Friday, August 28


Here is the Royal Festival Hall of the rejuvenated Southbank Centre, which Tony Blair was to destroy by 2002. He didn't. I snap this photograph yesterday as we walk to Waterloo station for a train ride home and Sonnet's hair appointment. The RFH's foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Clement Attlee in 1949 on the site of the former brewery built in 1837 (no rock uncovered in this city). The thing opened in 1951. Today, RFH is a Grade I listed building - the first post-war building to become so protected (in April 1988). The London Philharmonic Orchestra performs in the hall while the skateboarders skate underneath. Sonnet's Uncle Shelton was invited to consider running the entire complex when he was doing the same in Los Angeles for the L.A. Arts and Cultural Center.

Today the Southbank hosts restaurants, bars and venues along a riverside promenade. The next door Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery both an example of brutalist architecture meant to separate their appearances from the RFH. Think gnarly concrete but it's cool. This where the London Jazz Festival held and most recently we saw Berkeley friend Josh Redman. The best thing about the Southbank is the young people - who come here on a London evening to be a part of the Big City's sophistication and feel like adults. Looking northward offers the best view bar none - lit up is the embankment with her art-deco buildings, bridges and scene. This the ideal place to be in one's 20s, first job and flat and on a date with somebody you might spend the rest of your life with.

“Serious confrontation has to be against the leaders and key elements, against those who organized and provoked and carried out the enemy’s plan."
-- President Mahmoud Ahmadineja, against his chief political rivals on Friday, calling on judiciary officials to “decisively” and “mercilessly” prosecute them for challenging the legitimacy of his electoral victory and tarnishing the image of the state.