Thursday, November 19, 2009

Our Cat Ran Up Their Ginnel*

(Click to Enlarge)



The word ‘Ginnel’ is a northern dialect term for a narrow alley. The earliest literary reference to the word was in 1885, when Benjamin Brierley wrote the simile: "as pleasant as stondin in a Ginnel ov a wyndy neet waitin o'th' sweetheart comin out". At Artsadmin the Ginnel refers colloquially to the foyer of Toynbee Studios.**


For basement tenants, visiting the Ginnel is often their only opportunity to experience natural daylight and human interaction. Many go there to check their pigeon holes several times a day, even though there's only ever one postal delivery (at most).


Nearly all visitors entering and exiting the Artsadmin compound must first pass through the Ginnel, and so inevitably, if you loiter there for long enough, someone amazing will walk by.


The Ginnel, then, is an overlooked social hub.***


Three cheers for the Ginnel and all who pass through her!



*Lancashire phrase used to indicate a very tenuous familial relationship between two people


**other nouns with a similar meaning include ‘Snicket’ and ‘Flutester’


***equalled only by the narrow entrance to the middle bar at The Arches, Glasgow during NRLA weekend

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Cross Purposes

Today me and Luci visited the new diagonal pedestrian crossing at Oxford Circus.

Almost immediately we were accosted by a passing documentary film crew:



And you can watch Will and Jenny's report here!

I read about the plans for the crossing last year, and am actually quite surprised at how quickly it's been implemented, and how closely they kept to the original concept:



The crossing ignites memories of my trip to Tokyo in 2005:





Another Japanese feature that London should consider adopting is these countdown timers:



Which would help emphasise the rather tight 30 second diagonal phase.

But If you think Oxford Circus is perilous, just wait until they install one of these Kyoto-style footbridges across the Thames...