Travels: London: Thursday 1st June 2000

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Highlights

Snowdon retropective at the National Portrait Gallery

Main purpose: Linux Expo; catch the retro. before it finishes on the 4th.


With a One-Day All-Zone Travelcard from the ticket machine (15.30, paying via Switch again), and with a new timetable (valid from 28th May), I caught the stopping train to Kings Cross at 09:31 (due in 10:33). I'd just missed the fast 09:15 one. Curses: I forgot my camera.

The stations down to the one before Hitchin had a new livery for signs, finally replacing the old Network South-East one: now it's white letters on dark blue with a purple stripe to the left. The train filled up at Hitchin, having been fairly empty before that.

From Kings Cross I took the Piccadilly Line to Earls Court (the train was fairly full and sometimes very full), then changed to the District Line for Olympia (taking 15 minutes - wait plus journey). The Linux Expo at Olympia Hall 2 was small but packed.

At 12:05 I caught the return train, changing at Earls Court for the District Line to Embankment. There I had to go up to the surface-level booking hall and then deep down to the Bakerloo Line for a 1-stop ride to Charing Cross, arriving at 12:40. The loos there had turnstiles (though not in use at that time) - not something I'd seen in recent years but stirring a vague memory from the 1960s.
[Reading this in October, I suddenly realised "why?" This is the classic case of a "Tube novice" not thinking about the geography of stations, just going by the Tube map. Charing Cross and Embankment are essentially the same station as they're so close together!]

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I emerged at the top of The Mall and walked down Northumberland Avenue, this time going into the Ship & Shovell (right-hand side). They had Badger beers on and I had a half of IPA (1.10, tasty). It's a tiny place (perhaps 15 seats), with loos and kitchen downstairs, the food arriving via dumb waiter.

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Next I went via the Bakerloo Line to Piccadilly, finding an entrance to the
[See the last time I was there. An interview on The Motley Fool with the Troc's operator, John Conlan of Chorion, says they sold off the loss-making IMAX.]
basement of the Trocadero direct from the booking hall. It's a very impressive entertainment arcade. Even though there was a giant "What's Available" board, there was still no sign of any IMAX cinema.

I retraced my route to Charing Cross and emerged on the centre section of Trafalgar Square, amongst tourists & pigeons. I noted the curious temporary sculpture on the long-empty pedestal.
[BBC News article.]

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Crossing the road, I went along the front of the National Gallery and into the Sainsbury wing. I grabbed some introductory leaflets and then made my back along the front. I saw a poster for the free Art Bus run by the Tate between its London galleries, stopping here. Going round to the right and behind the National Gallery, there was the National Portrait Gallery.

The Lord Snowdon exhibition was 4, discounted to 3 by my National Art Collections Fund membership. The pics were mainly of celebrities (art/pop/theatre...) from the 1950s to now and very striking & evocative. Quite a few have just had their life dates amended to end in "-2000"!

After seeing that exhibition, I saw some of the adjacent galleries (mainly post-WWII celebrity photos) before leaving (at 14:25). Of particular note was Polly Borland's Australians exhibition - pics of prominent Aussies in the UK. It was striking how many there were and the contribution they've made.

I turned north up Charing Cross Road to
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Leicester Square again. The corner nearest the Warner Village had a large crowd watching street entertainers who seemed to be the same ones I saw at Covent Garden.

After an exploratory stroll around, to the rear of Wyndham's Theatre, I carried on by Northern Line to Tottenham Court Road and then southwards down Charing Cross Road and then eastwards along Denmark Street.
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I was looking for the Helter Skelter Bookshop to buy the supposedly-just-out Ginger Geezer but I couldn't find it there. The stock of music books and related items was very impressive.

Resuming my journey, I changed at Warren Street (15:17) for the Jubilee Line to Kings Cross and caught the 15:45 non-stop train, returning at 16:32 (with a 4-minute halt by Cambridge University Press to give way to a southbound train - this one was going on to Kings Lynn).

An overcast and warm day.


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