St Trinian's locos

Watching The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery (1966) on TV the other day it made me wonder how many films contain footage of steam locos and whether these have been documented on the web. For the record, the loco Frankie Howard's robbers were driving was LNER 0-6-0T J50/3 class 68961, introduced 1926, and the one the girls pursued in was a J94 'bucket' saddle tank 68011. The J50s are absent from my 1964 Ian Allen combined volume, so I assume they must have been scrapped by then and the film made with one of the very last as none were preserved. It was too dark to catch the loco being robbed right at the start of the film. Although these are LNER locos, the location was Longmoor military railway, Longmoor Military Camp, Hampshire, also the location for The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Challenge (1960), and Runaway Railway (1965). The new St Trinian's film has had awful reviews, but from the trailers, head girl Gemma Arterton looks utterly gorgeous.


Billy Blake

William Blake is one of the few poets I love. To celebrate his 250th birthday, I'd like to share one of my favourite poems of his from the Rossetti Ms - I made this into a cartoon for the first issue of the Guildford Arts Lab poetry mag Glad Day, but I'm having trouble locating it! I asked a thief to steal me a peach: He turned up his eyes. I ask'd a lithe lady to lie her down: Holy and meek, she cries. As soon as I went An Angel came: He wink'd at the thief, And smil'd at the dame; And without one word [said]* Had a peach from the tree, [And still as a maid]** Enjoy'd the lady. 1st reading deleted * spoke ** And twixt earnest and joke


St Michael's church

Originally uploaded by fred pipes.

A dramatic incident! Whilst visiting some Xmas Open Houses I heard that the roof of St Michael's church, famous for its William Morris, Ford Maddox Brown and Edward Burne-Jones stained glass windows, had blown off in the wind. On arriving I saw that a panel of lead had fallen off the bell steeple and had caused some iron guttering to fall through the roof of the side chapel. The fire brigade were making it safe. I managed to visit today: 6 Clifton Street where I had a glass of glögg and a piece of gingerbread, and bought some Country singer xmas decorations by Peter Chrisp and Lisa Wolfe (the Dolly Parton had sold out); The (Kim) Glass House, where I had a cup of tea and a mince pie and bought a linocut card; 15 Chanctonbury Road where i bought neither food not articles; 13 Granville Road, where I bought an artists' book about Beer by Joe Mclaren; and finally The Dragonfly House, where I had a glass of red wine and bought a Sarah Bidwell lavender bag. I'm ashamed to say I didn't go on the Clarion bike ride today!

Rusty's Round-up

Originally uploaded by fred pipes.

What a brilliant idea - to recreate a Western radio show at the recently redecorated and de-privatised club The Hanbury Ballroom. Rusty's Round-up was built around a fab house band comprising: Andy Roberts (with a very authentic accent) on geetar; Nick Pynn on fiddle; BJ Cole on pedal steel guitar; Graeme Ross on dog-house bass and Debbie Tyndall, backing vocal. There were also guest appearances from Sleepy Ed Hicks (comedy clawhammer banjo), Debbie Doright, and, the star of the show, youngster Elvin Priestley (played by Suspiciously Elvis). Flame-haired Rusty looked gorgeous on the door and the whole thing was masterminded by Laurie Hilton-Ash. I arrived excited and early and sat down at a table (like we did at the Howe Gelb gig) with the nearest thing to beer they sell there - Tetleys! - to be told I couldn't sit down cos I hadn't booked a meal. So, I was decamped to a bar stool and the place began to fill up with noisy diners (plus the odd cowboy and cowgal), a shame cos you couldn't really hear the spoken parts of the show. The recording over and off air, the evening was rounded off by a set by the excellent Jailbait rocking the joint. Wonder what the well-heeled diners thought of it! Note to self: must get a cowboy hat (and shirt).


Joy Division

I was sitting in the Duke of York's last night watching the documentary Joy Division (which should really have been called Ian Curtis) when I wondered why I wasn't watching it at home on the telly. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it, but it was mainly talking heads (no Debbie, but Annik was in it and I'd been wondering what she looked like), some rough footage from Super8, and bits of artiness from posh southerner director Grant Gee aiming to make nearly-80s Manchester look like a 1950s Alphaville. We all know it's grim Up North, but it wasn't as bad as all those B&W photos in the snow made it out to be! I was amused however by Hooky's story about Billy Burroughs telling Curtis to 'Fuck off, kid' when he demanded the free book he thought he was entitled to, at Plan K in Brussels. I was at the cinema of course for the Q&A with the director. What did he think of Control (funny how everyone calls it Closer)? He hadn't seen it, far too busy, but will probably get it out on DVD... What did Jon Savage actually write as credited writer? Not actually very much, apparently, but he did give them access to his address book. Is there anything else to be said about Joy Division? Ian Curtis's notebooks are the next big thing. See what Guardian readers thought about it.