
To You, O Lord, I Call (Psalm 27)
The Lord Is My Shepherd (Psalm 22)
 Alleluia I
Cherubic Hymn 1
Cherubic Hymn 2
Many Years,  Vivat III
Alleluia II

Malcolm D B Munro
Thursday 8 March, 2018

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

Why are not more heads falling? – Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, Caroline Thomson, Oxfam chairman of trustees

Why are not more heads falling? – Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, Caroline Thomson, Oxfam chairman of trustees

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 13 February, 2018

Filed under: Arts, Current Events, history, Media, Memoir, Music, poetry, politics, songs, stories

Lord Kitchener – Pan In A Minor

Lord Kitchener – Pan In A Minor

Malcolm D B Munro
Saturday 20 January, 2018

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

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