What's this project all about then?
This project is an attempt to produce a book of some of my favourite posts from my blog http://esotericlondon.com/.
Sounds promising. Tell us some more.
Esoteric London marries my photographs of today's London with the written word from the city's past in an interesting, informative, and often humorous way.
Has it been going for long?
The blog started over three years ago.
How did it come about?
The idea evolved from the rise of digital photography, the emergence of blogging and my interest in the history, traditions and folklore of London. In the past people were often suggesting that, with my knowledge of London, I should write a book. However, the stumbling block for me was always the writing. So, for Esoteric London I have enlisted the help of some far better writers than I will ever be and I have added a comment, fact or update here or there when necessary.
So what is this book going to look like?
Well, it's not going to be a coffee table tome. At 178mm x 110mm and 252 pages it should slip into your bag or pocket. It will hopefully be the catalyst that inspires you to get off the train or bus one stop earlier than usual on your commute and discover the esoteric side of your own city or town.
I have engaged the graphic design talents of Chris and Mark Thomson of http://www.studiothomson.com/ and I am confident that their hard work and keen attention to detail will enhance my photographs. It's going to have a bellyband thing as well!
Reading about it is OK but can I see some photos? After all you are a photographer.
Of course you can, I will even show you some of the texts that accompany them.
Kensal Green Cemetary Harrow Road London W10 2013
It is strange with how little notice, good, bad, or indifferent, a man may live and die in London. He awakens no sympathy in the breast of any single person; his existence is a matter of interest to no one save himself; he cannot be said to be forgotten when he dies, for no one remembered him when he was alive.
Excerpt from Sketches by Boz, Charles Dickens, 1836.
London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre Holloway Road London N7 2012
NATURE PUT IN THE POUND FOR STRAYING
The patches of struggling vegetation in square, park, or garden, whose only commerce with the sun is a sort of bowing acquaintance – a distant nod exchanged en passant through the chinks of a smoky cloud – have been wittily designated “Nature put in the pound for straying.” But this is wit at the expense of truth. They are not Nature at all, but a vile caricature, daubed in charcoal and lampblack. The petrified trees of a coal-mine have as much claim on our sympathies. They satisfy no yearnings, but are silent and sullen as the walls that frown on them. They make no response to the inward voice that “babbles of green fields;” and, like the windows of a prison, show us a glimpse of the unencompassed world only through a black grating that reminds us of our imprisonment.
Excerpt from Sketches of London Life and Character; Covent Garden Market, Charles Kenney, Albert Smith, Editor. c.1849.
The tree in this photograph stands in front of the Daniel Libeskind-designed extension to the London Metropolitan University on Holloway Road, built in 2004. The three dramatically intersecting blocks clad in stainless steel look as if they have been hurled into the streetscape by some giant and have then settled themselves into the North London clay. R.D.
Commercial Road London E1 2012
ENLIVENED WITH COLOURS
There is no reason why London, if freed from its smoke, should not wear as bright and cheerful an aspect as Paris or Brussels. It would be worth while to paint or whitewash its shabby brick walls, and the streets would soon be enlivened with colours [...].
Excerpt from London Fogs, Hon. R. Russell, 1880.
They look quite interesting, can I see more?
Alright, just one though.
Carmarthen Place London SE1 2013
For a chop or steak and a mealy potato, there is no place like “Joe’s,” in Finch-lane, Cornhill; but the beer is bad.
Excerpt from Hand-Book of London, Past and Present, Peter Cunningham, 1850.
What's in it for me if I back you?
Satisfaction? Well that and some good quality rewards. But I have not just aimed for quality rewards, I have really tried to keep the pledges to a reasonable amount so that everyone, whatever their budget, can help me and get a nice "thank you" in return.
Anything else I should know?
It is my intention to sell the book at http://esotericlondon.com/ and through independent bookshops and museums and such like. This will mean a lot more work for me, and probably a lot less money, but I feel strongly that independent shops are important and should be supported.
You may also like to know that I am really going for the title of "King of Quirky London Bloggers" as I also run another blog called http://london1to365.com/
Risks and challenges
The postcards and the Christmas cards are already printed so there should be absolutely no problem in despatching them during October.
The limited edition prints will be printed by me so even if my printer misbehaves they should be sent out in November as promised.
Most of the hard work on the book itself has already been done. The photographs have been taken, the texts have been selected, the copy has been edited and Studio Thomson have completed the layout. All that remains is the actual printing.
The book printers have stated that the delivery date is realistic. They are London based so delays in transportation should be hours and not weeks.
All that remains is raising the money.
- (31 days)