FreshBooks

Posts Tagged “london”

2512724299_11ba5c7c14.jpg

It lives… Now that Paul St George has finished the Transatlantic Tunnel, he’s installed the Telectroscope down at Tower Bridge. Cowfish has been down there and actually looked though the Telectroscope and seen the sights that are.. New York…

Photos are building up in the Telectroscope pool on Flickr, and it all looks very shiny!!! Remember, you have to Believe in the Telectroscope and get yourself down to Tower Bridge in London or the Fulton Ferry Landing, Brooklyn, New York, near the Brooklyn Bridge, between today and 15th June 2008.

(photo by Cowfish)

UPDATE: there are now a whole bunch of photos and videos appearing on Flickr about the Telectroscope

Tags: , ,

Comments No Comments »

2511445194_6026b32644.jpg

As it say ons the Telectroscope Blog:

“I received a mysterious phone call at 7:00 a.m this morning from Paul St George. He sounded tired, but elated. He urged me to come down to Tower Bridge to bear witness to the completion of the tunnel. When I arrived, this is what I saw..”

Just like when the Rocket Ship Landed in London two years ago

Something strange is going on in the capital again this weekend…

..It’s exciting, it’s strange.. it’s coming out of the ground.. and it’s Artichoke… You know what to expect…

The Teletroscope… London and New York.. 22nd – 15th May 2008

..and photos… For the non-believers ;)

Tags: , ,

Comments No Comments »

tunnelmanflare.jpg Can there really be a transatlantic tunnel from London To New York?? Well, apparently Yes!!!

Artichoke (the people that brought you the large elephant tramping through London) and Paul St George will be opening up a special exhibition from May 22nd through to 15th June 2008 in both London and New york..

Bizarrely the news about this first broke on April 1st.. Hence most thought the mad ‘steam punk’ invention of the ‘Teleroscope’, a device that used large lenses to allow viewer to see long distances through a tunnel, as well as the existence of a ‘transatlantic tunnel’ was an April Fools joke..

However now there’s a chance to see for yourself as the tunnel is, apparently from the photos, now all but complete. If you should happen to be in the vicinity of City Hall in London or the Fulton Ferry Landing in New York next Tuesday or Wednesday, you may see something strange going on.

On Thursday, 22nd May, a Telectroscope will be installed at each end of the tunnel, and it will open to the public for the first time. Allowing visitors to see from London to New York by just looking into the ‘Telectroscope’.. Quite errie!!

The project is the brainchild of the British artist Paul St George, who discovered the existence of the tunnel whilst sorting through some family papers. Notebooks and plans belonging to his great-grandfather, an eccentric Victorian engineer called Alexander Stanhope St George, revealed the location of the tunnel and plans for an astounding invention called a Telectroscope.

Through the backing of communications company Tiscali UK, Artichoke plans to open the Telectroscopes to the public, 24 hours a day. The London Telectroscope is situated on the south side of the river near Tower Bridge (close to Abbots Lane and Vine Lane)

The official Telectroscope website tells you some more about the tunnel, the Telectroscope and the project.

You can also read more on the Telectroscope Blog…

..and we’ll see just what it’s like!!!

Tags: , ,

Comments No Comments »

There are many places and things in the world that leave you awe inspired and humbled in their presence, and I think Emperor Qin Shin Huangdi’s Terracotta Army is one of them.

The Terracotta Army was buried with the Emperor of Qin around 209-210 BC. They were constructed to help Qin rule his empire in the afterlife. Consequently, they are also sometimes referred to as “Qin’s Armies”. People also believe that the army was built to help protect the tomb of emperor Qin from looters and robbers.

The Terracotta Army itself was discovered in March 1974 by local farmers drilling a water well to the east of Mount Li. Mount Li was also where the material to make the terracotta warriors originated from, and in addition to the warriors, an entire man-made necropolis for the emperor has also found at the site and excavated.

According to the historian Sima Qian construction of this mausoleum began in 246 BC and involved 700,000 workers. Sima Qian, wrote an account almost a century after its completion, saying that the First Emperor was buried with palaces, scenic towers, officials, valuable utensils and ‘wonderful objects’, wtih 100 rivers fashioned in mercury and above this heavenly bodies. The site has actually been shown to contain high levels of mercury in the soil of Mount Lishan, appearing to add truth to the belief that this wondrous tomb is in fact as Sima Qian describes.

The tomb itself of Qin Shi Huangdi is near an earthen pyramid 76 meters tall and nearly 350 square meters. However until modern archeology can reach the point where no damage can come to possibly one of the most important historical sites in the world, the tomb remains unopened, with hopes that it remains intact.

Although only part of the site’s been currently is excavated, it points to how Qin Shi Huangdi’s necropolis complex was constructed to serve as an imperial compound or palace. It comprises several offices, halls and other structures and is surrounded by a wall with gateway entrances. The craftsmen that worked on the soldiers and items found inside are believed to have ben buried alive in the underground complex, as many human remains have so far been found, it is believed they were sealed inside alive to keep them from divulging any secrets about its riches or entrances.

I have always wanted to see the complete Terracotta Army in China, so when it was announced some of the artifacts would be coming to the UK to the British Museum, I was quite excited. Obtaining tickets however proved to be very hard work. We eventually decided to become members of the british museum (which cost £60 in all for the year for both of us), this meant that no only did we support the museum, we also gained free entry into any exhibition at the museum for one year, including the First Emperor. As an added advantage, members are allowed out of hours visits to the museum galleries and exhibitions, so our tour started at 9:15pm last night, ironically after a lovely Chinese meal in China Town.

It was quite eerie and in some ways romantic heading into the museum in the dark and rain, most visitors were heading out, the last few lingering tourists heading home. The museum was quiet compared to the day, and the Museums Reading room lay straight ahead. The Reading Room, where the exhibition is held, like the rest of the museum is a Grade 1 listed building. This meant that nothing in the Reading Room could be disturbed or moved, which does beg the question, Where do you put a bunch of Terracotta Solders?

They certainly couldn’t wander around the reading desks. The solution was to build a special raised exhibition space above the desks and floor of the normal room, whilst maintaining the required temperature for the exhibition space, and allowing air to flow to the desks below. Like Qin’s soldiers before, the desks lay silent and dark almost 1.8 metres below you as you explore the exhibition above.

As you enter the exhibition you walk up into the circular Reading Room through a dark tunnel which you follow round to steps up to the start of the exhibition. There are no atmospheric sounds, and no noise, and although the exhibition is clearly documented through display case notes, I’d wholly recommend paying the £3.50 for the audio guide. The exhibition is also very dark to preserve the exhibits, it fitted in well given the time of night for us, but I’d say that it wasn’t as well presented visually as the Tutankhamun exhibition at the O2.

There is a large video screen near the start that explains about the First Emperor’s life, as well as projections later in the exhibition that show the pits in China and why the tomb at the heart of the complex that hasn’t been excavated, again there is no sound on these projections, only subtitles, which I found a little off putting. At the very start of the exhibition you’ll come face to face with the archer figure shown here. The attention to detail on the figure is amazing, each section of the armor painstakingly over lapped on the one beneath, his hair, and even hobnail boots almost perfect in detail.

Other artifacts from the site are also shown, large Bo bells, cast iron religious ceremonial bells that are again detailed perfectly, weaponry and even the original cross bow releases found with the terracotta archers. The exhibitions winds around the raised floor of the reading room until you come to the main space that houses the larger collection of terracotta soldiers. In this section bronze chariots show just how detailed and how much work was put into Qin’s frozen army. However he was not only accompanied by warriors, the 12 army members and 3 horses are accompanied by acrobats and musicians to entertain in the afterlife, civil officers needed in the afterlife as palace administrators, and even bronze birds who were found feeding on fish from the rivers that were diverted to flow through the underground complex. One nice thing about this space is that the carriages, standing solders, archers, clerical staff and acrobats are all standing open, and not behind glass. There does seem to be very high security around them, with motion wire and proximity alarms, as well as the four very large security staff that patrol no mans land between you and the soldiers.

It is also not widely known to most that the figures were originally all coated and painted (the process of plating invented by the Americans, was actually invented by Qin’s workers thousands of years before), some of the figure heads in the exhibition can be seen to see have some colour on them, as well as there being a reconstruction of what it is believed the archers would have looked like in full-color.

The Reading Room was actually quite hot, and a little crowded, even for this time of night, and we found ourselves double backing on ourselves to see parts we some how missed, again unlike the Tutankhamun one, the exhibition lacked a little in the directional aspects that flowed through it. However it was a privilege to be able to see some of the army in person, and they are unlike anything you could ever imagine seeing. Possibly only by going to China itself, this is probably the best experience of the Terracotta Army, Qin’s rise to power and the creation of modern China that you will find. I would very much advise you to try and get down to The British Museum and see it before it closes on the 6th April 2008. Tickets are available on each day, however you need to be in line and lucky as only 500 are released each morning, or, think about joining the Museum.

In answer to a question that I was wondering about, there is no photography allowed in the exhibition.

Photo credit: Dan Morelle (to whom I’m glad you ignored the no photography signs.. great photo!)

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments 1 Comment »

I’m slightly confused about what’s actually happening at Covent Garden now, and what the real agenda is. Beverly Churchill sent me (and everyone who’s emailed her) the same email. Which makes it sound like it’s a simple situation where sound clashes and movement of the public is the problem, she also states that “We believe that street entertainment is a significant part of Covent Garden’s rich heritage“.

However I’m confused by an article in Property Week, that one of the commenters (thanks Lee!!) pointed me towards that states:

Brand and marketing guru Churchill, who has worked at Tesco and with Vittorio Radice at Selfridges, has been taken on by Liberty International-owned Capital & Counties to turn Covent Garden from a tourist trap with tatty market stalls and buskers into a world-class retail and leisure destination with a top-end designer boutique hotel, designer retailers and restaurants. Her most recent job was with retail billionaire Sir Philip Green.

Which is a stark contrast to what we’re being lead to believe in the emails..

PLEASE make sure you join the myspace group that has been set up to show support for the performers. You can take a few moments to sign the online petitions, so please sign both the North Hall petition and the South Courtyard petition. Its very important to sign BOTH!!! You can also voice your disagreement of this by joining the mass email campaign. Just cut and paste the below sentences and send them to beverley-churchill@capcount.com.

I am writing to express my opposition to the reducing of the street theatre performance times by 50% in The North Hall, and South Hall areas in Covent Garden.I urge you to reconsider this direct attack on the livelihood of the famous Covent Garden Street Performers and Classical Musicians. Specifically I’m concerned about the comments made in Property Week regarding “Brand and marketing guru Churchill, who has worked at Tesco and with Vittorio Radice at Selfridges, has been taken on by Liberty International-owned Capital & Counties to turn Covent Garden from a tourist trap with tatty market stalls and buskers into a world-class retail and leisure destination with a top-end designer boutique hotel, designer retailers and restaurants. Her most recent job was with retail billionaire Sir Philip Green.”

Please link to this article, email it on, and spread the word…

Tags: , ,

Comments 1 Comment »

Following on from sending an email to Beverley Churchill regarding the proposed changes at Covent Garden I got the following reply from her today:

Dear Andrew

Thank you for your email.

To clarify, we are working on a revised schedule of performances within only one of Covent Gardens performance spaces, the North Halls and Lower Courtyards of the Market Building. This is to overcome the issue of excessive sound levels from clashing performances and the lack of breaks between the shows that has been raised as an issue by other people who live and work in the area.

The schedule will not cut shows by the suggested 50%, but will introduce short breaks between shows to limit the competing noise levels within the two performance areas, while maintaining performance throughout the day for visitors to the area.

We are in ongoing discussions with the street performers on this matter and will continue to work with them to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

We believe that street entertainment is a significant part of Covent Garden’s rich heritage but we need to ensure this works for the whole community.

Kind regards

Bev Churchill

Tags: , ,

Comments 4 Comments »

306829030_b1146ff17c.jpg

Covent Garden has always been the place in London to go if you’ve wanted to see street performers at their best, dating back to the 1600’s covent garden has always had performers, but the current performance areas and agreements still date from the late 1970’s. Covent Garden even has ‘Magicians Corner’ pictured here, frequented by some of the biggest magical names in street performing, including the legendary Bob Read.

However all this could change going forward. Performance has always been a hot potatoes as far as westminster council, and the owners of Covent Garden are concerned. The present owners of the market are Capital and Counties, a member of The Liberty International Group, (http://www.liberty-international.co.uk/). During a key meeting in the Westminster Council Chamber they unsuccessfully opposed the street performers having any involvement in the running of the performance spaces, and are looking to change the way performance is run there. Their main aim is to impose two things that would drastically effect street artistes of all types who work in the market.

1) A 50% reduction in the total time that performers can use the spaces
2) A reduction in the length of each individual show from 40 mins to 30 mins.

The idea of a street show, as veterans like Gazzo and others know, is that the true street performer does not perform to passing trade, they gather an audience, produce a show and collect or ‘hat’ at the end, implementing these changes could cost the performers between 25% and 50% of their total average income, making the venue unviable for performers, which will undoubtedly lead to street performing in Convent Garden to die out.

I feel very strongly about this, and a myspace group has been set up to show support for the performers. You can take a few moments to sign the online petitions, so please sign both the North Hall petition and the South Courtyard petition.

You can also voice your disagreement of this by joining the mass email campaign. Just cut and paste the below sentences and send them to beverley-churchill@capcount.com.

I am writing to express my opposition to the reducing of the street theatre performance times by 50% in The North Hall, and South Hall areas in Covent Garden.I urge you to reconsider this direct attack on the livelihood of the famous Covent Garden Street Performers and Classical Musicians.

Please link to this article, email it on, and spread the word…

photo credit: alextakesphotos

Tags: , ,

Comments No Comments »

undergroundwithemergencylighting.jpg So today was a sad day, london was attacked in a cowardly act of terrorism. A number of bombs were set off inside the tubes, and at least one on a bus.

In all cases completely innocent people were targeted, injured, and murdered.

A lot of the London Bloggers have put photos up on Flicker’s in the 7/7 Community. Jeff Jarvis also has some updates on todays events.

It sends a chill through my spine that I would have been around any of those areas if I’d had meetings in London today..

Currently 700 people are injured, 37 are dead.. and likely to rise..

The company I am working on site for at the moment is in ‘lockdown’ assuming that they are targets, life will be tough for the next few weeks, and it makes you value the simple things you have, your friends, family, and close ones..

My thoughts go out to the friends, families, and those effected by this cowardly act..

Tags: , , ,

Comments 1 Comment »