On the recommendation of a fellow London-mum blogger I have just booked tickets for the family to see the London Philharmonic Orchestra, FUNharmonics at the Southbank Centre in May. Presented by CBeebies’ Chris Jarvis, and featuring an 80-strong orchestra, it’s billed as “the perfect introduction to the extraordinary drama and colour of orchestral music.” Continue reading
Tag Archives: London
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and that was certainly true when we left London to live in Shanghai for a year in 2009. In China entertaining Stanley usually involved a sweaty 45-minute cab ride across the city just to visit a soft play area, such was the dearth of accessible and affordable things to do with kids. Here in London there is an embarrassment of freebies – museums, galleries, children’s centres, city farms etc etc. But my favourite of all, is the parks – specifically, local playgrounds. Continue reading
I didn’t manage to get any London 2012 tickets. When organised people were busy registering I wasn’t really paying attention. By the time I started thinking that, actually, it might be quite nice to go and see some of the games, seeing as they are here on my doorstep and all, tickets were long gone. I never expected to catch the 100m final or anything, but I did envisage being able to wake up one August morning and say: “Hmm, maybe I’ll go see some netball today”, or some such. Anyway, I’m not bitter, because yesterday I got the chance to take a trip down to the Olympic site (along with 30,000 other people) for a charity event and site test. It was rather exciting seeing the stadium in it’s glory – it really is there, and will apparently be finished on time. Continue reading
Written for Time Out
Growing up in suburban London in the 1950s as an odd-looking Jewish tom-boy, with a ‘pin head, and staggeringly ugly profile’ wasn’t much fun for Michele Hanson. Suburban Ruislip, with its ‘one cinema, and the lido and woods’ didn’t offer many thrills. But, lucky for us, 50 years on it provides an amusing read.
Covering the years from naïve child to questioning teen, the memoir charts the vicissitudes and enlightenment of this transition. Hanson attempts to understand her family, her Jewishness, and the surprising facts of life – from the shouting, farting and general vulgarity of her mum and dad (‘I did not want to hear my parents laughing loudly and crudely at things to do with sex and bottoms, or using Yiddish words beginning with “schm …”) to her own somewhat painful developments (‘Bosoms were the last thing I wanted … There was something terrifying about them.’).
Dashes of flavour mark place, as well as time. We visit the seedy Soho of the 1950s, where Hanson’s father owned a belt factory and her mother opened the second-ever Soho coffee bar; and where later on, Hanson is horrified by the goings-on at the Heaven and Hell bar on Old Compton Street. Quentin Crisp appears as a life model at the Ealing Art College where Hanson is a student, with his ‘bouffant purple hair, purple nails, eye make-up, and rather worryingly loose jock-strap.’
The book is filled with the Guardian columnist’s trademark warmth and wry humour, despite the ever-present backdrop of the recent war and the difficulties facing Jewish families at that time.