Edit Blog Post
Published: July 21st 2012
Tower Bridge with the Olympic symbol
Supersized Olympic symbol hanging from Tower Bridge
Rock music is alive and kickin' in London, but not after 10:30 PM
London is a city we both are very fond of but it was a very long time since we were there last time. It was six years ago since any of us last visited Britain. But this summer we decided it was time to visit United Kingdom again.
(Now read using the voice of the narrator in Little Britain) "Britain, Britain, Britain. How much we have missed you. Britain, the country where people drive on the left side of the road. Britain, the country where it is perfectly natural to walk indoors with your shoes on. Britain, the country where they use the classic units of inches, feet, yards, pint and stone instead of meter, kilo and litre. Britain, the country where 'breakfast' is equivalent to 'sausage, eggs and baked beans'
". Now that we think about it, what was it really we missed about this country again?
The main reason for us to visit London this summer was to see a concert with Bruce Springsteen. The concert turned out to be very special so we are very happy we went there.
London phone booths
Classic red phone booths. Very Londonesque
to spend four days in Britain, one day for the concert and three days doing other things. Before we tell you about the concert we will write about some of the other things we did while we were away.
In London we went to the art gallery Tate Modern and saw an exhibition of works by Damien Hirst. We don’t visit art galleries very often. But the weather in London forced us to do mainly indoor activities in the days we were there and thus we ended up at Tate Modern. We have to admit that we don’t understand Damien Hirst’s art. Most of it we found to be either strange or disgusting or both.
Next door to Tate Modern is the theatre Shakespeare’s Globe. Shakespeare’s Globe was built in the 1990-ies and is a reconstruction of the 17th century Globe Theatre where the playwright William Shakespeare worked for many years.
The Shakespeare’s Globe was built to be as close to the original Globe Theatre as possible. In the 17th
century electrical lightning was not invented yet and other ways of creating light, such as candles, were not practical to use in such a large building as
Hard Rock Calling
The Hard Rock Calling 2012 edition has Bruce Springsteen as the main attraction
a theatre. So the way they lit the theatre back in Shakespeare’s day was to use the sun. The theatre therefore had no roof. Consequently the Shakespeare’s Globe has no roof either.
When we walked from Shakespeare’s Globe towards the Tower Bridge we passed the site where the original Globe Theatre was. During archaeological surveys of that site they have uncovered remains of a wall. But those remains must have been buried again because the only thing that can be seen on the site today is a commemorative plaque.
Less than two weeks after we left UK the Olympic Games will start. To our great surprise there was very little evidence in town that London was soon to be host to the largest sports event in the world. If it wasn’t for a supersized Olympic symbol hanging from Tower Bridge and that the bus lanes were also named “Olympic lanes” we would not even have noticed.
Since we visited Great Britain last time the London skyline has received the addition of the skyscraper the Shard. The Shard was opened in July 2012 and being over 300 meters it is the tallest building in the European Union.
Model of Shakespeare’s Globe
This is a model of Shakespeare’s Globe which was built to be as close to the original Globe Theatre as possible
When we were in London we also went to the Kings Cross train station for a bit of silly sightseeing. In the Harry Potter books the train from London to Hogwarts leaves from Kings Cross station. But the Hogwarts Express doesn’t leave from any of the ordinary tracks. Instead it leaves from Platform 9 ¾, a platform that the wizards and witches reach by going through a magic wall, usually pushing a luggage trolley filled with bags. In Kings Cross station they have a sign where it says Platform 9 ¾ and underneath the sign there is a luggage trolley on its way through the magic wall.
One of the days we were in UK we went to Brighton. Brighton is a seaside resort and the seafront is lined by hotels, bars, restaurants and the Brighton Pier. Brighton Pier has gaming arcades, restaurants, bars and carousels and can be described as an elongated amusement park. Brighton Pier has existed for more than one hundred years. You can see a panorama style photo of Brighton Pier right at the top of this blog entry by the way.
Brighton Pier is not the only amusement park pier to have existed
Shakespeare’s Globe as seen from the Millenium Bridge
in Brighton. To the west of Brighton Pier there used to be a pier named West Pier. West Pier was closed in the 1970-ies and in 2003 two fires consumed all the wooden structures on the pier leaving only cast iron beams behind. During a few decades in the 19th century there was also a pier named the Royal Suspension Chain Pier. That pier was demolished before Brighton Pier was built.
The title of this blog entry, “From Soho down to Brighton”, comes from a line in the song Pinball Wizard
by the Who. We did visit Soho in London but that was actually after
we went to Brighton. So we should probably have called it “From Brighton up to Soho” instead.
Maybe we should have named the blog entry after a Bruce Springsteen song instead because he is the reason we went to London in the first place. But as far as we know he hasn't written any song about London so we name the blog after a song by a British rock group instead. Ake actually saw The Who at Hard Rock Calling rock festival, then known as Hyde Park Calling, in 2006. But now it is
Shakespeare’s Globe is lit the same way they lit the theatre back in Shakespeare’s day, by using the sun
time we write about the Hard Rock Calling 2012 edition, with Bruce Springsteen as the main attraction.
Hyde Park or, because of the heavy rains in London this summer, also known as Hyde Swamp, in central London has for a couple of years been used for an annual rock festival. The neighbours are not happy about having loud music played late at night so they are not permitted to play any music after 10:30 PM.
Hard Rock Calling is a rock festival and there were several other bands and musicians playing at the festival too. We saw Lady Antebellum, John Fogerty and a few minutes of a concert with Amy Macdonald.
Bruce Springsteen was supposed to have started playing at 7 PM. But already two hours prior to that he entered the stage and introduced John Fogerty. Apparantly Bruce Springsteen and John Fogerty know each other from before. In the end of Fogerty's concert Bruce entered the stage again and Bruce and John played Rockin' All Over the World together. During Bruce Springsteen's concert John Fogerty also came up on stage and played one song.
Bruce Springsteen was apparently in a good mood this night because
Original site of the Globe
During archaeological surveys of the site of the Globe Theare they have uncovered remains of a wall. Those remains must have been buried again because the only thing that can be seen on the site today is a commemorative plaque.
he played on for almost three hours and gave us all in the audience good value for the money we spent on the tickets. In the very end of the show a special guest was invited on to the stage - Paul McCartney. Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen played two songs together, I Saw Her Standing There and Twist and Shout. We have added a short video of that in the blog. By then it was starting to get late. It was well past 10:30 PM, the latest time music is permitted in Hyde Park. The last chords of Twist and Shout were silenced by the organisers of the festival. They have two of the biggest names in the music business, Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney, on the same stage for the first time ever and they pulled the plug...
Big thanks to Fay and Tom for letting us sleep in your house when we were in London. As we wrote in the beginning it was six years since we went to London last time. It will not take another six years until we go there again. We already have plans to go back in May next year. Tom
Since we visited Great Britain last time the London skyline has received the addition of the skyscraper the Shard.
and Fay, you can already now make a note that we hope to have dinner with you then.
Tot: 3.037s; Tpl: 0.043s; cc: 51; qc: 183; dbt: 0.1063s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.9mb