A new book has a slightly different take on the capital, looking at the life of the city through the eyes of 24 individuals (one for each hour of the day).
Tim Barron reviews the book.
“London Lives - 24 iconic people & places around the clock”
is exactly what it says it is, 24 times and locations in text and photographs summing up the life of the capital’s working inhabitants.
The photo locations often dictate who is interviewed but sometimes it is the other way round. So we meet Tower bridge keeper Chris Earlie (overseer of 900 bridge lifts a year) and Zandra Rhodes, fashion designer (self confessed Princess of Punk), in their respective work places. Danny Rosenbaum’s text meshes with Tom Vandervell’s detailed large format photography often evoking memories. For example, for me the view from the General Wolfe statue in Greenwich park (surely the best view of London ) recalls happy times spent at the Royal Observatory and the shot of St Paul’s Cathedral choir stalls takes me back to graduating as a London Blue Badge Guide. That is one of the joys of this lavishly illustrated work, finding the familiar alongside the newly discovered. There are plenty of “Oh I didn’t know that” moments, for example did you know there are Yoga classes on Tower bridge glass walkway 42 metres above the Thames?
At 5am Freda Coker-Appiah goes on duty with the rest of the University College Hospital maternity staff to usher in 6,600 new Londoners each year. Whilst Jane Anderson, costume supervisor for Madame Tussauds starts sprucing up dead film stars at 7.30 - “We have two dresses for Marilyn Monroe, we shove them in the washing machine, they come out and look beautiful and we don’t need to iron them”.
Many of the subjects are not born Londoners but now form part of the Capital’s soul and contribute to over 100 languages spoken within the city. The manager of Gordon’s wine bar, in Villiers St, said to be the oldest in the capital, is Anglophile Gerard Menan “Londoner 1st
, Frenchman 2nd”
Equally as passionate is Antonio Polledri of Bar Italia in Frith St. He’s pictured in front of the Rocky Marciano poster sent by the boxer’s widow to say thank you for numerous bowls of polenta & risotto eaten by the champion when in town.
The book marks the debut of a new publishing company, Perfect Pair Publishing. If you wish to be on their mailing list try email@example.com
If this work is representative of what is to come, it will be well worth keeping in touch with them.
You can read a sample chapter from the book
(Dr Heather Bonney from the Natural History Museum), see the full contents or order a copy from the publisher's website
LONDON SOCIETY CHRISTMAS TALK: On 13 December the London Society hosts the book's editors, Danny Rosenbaum and Rupert Vandervell, who will discuss the inspirational and varied characters featured in their book and reveal what they tell us about the capital city. There will be wine, mince pies and other festive goodies to follow. Further information and tickets are available here.