Overdue update… Lambeth Country fair photo essay

These images are long overdue, but here is a small photo essay of the Lambeth Country Show in London from July 2008. I thought I’d better post them before daylight saving ends!

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Colour co-ordinated couple

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On the ground

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At the train platform

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Toffee apple cops

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Lunchtime on the grass

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An abandoned baby in front of a ride

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A forlorn stuffed tiger

In other news, my London taxi photograph from March 2005 is officially on a corporate charity Christmas/greeting card range being produced by Kingsmead Publications, which is cool. Also, an external shot of Sealand is being published by Life Books on 3 November as part of a new title. The book is called Strange But True: Incredible Stories, True Tales and Fantastic Photos and you can buy it for

Sealand up for sale!

The Principality of Sealand, the ‘world’s smallest country’ (an anti-aircraft gun platform taken over by the Bates family in the 1960s) that I visited in 2002 and took pics of, is up for sale.

You can apply to Prince Michael of Sealand if you want to run your own nation. is Prince Michael told BBC Radio his family had been approached by estate agents with clients “who wanted a bit more than a bit of real estate, they wanted autonomy”. He described Sealand thusly: “The neighbors are very quiet. There is a good sea view.”

Topshop emporium

Hosiery...


mannequin

The trendsetter-fashionstore-sixweekshelflifeemporium-youthbrand-thingy, Topshop, attracts fashion slaves of all ages. But mainly teenage girls. Six years in London and I finally succumbed to a purchase — six pairs of underwear, this means I’ll be able to wair them approximately once a week in succession before the pattern goes out of fashion, heaven forbid anyone notice I’m still wearing PANTONE 5405 Blue or whaever. Hmmm.
More pics later (taken with the Sony Ericsson K750i, with a large nod to my favourite photographer Martin Parr who took a series of photographs in Asia with the same model but it is happily coincidental that I happen to have the same model. We met him a couple of weeks ago at a book signing for his new publication, Mexico, which is an EXCELLENT book).

Go to Stonehenge

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Every day, thousands of tourists, mainly based in London, go to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath for the day. There’s not much left of Stonehenge unfortunately, and its mystery can be often overshadowed by the throngs of coaches, people, sheep, the surrounding highways and, of course, the ubiquitous audio guides. We went one morning whilst staying in Bath for Easter.

Sealand revisited – tonight on BBC2

Tonight, comedian and ‘cult leader’ Danny Wallace begins his six-part quest on BBC2 to start his own country. He begins by seeking advice from Prince Michael Bates of Sealand. (Naturally, their production company needed to contact me to find out exactly how to get in touch with Sealand – after all, the Prince is quite an elusive chap.)

Anyway, it may feel like I’m flogging a dead horse, but if you haven’t seen my Sealand photos then do check them out.

I promise I’ll have more ‘normal’ photos soon, but I’m having quite a busy time lately.

Southend-On-Sea Day Trip

First of all, I know I haven’t posted in a while. This is because I had all my wisdom teeth out under general anaesthetic and the past couple of weeks I haven’t felt 100%. Without boring you with all the details, I’m OK now, but it will take a few months for me to completely recover from some minor complications – still, better than the discomfort my teeth have given me over the past 3 years. So. Yesterday we decided to go on a train somwherere. We looked at the map and as it was a nice day we thought we’d go to the sea.

We went to Southend on Sea, one hour from Liverpool St — a truly British town with a 2km pleasure pier, the longest in the world (you can either walk or take a train to/from the shore). We saw skateboarders, old people with motorised buggies, chavs, teenage mums, tourists, punks, kids and regular people like us!

Metal Detector Man
A man goes metal detecting during low-tide, Southend-on-Sea

Southend on Sea condiments table
The end of the pleasure pier has some tacky souvenir shops, a couple of greasy spoons and a take away fish and chips shop featuring… condiments!

All Day Breakfast
Southend-On-Sea’s promenade features even more fish and chips shops. Miraculously this place does veggie burgers too!

Tarot cards
Again, the promenade is full of relics from its heyday. Here, a clairvoyant’s booth sits nexts to a toy shop; although obviously both are currently not trading. Thankfully an old person’s motorised scooter is there to add some life to the scene.

Wimpy's restaurant
Just when you thought Winpy’s had been outlawed, along comes one, again on Southend-On-Sea’s promenade! This one has table service.

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When you get off the train at Southend Victoria, you can’t help but notice that there are a lot of chavs in the area. For the uninitiated, a chav is not so much a social class as a fashion-based alternative movement, who wear clothes which are somwhere between ‘bling bling’ and Eurotrash – and the clothes and jewellery are usually either fake or tasteless. They wear labels like Burberry, Von Dutch and Juicy Couture. Or usually rip-offs of these, as many aspiring chavs are teenagers who don’t have the income. Chavs have come of age in the last couple of years and are prevalent in Essex (ie where Southend-On-Sea is). Yesterday we saw many in their pastel off the shoulder t-shirts coupled with (branded) tracksuit top and bottom, hoop earrings and extremely tight ponytails. The more daring girls will wear a mini-skirt with tall boots (one girl had these massive Uggs, and an extremely tight, low cut top). Many non-Chavs like me will turn their nose down on a chav, but chavs are usually proud to be one, and they are certainly intriguing characters. For more see ChavScum.

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Last of all, the sea! It is a seaside town and all!

Robert Frank at the Tate

Second attempt at viewing the excellent Robert Frank exhibition at the Tate Modern – this time, it was open, instead of being booked out for some ‘charity’ event like last time. Well worth looking at if you’re in town – a truly superb selection of prints, and the London ones are amazing too – enough to make you want to take photos of London businessmen rushing around the City!

Anyway – definitely inspired me to go take more photos 🙂

Churchill’s Bunker, London Open House Day

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Built in 1939, Churchill’s Bunker – Paddock – was a top secret wartime bunker meant to house Churchill and his war cabinet. However, he only ever used it once for a war cabinet meeting, in October 1940, and absolutely hated its dampness.

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Paddock sits under some Stadium Housing Association homes in Brook Road, Neasden, North West London. Over the years that it has been abandoned, funky mould and calcite stalactites grow. The many rooms – some functions of which remain unknown to this day – included a place for the war cabinet to meet, a BBC radio broadcast studio, telephone exchanges, a diesel generator, what was one of the oldest air conditioning systems in the world (not working now!) and a military control room.

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You can only go visit a couple of times a year – and during London Open House day today, Rob and I joined a group of about 23 others and wandered along the muddy, sticky floors, mouldy ceilings and rusty equipment.

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The photo at the very top of this post depicts the old telephone exchanges which linked up to the Cabinet War Rooms, among others. The others are just eerie atmospheric type shots of what else you can see. For some colour photos taken in considerably more llight than we experienced, see Subterranea Britannica’s exhaustive galleries.

Little India, London

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Southall – just 15 minutes by National Rail from Paddington – is the ideal place to visit on a sunny weekend (except when it takes an hour to wait for a train going back to Paddington…). Indian and Bangladeshi shops selling groceries, clothes, furniture, movies and more, along with some great restaurants and pubs, make it well worth the occasional visit. Better than Brick Lane for character, anyway.